By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Some good work by the Globe on a late summer Sunday

The last Sunday before Labor Day is not normally a time when newspaper editors feel the need to put their best foot forward. More often it’s an opportunity to mail it in and wait a couple of weeks for when people will be back from vacation.

So I just want to take note that the Boston Globe published two major packages on Sunday: the latest Spotlight Team installment of “The Desperate the Dead,” about the crisis created by closing most of the state’s mental hospitals, and “The Issue of Crime,” produced by the Ideas section, looking at crime from a variety of angles.

Each was given a vibrant digital treatment, which is a key part of eventually weaning readers away from print.

My personal Sunday favorite was Kathryn Miles’s Globe Magazine story on Gerry Largay’s last days after becoming lost on the Appalachian Trail in Maine. As someone who has done a lot of backpacking in New England, I know how easy it is to lose the trail. In her case, the outcome was tragic.

Given that the Globe is in the midst of yet another round of downsizing (including possible layoffs), the paper’s continued good work is encouraging.

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  1. Totally agree with you, Dan, about what a great package of content the Globe delivered folks on Sunday! Back in the day, I often found that “slow news days” when “everyone is on vacation” or “down the Cape” actually turned out to be wonderful occasions to pop big news or big projects like those … precisely because those were when people actually had the time to read the paper (or the bits and bytes of the paper) in a way they don’t during the workweek. You don’t get the echo-chamber/buzz/”dja see the GLOBE?!?” effect that you may from breaking a big piece of news exclusively Monday morning or Wednesday morning. But with a big feature/takeout, on a day like this past Sunday, you get far more people actually reading the thing from beginning to end. So you may make overrall a bigger long-term impression. It might be a fun future DK/MN project to survey your favorite reporters on when they most like to break news/have stuff published and when they feel it gets the biggest impact.

    • Hi, Dan. I agree that the Globe’s spotlight on mental health was superb. I spent a goodly portion of my nursing career under the aegis of “deinstitutionalization,” and can attest to the accuracy of the piece. There is another installment yet to come, and I hope the Globe will look at private mental health hospitals, including what it’s like to be a patient, what it’s like to work in such places, from McLean Hospital (supposedly the best) and Arbor HRI (probably the worst.)

      BTW, I find I’m reading your Media posts much more than Facebook these days. Getting fb burnout. I’d quit it altogether, but I like keeping tabs on my children.

      Real name: Roberta

  2. Kathy Kulesza

    I liked the Spotlight article but I think the Globe should have published it first rather than the mentally ill persons who killed their family members. I felt that article gave a false impression of mental illness. Most people with mental illness aren’t violent.

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