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

Tag: Adam Gaffin

Why the Globe should acquire Universal Hub

The Boston Globe may be getting smaller, but it was just handed an opportunity to do something very intelligent. Let’s see if it can rise to the occasion.

Adam Gaffin, the chief impresario and co-founder of Universal Hub, just lost his day job as an online editor for the trade publication Network World. UH, if you don’t already know, is a “best of the blogs” site — an essential guide to nearly 1,000 local blogs in Greater Boston, all informed by Adam’s love of his adopted hometown and his puckish wit.

The Globe should hire Gaffin. I’ve been saying it to anyone who’d listen for quite a while now. Adam Reilly of the Boston Phoenix said it just last week. Yes, yes, the financially ailing Globe is in the midst of downsizing its newsroom by 50 people. But with fewer reporters, the paper is in more need than ever of someone who can intelligently aggregate content from a wide variety of sources. No one is better at it than Gaffin.

Recently, as you know, the Globe tried its hand at automated aggregation. It didn’t work out.

Gaffin’s ability to find what’s interesting, entertaining and important while holding down a demanding day job has always been awe-inspiring. If he were able to devote his full attention to it, Universal Hub would only become better. (In most respects, anyway. No doubt he would no longer offer his acidic observations about certain Globe columnists.)

Gaffin has been affiliated with the Globe in the past — for a while he wrote a roundup for the Sunday paper’s City Weekly supplement.

Do I have a conflict of interest? Yes, and thank you for asking, though it cuts the other way. Adam also runs the Boston Blogs ad network, which automatically places advertising on Media Nation and many other local blogs. Lately it’s been doing well enough to cover my Internet access fees. Were Adam to go to the Globe, I imagine we’d be left high and dry.

If the Globe is to reinvent itself, it’s going to have to act as a trusted guide to the best content out there. It should start with Gaffin.

Getting Hubbed

I’ve got a profile of Universal Hub co-founder and blogger-in-chief Adam Gaffin in the new CommonWealth Magazine. Here’s the nut:

The idea behind Universal Hub is pretty simple. Every day — during breaks at work, while he’s on his exercise bike at home, or sitting in front of the television with a laptop — Gaffin tries to stay current with some 600 to 700 blogs in Greater Boston, looking for items that are unusually newsworthy, quirky, or poignant. He links to the best of them, along with an excerpt, some commentary, and a headline. He cites mainstream news sources as well, offering words of praise or disparagement.

What emerges from all this is something approaching a community-wide conversation. It’s like talk radio, only better, richer, more diverse, with people able to talk not just with the host but with each other through the comments they post. Universal Hub isn’t exactly an alternative to the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald, but it’s become an essential supplement — a source for hyperlocal and offbeat news you won’t find elsewhere, and a place to hash out the big stories of the day.

“It gives you a place to have a discussion with folks who you might not otherwise be talking to,” says Gaffin.

Also in the new CommonWealth, Gabrielle Gurley takes a look at a new model of investigative reporting, driven by students and non-profit foundations. Gurley focuses on my Pulitzer-winning Northeastern colleague Walter Robinson, whose students are regularly breaking important stories in his old paper, the Boston Globe.

Page 3 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén