The New York Times Co. no longer owns The Boston Globe. Now is the moment for new owner John Henry to take the next step: stop running Times content in his paper.
I’m suggesting this not because I dislike the Times. Rather, I’m suggesting it because the Globe’s best, most engaged readers are those who are most likely to read the Times, too. There’s nothing quite like reading the Globe and coming across a shortened Times story on a national or international event to make you feel like you’re reading Times Lite.
For example: The story above, by New York Times reporter Robert Pear, takes up about 750 words at the top of page A2 in today’s Globe — and 1,170 words on page A18 of the Times.
For many years — even for the first decade or so of Times Co. ownership — the Globe never ran Times articles. Instead, the Globe supplemented its own coverage with journalism from wire services and from newspapers such as The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.
Somewhere along the line, though, someone at the Mother Ship decided the Times Co. could save money by running Times articles in the Globe. It’s hard to argue with the math — no matter how they did the accounting, it was essentially free content.
I don’t know how many people subscribe to both the Times and the Globe. The number may be very small. But those double subscribers tend to be journalists, community leaders and opinion makers — the very people Henry needs to court as he embarks on his new career as a newspaper owner.
Dumping the Times would serve as an emphatic statement that he intends to chart a new, independent course for the Globe.