The M-word, the C-word (no, not that C-word), and The Boston Globe

Update. From Ellen Clegg, the ever-responsive editor of The Boston Globe’s opinion pages:

You would think that, somewhere along the way, the climate activist Bill McKibben would have learned that the word midget is incredibly offensive to people in the dwarfism community—along the lines of the N-word among African-Americans. Or you’d think someone working for The Boston Globe’s opinion pages would know it.

Apparently not. Because here are the first two sentences of McKibben’s commentary in today’s Globe: “The Democrats were given one great gift last year. Even as they lost state legislatures and control of the Senate, even as they surrendered governors’ mansions and somehow turned over the White House to a moral midget, one thing broke their way.”

Here is some background on the M-word from Little People of America. I wrote about how the word came into existence in my 2003 book, “Little People.” In 2009 Clark Hoyt, then the public editor of The New York Times, wrote that the term would henceforth be banished.

And before you ask, “Well, how is the M-word offensive when it’s not referring to people with dwarfism?,” ask yourself what contexts would be acceptable for using the N-word. None, right? There you go.

So if the M-word doesn’t already have an entry in the Globe’s stylebook, I hope that’s rectified. And that an email reminder goes out to everyone.

Now that that’s settled, shall I point out that the Globe’s opinion pages also allowed the alt-right insult cuckold to sneak into today’s edition? It’s normally rendered as cuck, but I heard the dog whistle. Woof! If the term is new to you, GQ has an explainer about the term’s pornographic, racist origins.

Style note: Given that I do most of my writing these days for Peter Kadzis and company at WGBHNews.org, I try to stick with their house style at Media Nation, which makes it easier for us to share content. I am told we’re going to go all-in with AP style, with a few exceptions. (We’re keeping serial commas! Yay!) So if you’re wondering why newspaper, magazine, and book titles are not in italics today, that’s the reason. And if you didn’t notice, then you lead a healthier, more balanced life than I do.

No more ‘paper of record’: McGrory offers more details on the Globe’s reinvention

Also published at WGBHNews.org.

Earlier this week Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory promised his staff that he’d soon be offering more details about the paper’s reinvention effort. Well, a little while ago his latest memo came floating in through my open window.

If you are interested in the future of the Globe then you should read it in full; it defies summary. My instant takeaway, though, is that there are three points that deserve special attention:

  • The Globe is moving away from the idea that it needs to be a paper of record in the old-fashioned sense. Rather, McGrory wants it to be “an organization of interest.” In other words, no more obligatory process stories about things that few readers care about.
  • The news cycle will be reorganized to move further away from the deadlines demanded by the print schedule. Instead, stories will be published online throughout the day and night, with an “Express Desk” playing a key role in that.
  • The old barriers separating the newsroom and business sides will be rethought. There is an industry-wide view that at a time when revenues are shrinking, new working relationships need to be defined as long as they don’t compromise the integrity of the journalism. Easier said than done, of course.

The full text of McGrory’s memo follows.

Hey all,

I wanted to give you an update on where we are with the reinvention initiative. The intention was to be brief. The reality is that it’s not. My apologies in advance.

The presentations by the four sets of working group chairs in late November went incredibly well. I hope everyone agrees. The pitches were strong, the questions and comments were smart, and there seemed to be an unmistakable consensus around the need for change. Following those meetings, I’ve sat with a decent swath of the newsroom in one-on-one and small group meetings to get a sense of your thoughts and concerns. I’ve found it truly helpful, to say the least. Your sheer brains and commitment all but guarantee our success in the weeks, months, and years ahead.

Separately, we’ve put together a core reinvention committee, composed of the eight working group chairs, and the deputy managing editors, managing editors, and the editorial page editor. We’ve met several times to begin mapping out initiatives that we can roll out as soon as this month. We’re making good progress, but we need to step it up.

