More details on the Globe’s tweaked-up opinion section

The Boston Globe’s interim editorial-page editor, Ellen Clegg, wasn’t ready to go public about this when we spoke last week. But this week the paper announced a project called “Opinion Reel,” which will run “short documentaries with a point of view” submitted by “local professionals, students, and smartphone auteurs.”

“You could even be Ken Burns and we’ll take a look,” Clegg says.

It’s an intriguing idea, and it will be interesting to see what gets posted. I’ve already made sure our journalism students at Northeastern know about it.

• As I wrote last week, the redesign of the opinion pages in print can’t be looked at in isolation. Instead, the two-page print spread should be seen as kind of a “best of” taken from the larger online opinion section. I’ve heard several people say they were afraid the pages were being dumbed down, a concern that makes sense only if you’re still focused on print. (People: It’s 2015.)

Case in point: On Wednesday, as the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev death-penalty case was being turned over to the jury, the Globe posted a commentary by Boston College Law School professor Kari Hong arguing that the time has come to bring back firing squads. Her piece does not appear in the print edition.

As Mark Twain said of Wagner’s music, Hong’s essay is better than it sounds. Hong, an opponent of capital punishment who’s represented clients on death row, makes a strong case that the firing squad would be more humane than lethal injection.

“If jurors had to choose between giving someone life in prison — without the possibility of parole — or putting them in front of a firing squad,” she concludes, “I have no doubt that many would opt for the former.”

3 thoughts on “More details on the Globe’s tweaked-up opinion section

  1. Marjorie Arons-Barron

    My concern about the new format of the Opinion pages is that the Globe has watered down its own voice. There’s still a role in the larger for community for institutional wisdom and committed editorializing. Then, again, I also lament the diminution of serious editorializing in broadcasting. There is a subtle but nonetheless distinct difference between editorial and commentary. We need both.

  2. John Emery

    The watered down (but easy to navigate!) editorial pages combined with the Jet Blue ad on pages A8-9 or today’s Globe have to make you seriously wonder how much design has supplanted journalism as the Globe’s lodestar.

    1. Fred Weissman

      Yes! That JetBlue ad is so distracting to the story through which it runs. It makes for some odd line breaks and spacing within the story, causing this reader to give up on reading it.

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