Earlier today The Boston Globe published editor Brian McGrory’s latest update on the paper’s ongoing reinvention effort. For anyone who read his January memo, it shouldn’t contain too many surprises. Essentially it represents his and his staff’s latest thinking on how to build a digital-first news organization while not letting the print edition wither away. The idea, McGrory writes, is:
to once and for all break the stubborn rhythms of a print operation, allowing us to unabashedly pursue digital subscriptions even while honoring the many loyal readers who subscribe to the physical paper.
Key strategic point re: Boston Globe reinvention: "to unabashedly pursue digital subscriptions even while honoring" print readers. https://t.co/f9888Y4DgR
— David Uberti (@DavidUberti) April 17, 2017
More and more, news organizations are shifting the core of their business models from online advertising to digital subscriptions. https://t.co/dH7AAUPo1x
— Sydney Ember (@melbournecoal) April 17, 2017
The main takeaways:
- Managing editor for news Christine Chinlund, the newsroom veteran who’s overseeing the move to the paper’s new headquarters at 53 State St., may depart later this year, though McGrory writes that he’s trying to talk her out of it.
- An “express desk” will push out “in-the-moment important, quirky and just plain fascinating stories that metrics show our readership craves.”
- Much of the paper’s metro, business and lifestyle operations will be merged into what McGrory is calling a “super department” — an idea he says he first had when he was metro editor. “Admittedly, it was a failed power grab then, but now it’s just common sense,” he writes. The idea is that a big local story might cut across areas that have traditionally been divided by departmental lines. “Think the scourge of student debt, the era of political engagement, and a new consumer advocate, among many others,” McGrory writes. “Some beats are meant to last but a few months, others longer, but all will need to be constantly reassessed.”
Also of note: The Globe is looking to add a position to its Washington bureau, and may sell sports-only subscriptions outside New England in the near future. And, McGrory writes, “we are going to do whatever we can to put the 600-word incremental story out of its sad little end-state misery.” (Studies show that online readers prefer both shorter and longer stories, but that the medium-length story so beloved of newspapers because of the way they fit on a page no longer resonate.)
More Twitter reaction:
There's a lot to digest here. https://t.co/jq8lgWW2XJ
— David S. Bernstein (@dbernstein) April 17, 2017
Smart stuff here. I'm still using "relentlessly interesting" from the last memo…. https://t.co/y9tkwj4mnJ
— Mitch Pugh📰 (@SCMitchP) April 17, 2017
Fascinating update on how Globe plans to restructure to become "more nimble," reach mobile audience https://t.co/ML7T06uzlr
— John Osborn (@johnatthp) April 17, 2017
Interesting changes afoot at The Boston Globe. Some sound good, others, well, you never know. https://t.co/SXMYY4tcX6
— Steve Collins🦞 (@SteveCollinsSJ) April 17, 2017
Interesting. Love The Globe but wish they would expand cvg of Worcester Cty and offer more realistic Living/Style for us middle income folk.
— Blue Checked with Rainbows (@AuntCindytoyou) April 17, 2017
The comment abt experience as "underbelly" & "complacency" is a giant red flag as corp ageism. I saw this b4, in 1980's move to pagination.
— janmeyerboston on Threads & Tribel. (@SwanWhisperr) April 17, 2017
"We’re going to be more humorous, god dammit…" https://t.co/rSU0yqzVTN
— Rick Collins (@rjcollins2) April 17, 2017
"Too many people remain too long in too many positions" — this has been true at Globe for years, but statement unlikely to go over well https://t.co/KpAYXE6UBO
— Gintautas Dumcius (@gintautasd) April 17, 2017
It was completely fortuitous & downright fortunate that I had a drink before reading this: https://t.co/GzUrEQSnRh
— Jim Aloisi on Mastodon as: email@example.com (@JimAloisi) April 17, 2017
There’s a lot more to McGrory’s memo than I’m highlighting here. If you’re interested in the future of the Globe, you should definitely read the whole thing.