Layoffs add to turmoil at Boston.com

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 2.47.15 PMNote: Updated with statement from Boston.com below. I got wind of this a little while ago — and it turns out that Garrett Quinn of Boston magazine was already working on it. A significant number of staff employees at the beleaguered Boston.com have been laid off. I hear 16; Quinn says “high teens.” [The actual number is 12, according to the Boston.com statement.] This comes after the departure of the site’s general manager and editor during the past week, and months of turmoil (punctuated by occasional calm) before that.

Boston Globe Media’s strategy of building free verticals around the Globe is, for  the most part, progressing nicely. BetaBoston, which covers the innovation economy; Crux, devoted to “all things Catholic”; and Stat, the forthcoming life-sciences site that’s already producing stories, are all quality projects.

But Boston.com has been seen as a thing apart ever since it was separated from BostonGlobe.com a year and a half ago. And the turmoil continues.

More: I just received this statement from incoming Boston.com general manager Eleanor Cleverly and outgoing general manager Corey Gottlieb:

We have spent much of the past few months rethinking an operational vision for Boston.com that both maintains our autonomy as a standalone business and reinforces our partnership with the Globe. Today, we announced a restructuring of Boston.com’s newsroom and the reduction of 12 full-time staff positions. This realignment includes changes to our leadership – Tim Molloy has chosen to step down and Kaitlyn Johnston, Boston.com’s current deputy editor, has been appointed as our site’s new editor.

This is a business decision that is part of a larger effort at Boston Globe Media Partners designed to put Boston.com in a stronger and more sustainable position for growth. That said, we would be remiss to overlook the fact that this was also a people decision, one that affects the lives of many who have worked tirelessly to support our operation. We are deeply grateful for that work.

8 thoughts on “Layoffs add to turmoil at Boston.com

  1. Pingback: Boston Globe cuts more Boston.com jobs - Fortune

  2. Andre Mayer

    The whole boston.com story is particularly interesting because it was, initially, an outstandingly successful free newspaper site. It turned out to be the wrong model – but the Globe’s apparent decision to treat that success as having essentially no value is significant.

  3. Pingback: Boston Globe cuts more Boston.com jobs - Fortune

  4. James Kabala

    In the early days of the Internet people did not yet realize that the best URL for your website was your pre-existing old media name. I remember someone (probably on Beat the Press – maybe even you) commenting on the name “TheBostonChannel.com” for the Channel 5 website – “The Globe got the name everyone wanted, Boston.com, but this name should be OK.” (I just checked to see if thebostonchannel.com still works – it does, but of course it redirects to wcvb.com.)

    1. Dan Kennedy Post author

      @James: Yes, we were all wrong about that. My favorite example of that kind of thinking is the Appalachian Mountain Club, which grabbed outdoors.org early on. No one would do that today.

      1. James Kabala

        Even more obsolete are names based on in-jokes or obscure references, such as the once-popular Simpsons fansite snpp.com. (It stood for “Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.”)

        The Globe seems to have been the only major newspaper to make this particular misjudgment, however. Searches for chicago.com, philadelphia.com, baltimore.com, etc. lead either to tourist information sites or nothing at all.

      2. Dan Kennedy Post author

        @James: One thing that we all forget is that Boston.com didn’t start as a Globe site. It was a media consortium comprising the Globe, NECN and Banker & Tradesmen, and possibly some others. Only later did the other partners walk away.

      3. James Kabala

        I did not know that. That does make a difference. I guess my point was just that if boston,com had been created as bostonglobe.com, it would just have converted fully to a pay site at some point and this two-tier system would never have come to be. So the unusual origins (that I know now about) led eventually to an unusual situation.

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