Indulge me while I repeat some of the principles behind a reinvention:

  • We need to be still more interesting, relentlessly interesting, every hour of the day. To this end, we need to jettison any sense of being the paper of record. We are the organization of interest. If something feels obligatory to write, it’s an obligation for someone to read. The problem is, readers don’t feel that obligation any more.
  • We need to focus on what readers truly value, understanding that we can’t be all things to everyone. The great news is that Globe subscribers most want to read the kinds of stories that we most like to produce. Think accountability journalism, colorful and contextual breaking news reporting, lyrical narrative, smart enterprise reporting, and provocative commentary.
  • We need to focus not on platforms, but on journalism. We must redouble all efforts to demolish the stubborn rhythms of a legacy news operation and get our work in front of people when they are most likely to read it.
  • We need to make sure that the boundaries that served us well in better financial times don’t become obstacles to our success. Put more bluntly, we need to work with the other departments to make sure we have enough revenue to support our journalism.
  • We always need to hold true to our journalistic values, because without them, we lose our credibility. Repeat this last one again.

So here’s a rough map of where we go from here, understanding that this remains very much a work in progress, and there will be bumps—really mountains—to traverse along the way.

1. You’ll receive a questionnaire via email soon, prepared by Jen Peter [senior deputy managing editor for local news] and Anica Butler [assistant metro editor], asking, among other things, what beats you’ve dreamed of covering or what jobs you’d most like to have. It could be the one you have now, it could be something else, it could be a role that we haven’t thought about but will want to have when we hear it. Please respond to this questionnaire. We need to hear from you.

2. We’re planning to set up a room-wide Express Desk as soon as possible. This is designed to get news in front of the eyes of our readers quickly, and to have a fascinating diversity of news. It could be a water main break in the Financial District one moment, a passenger handing out Christmas gifts on an arriving JetBlue flight the next. This desk needs to not only be urgent, but smart and clever, and it will be powered by some of the most talented people in this room. I’ve asked Katie Kingsbury [managing editor for digital] to lead a small group in mapping out an Express Desk in terms of size and positions, and she’ll have something back to us very soon.

3. We’re planning to set up a Print Desk, congruent with the Express Desk. While the larger room focuses on journalism, the print desk will focus on how that journalism comes together in paper form every day. Let me be absolutely clear here: The physical newspaper will not be an afterthought at the Globe. It is of vital importance to us, a huge—albeit, declining—source of our revenue, and the most valued product to our most loyal readers. But it cannot continue to needlessly dominate our thinking and resources in the way it currently does. I asked Chris Chinlund [managing editor for news] to lead a small group in determining the size and components of this operation, and she, too, will have something back in early January.

4. We’ll expand on our excellence in projects, with an eye toward even more, with a greater range of ambition and length (some even shorter than this memo).

5. We’ll set up an Audience Engagement team under Jason Tuohey [deputy managing editor for audience engagement] designed to make sure we are better connecting to existing audiences, and seeking new audiences, in every way possible, through our journalism and the way we present it. We are swimming in metrics. The goal now is to refine, interpret, and apply them. We will offer whatever training is necessary to work on the team.

6. We will reimagine our beats with the same eye toward becoming relentlessly interesting. I don’t know that we’ve done a major refresh of our beats in decades. It’s time. So the reinvention group, or some subset of it, will outline new beats and recalibrate the resources we have on our coverage areas. The broader room needs to play a major role in this with your ideas, whether through the questionnaire or in conversations with me and others. Please express your creativity and passions, and do it soon.

In determining what we want to cover, it will become clearer to all of us what we should forego, or at least what we can cover less of. As part of this, we’ll look at presenting news in different formats, to cut down our overuse of the incremental 700-word story.

7. We will refine and then refine again the Hubs system that was proposed by the Mission working group, but it’s not quite ready to be implemented yet—or maybe we as a room are not quite ready to accept it. There are many intriguing, even brilliant, aspects to the Hubs concept, which would push us to be far more nimble, provocative, and—this word, again—interesting But there needs to be more clarity in how it would work day to day. My sense is that we’re getting snagged up on Hubs as the infrastructure of the room. If we create Hubs within the infrastructure, we will get a better sense of how they’ll work and how effective they can be. So that’s exactly how we’ll start. Hub ideas are welcome.

8. We are planning to appoint a small, tech-savvy group that will devote itself to making Methode more user-friendly and an overall better communications tool for the entire room. [Methode is the Globe’s content-management system.]

9. We are setting up groups to further engage Advertising and Circulation, hoping to involve the newsroom deeper in both areas. On Circulation, we will focus on subscriber retention, with some acquisition, working with our colleagues there to do direct outreach to subscribers. On Advertising, we are putting together a newsroom-based advisory group to offer input on all forms of sponsored and native campaigns, with the intention to ratchet up the creativity that goes into these campaigns. David Dahl [deputy managing editor for operations] is currently drawing up rules of the road to make sure that we don’t put ourselves in a compromising position.

10. We’ll be looking, soon, to get much of the room started earlier in the day, and impose rolling deadlines on enterprise stories through the day, to assure that we have a flow of fresh stories when people are most likely to read them. Still too many stories are posted on the site in the evening, because we’ve followed old-school print deadlines. That’s got to stop. The news meetings will be pushed up soon, probably to 9 a.m. The morning meeting will focus on brainstorming ideas, and the specifics of when stories will be posted. The afternoon will include the timing of web stories, but focus too on the print paper.

Key point: As part of this, we have to fulfill the promise to everyone in the room that as you get here earlier, you leave earlier. Foreign as this might seem, it is very doable.

Over the next few weeks, a dedicated group will basically create a blueprint for a reimagined newsroom, carving out the new desks mentioned above, prescribing headcounts to each of these areas, and getting right down to specific beats, possible Hubs, and reconfigured departments. You aren’t just invited to be a part of it, you need to be a part of it. Offer up your thoughts. We’ll come back to the room soon with what we have.

There’s more, especially in terms of communications and the culture of the room. And please keep in mind that this is not a one-and-done project, but a constant evolution; some of the things we change will need to be changed again.

In sum, picture a newsroom that kicks to life before dawn, as members of an Express Desk arrive and continue to flow in through the morning, ready to post breaking news, fashion clever ideas, and find the wryest stories trending on social media. Picture the larger room starting their jobs by 9 in most instances, ready to publish at peak times. Picture a round-the-clock multiplatform desk ready to give stories an expert workover regardless of the hour they are submitted.

Picture a wider range of fresher beats to produce a steady stream of fascinating stories. Picture a story-telling team from product and development working on hubs to create extraordinary presentations. Picture respected and experienced “priority editors”—what one working group described as “air traffic controllers” and another as “traffic cops”—making the best use of our journalism across the day, the week, and the platform. In this scenario, the print desk begins arriving in the early afternoon, working with a team of talented designers to produce a stunning newspaper for the following morning.

Lift the lens a bit and see an even broader picture, of a room more inclined to pursue risks and more accepting of the inevitable failures. It is an enterprise more crusading in our approach, an organization that not only covers the region, but regularly provokes it—by holding the powerful accountable, giving voice to those who wouldn’t otherwise have one, advocating for what works, and being our readers’ best ally. All the while, we will be working closely with the business side to drive digital subscriptions, keep our existing subscribers happy, and offer our creativity to native content.

Easy, right?

Probably not, but we will accomplish this in the coming months, your help very much required. Please continue to speak up. We need to hear from you.

Brian

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McGrory promises details about the Globe’s reinvention ‘in a few days’

Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory has outdone himself with a 1,550-word New Year’s message to his staff, a copy of which a kind newsroom soul sent me on Sunday. McGrory is full of praise for the accomplishments of the past year while cognizant of the problems caused by continued budget cuts.

There is news here, too: He promises some details about the paper’s ongoing reinvention effort “in a few days.”

The full text of McGrory’s message follows.

Hey all,

It’s odd, the things you remember about a given year. It was raining out, not a warm, soothing rain, but freezing little icicles that prick your skin again and again and again. The sun hadn’t come up. I’m not sure it ever did. The sidewalks were a hockey rink. And Ellen Clegg, the wheelwoman on our two-person delivery route that Sunday morning last January, apparently had just about enough of my methodical pace. So she slammed her SUV into park and began running down a Wellesley street tossing papers on subscribers’ driveways.

We were but two delivery people in a vast newsroom army, one that had been organized a week earlier by Beth Healy. Person after person answered the call, reporters, editors, designers, photographers, graphic artists, technologists, owners—you name it. And for those who couldn’t deliver, they worked the phone banks or created daily delivery spreadsheets. It felt like the ground was cracking under our feet, but this newsroom would do everything it could to preserve the integrity of the Globe.

While many of us remember delivering the papers those subsequent Sundays, it’s what was in the papers themselves that matters most. In those issues, it was a pair of important stories on questionable influence in City Hall. It was a brilliantly written feature on the development boom leading to obstructed views. It was an essay on Donald Trump’s unfiltered style, a gripping enterprise story on a high-level drug trafficking informant, and a fresh look at the ballooning pricetag for the Green Line extension. In sum and as usual, it was vital and interesting Boston Globe journalism, well worth whatever effort it took to get it in the hands of our readers.

The year may have begun in crisis. It ends, however, with a crucial dose of introspection—an unsparing review, part of a broad reinvention initiative, of what works and what doesn’t at the Globe, what we need to change, and how we will change it. This is among the most important work we’ve done this year, and I’ll be back to you in a few days with more details on the road ahead.

For now, though, let’s be grateful that we had such a quiet year, news-wise, to devote ourselves to this important work.

Yeah, right.

Somewhere between helping to save the Globe and then reinventing it, you produced some of the finest journalism in the industry, and some of the best I’ve seen in my time here—in a year unlike any other. Take the Washington Bureau. Have five people—seriously, just five people—ever produced such an extraordinary body of riveting and vital work, from the stories on Trump’s business dealings, to the internal workings of Clinton’s orbit, to a nation’s anger, and so much more? It just kept coming, fresh enterprise, news stories with exceptional voice and context, pieces that larger, national news organizations had no choice but to follow. I honestly don’t believe that Matt Viser and Annie Linskey, with Chris Rowland’s guiding hand, wrote a story all year that I wasn’t eager to read—and then delighted that I did. And Vicki McGrane has only added to it all.

Take our Business department. If 2015 was the year it established its own section, 2016 was when it made it an utterly must-read part of the Globe. You start naming names, you start getting into trouble, but how do you not cite Shirley Leung’s work on Ed Ansin, General Electric, and anything else she touched? Does Jon Chesto ever sleep? Does Tim Logan have the entire development community wired? Does Beth Healy ever back down? I could go on and on, beat after beat, but suffice it to say that the entire department brought urgency and freshness to the report virtually every day.

If anyone thought that Jess Rinaldi’s Pulitzer Prize for her incredible Strider Wolf portfolio would cause the Photo Department to kick back a bit, well, you don’t know the Photo Department. Who will ever forget Keith Bedford’s arresting images from Methadone Mile in July, or Suzanne Kreiter’s chilling work on Spotlight’s mental health series, or the daily offerings of just about everyone else, from the veterans with elaborate morning rituals to the guy from Denver, to our great sports shooters, all of it so good that it helped change the look and tone of our print front page.

Sports chronicled the early endings to a pair of otherwise incredible seasons—the Patriots last January and the Red Sox in October. Seriously, there’s no regional news organization in the country that has four pro sports teams staffed with more authority and insight than the Globe, with our stable of expert beat reporters, supported by a best-in-show editing operation and production desk. Celtics, Bruins, Patriots, Red Sox, there’s nobody better. Throw Shaughnessy and Gasper into the mix and we can’t be beat.

Metro had another banner year, with strong accountability reporting on government influence, more groundbreaking coverage of the opioid crisis, political reporting that drove key ballot questions on marijuana legalization and charter schools, Kay Lazar’s continued watchdog reporting on abuses in the state’s nursing homes—stories that have pretty much defined our daily goal of giving voice to those who wouldn’t otherwise have one. The beat reporting, whether on transportation, higher ed, hospitals, casino gambling, and so much more, has been stellar. And the in-depth work has been some of the most fascinating and important that I can recall, whether Nestor Ramos and Evan Allen on Methadone Mile, or Eric Moskowitz on the election night trolley crash, or Maria Sacchetti on ICE and the secret release of dangerous immigrants, or Billy Baker on Will Lacey. Yvonne Abraham had a breakout year with her powerful commentary, and Josh Miller might produce the most engaging political newsletter in the industry.

Living/Arts helped drive us further into the realm of a digital first enterprise. Our extraordinary stable of critics, let by Matthew Gilbert, was a force of nature online. Ty was must reading across the year on movies and all things culture, and Sebastian is what he is, which is the best visual arts critic in the nation. But really, theater, classical music, photography, we owned it with an insightful voice, and our Sunday Arts section remains one of the absolute best of any news organization, national or regional, in the country. Our feature writers, too, have regularly splashed color on the homepage and front page—clever, smart, fresh stories. Dugan buying marijuana was worth the price of a month’s subscription all by itself.

Spotlight had a year for the ages, producing powerful reports on multiple fronts while only enhancing the quality and impact that is its trademark. The mental health series, big, bold, and beautifully told, again gave voice to those who wouldn’t otherwise have one. The team’s urgent but exhaustive work on predatory sexual behavior at elite private schools, which began with Bella English back in Features, has been life-changing for victims. And imagine being a partner at the Thornton Law Firm?

The list keeps going on and on. Our copy editing team is in a class of its own, uniformly respected across the enterprise for every good reason. Our Globe.com team has been pivotal in orchestrating another record year of viewership and, if it’s a word, subscribership. Their collective news judgment, urgency, and knowledge of the digital habitat are all flat-out impeccable. Graphics and design has made us bolder and more confident with pitch-perfect graphics, extraordinary digital presentations, and fresh front pages and section fronts. Our magazine remains at the very top of every reader survey, understandably so, and is the envy of the industry. While we’re talking popular, our Address, Travel, Food, and Good Life sections give our readers knowledge wrapped in style and flair week after week. Finally, a special hand to the editors and reporters of boston.com, who have miraculously preserved traffic in the face of substantial cuts. How? By working like crazy to produce a smart site.

On the issue of cuts, let’s be honest about it: we’ve lost a lot of people again this year and it doesn’t get any easier. These aren’t so much good people as great people, experienced journalists who have helped build the foundation for our success. But it’s testament to our extraordinary depth, resilience, and character that we have done this well in the face of the relentless pressures of a profoundly changing industry.

I wish we could glide on our accomplishments for a while—but that’s not possible, and the truth is, you’d get bored. You would, right? We’ve got too much to do in 2017. We’ll reinvent how we produce our journalism. We’ll move to innovative space in downtown Boston. We’ll be relentlessly interesting. We’ll drive the civic conversation in Greater Boston and beyond. We’ll hold the powerful accountable and give voice to those who need to be heard.

We should all be incredibly proud of where we’ve just been. We should be even more excited about where we’re about to go. Me, I’m also honored to be part of the smart, engaging, deeply committed group that is the Globe newsroom. Really, it’s something special, and every person reading this has a vital role.

Have a healthy, happy, and safe New Year. My sincere thanks to you all.

Brian

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The Globe increases its weekly home-delivery price by—well, we’re really not sure

screen-shot-2016-12-29-at-10-28-51-am

A friend just forwarded this to me. I have edited out his name, but the blank spot after “Your new weekly rate will be” is entirely the doing of the Boston Globe. Note that you can’t respond to the email.

Adam Gaffin of Universal Hub got one of these as well.

Pay whatever you think it’s worth?

OK, I looked it up. Assuming this is up to date, a seven-day print subscription will cost you $14.34 a week after you get past the introductory offer.

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The Globe’s print edition shrinks a little more as the Tuesday Stories section is cut

The Boston Globe’s Tuesday print edition is getting a little smaller, per this “Editor’s Note” in today’s paper:

Starting today, Tuesday Stories will no longer appear as a separate section of the paper. The content that usually appears in that section will be spread across the rest of the Globe. Look on Page B9 for the theater directory, and Page B10 for television listings. The section’s array of narrative tales can be found throughout the remaining sections of the paper.

A perusal of last week’s Tuesday Stories section reveals exactly one ad—the movie directory—along with a house ad for a Globe-branded book about David Ortiz. That’s not the sort of situation that can continue. The Globe’s future is selling digital subscriptions. As print advertising continues to fade away, the Globe is going to have to start offering more online content that isn’t available in print.

Meanwhile, friend of Media Nation John Carroll has noticed that the Globe’s Friday Weekend section has literally gotten smaller, as the height and width have been trimmed. “Doesn’t seem like much difference,” says John, “but multiply by about 220,000 papers and you’re talking real money.”

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Doug Franklin to succeed Mike Sheehan as Globe CEO

Doug Franklin (via LinkedIn)
Doug Franklin (via LinkedIn)

Also published at WGBHNews.org.

Doug Franklin, a top executive with Cox Enterprises and Cox Media Group, will succeed Mike Sheehan as chief executive officer of the Boston Globe on January 1, according to an announcement made a little while ago by Globe publisher John Henry.

Henry’s memo, a copy of which was obtained by Media Nation, is effusive in its praise of Sheehan, crediting the former Hill Holliday advertising executive with untangling the Globe from the New York Times Company, which sold the Globe to Henry in 2013; moving the Globe‘s printing operations to a new facility in Taunton; and preparing the news and business staffs to move to downtown Boston in mid-2017.

“These initiatives are as complex as they are risky,” Henry wrote. “Any one of them would be a once-in-a-lifetime challenge for an executive. But the leadership team, working under Mike, has tackled each of them.”

Of Franklin, Henry says: “As I’ve gotten to know Doug over the past few months, I’ve come to understand that he is fearless, energeticarticulate, and passionate in his desire to help the Globe achieve our long-term goal of creating a sustainable business model for high level journalism.”

The Globe covers the story here.

The full text of Henry’s message to Globe employees follows.

Three years ago, I was fortunate enough to meet Mike Sheehan and was immediately taken with his passion for the Globe’s mission and his love of our city. It didn’t take much to get Mike to agree to help. If I recall correctly, employment negotiations took all of about two minutes, the first minute on compensation, the second on length of service. We never discussed either again. I’ve been involved in many protracted negotiations over the years, but this wasn’t a negotiation—it was a meeting of the minds of two people determined to serve and protect one of New England’s most important institutions during a difficult time for American newspapers.

This past January, Mike reminded me that the original term we agreed to was three years and it was time to start looking for someone to succeed him in the Chief Executive Officer role before the end of the year. So we quietly embarked on a truly national search, one that involved many strong candidates. There turned out to be no shortage of talented executives who wanted to serve in that capacity. Ultimately Mike, Brian [McGrory] and I settled on a new chief executive officer we felt was perfect for the role. I’ll elaborate on this in just a moment.

On behalf of everyone at the Globe, I’d like to thank Mike for putting aside his other business interests as an owner, partner, board member, and investor and being willing to take on the Globe challenge full force from Day One through Day One Thousand. In essence, we were a new company three years ago—unwinding systems and processes from the New York Times was the first order of business. The second order was figuring out how to reduce our very high cost structure, much of it tied to the inefficient printing of newspapers on presses configured in the late 1950s and our presence in an 800,000 square foot building with astronomically high utility and upkeep costs. The third order was making sure the news organization of the future was physically located in a central, vibrant neighborhood, in space designed for how people work today while looking ahead to our digital aspirations for tomorrow.

These initiatives are as complex as they are risky. Any one of them would be a once-in-a-lifetime challenge for an executive. But the leadership team, working under Mike, has tackled each of them.

The Taunton printing facility, which was not even a concept threeplus years ago is printing 725,000 newspapers a week, with the third of five press lines now operational. Over Thanksgiving week, the Taunton mailroom inserted 16 million pieces for the Globe and six commercial clients. By March 31, 2017 Taunton will be our sole printing and distribution center with projected annual savings of $22 million, a higher quality product, and the opportunity to attract more commercial printing work.

I have no question that our move of the newsroom and business operations to 53 State Street will have equal impact on our culture and our business. Demolition of the space is complete, construction will commence on January 1, and we’re on track for a mid-2017 move. Many of you have seen the design and flow of the space, and it’s clearly reflective of an organization that’s serious about the kind of reinvention that is underway in our newsroom and throughout the organization.

None of these moves were on the radar screen—mine or Mike’s—when we first met in December of 2013, but they’re well on their way to successful completion. While these complex projects have not been without challenges and stress, they are critical building blocks in helping us achieve our goal of long-term sustainability. Some of these changes are far from glamorous, but each one is utterly vital to the success of this company.

I asked Mike what he is most proud of during his tenure, and, in typical fashion, he answered without hesitation or mincing of words. “When that newspaper lands on my doorstep every morning, it’s more relevant and interesting than it’s ever been.” Honestly, I feel exactly the same way. Mike took this job, in large part, to do whatever he could to support Brian, Ellen [Clegg], and every dedicated reporter, columnist, and editor who works here. He’s stood beside Linda [Pizutti Henry] and me when four Pulitzer Prizes were announced. He understands the vital role the Globe plays in the region, and he vigorously promotes our mission throughout the business community every day.

In fact, of all the things I’ve grown to admire about Mike, that might be what I admire most. But beyond his devotion to the mission of journalism in our community, he has for many years been the ideal ambassador for many organizations in Boston. He is deeply respected within the business community and has been one of the most important behind-the-scenes individuals in the charitable sector. He is widely hailed as a no-nonsense executive who is an unfailingly decent human being, giving his time to so many in all walks of life. Everywhere I go, someone inevitably says to me, “I was just talking to Mike about…”

Like virtually every other newspaper CEO in the country, Mike has overseen necessary downsizing, and we’ve reduced expenses $30 million since 2014. But he has vigilantly approached the task of reducing with the mantra of “newsroom last.” To Mike, this is not a cause-related strategy as much as it is business related. His conviction that quality journalism attracts a premium audience and commands a premium price is intractable. Given our growth in paid digital subscriptions, now approaching 75,000, that intractability is not unwarranted. Case in point: the exquisite five-part narrative on the journey of Will Lacey has garnered hundreds of thousands of visits, with thousands upon thousands of people signing up for email updates on the series.

Please join Linda, Brian, and me in thanking Mike for all he’s done. While he’ll no longer be a Globe employee in 2017, he’s assured us this is just a technicality. He will always advocate for our mission and our business, and he will introduce and help his successor acclimate to the Boston community.

Now please join me in welcoming Doug Franklin as Chief Executive Officer of Boston Globe Media Partners and the Boston Globe, starting January 1, 2017. Doug is a seasoned newspaper executive, dedicating much of his career to Cox Media Group Properties and overseeing virtually all aspects of the business while leading change in each role along the way.

Between 2013 and 2015, Doug was Executive Vice President and CFO of Cox Enterprises, the parent company of all Cox businesses including communications, media, and automotive. Cox is an $18 billion company with 50,000 employees. Prior to that, from 2010 to 2013, he rose from EVP to President of Cox Media Group which is comprised of their TV, radio, newspaper, direct mail, and digital operations. Doug has extensive experience as a newspaper publisher, overseeing four Ohio newspapers including the Dayton Daily News from 2004 to 2008, then becoming Publisher of the Palm Beach Post for a short but high-impact stint in 2008, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution until 2010. Doug has experienced virtually every challenge our industry faces todayand succeeded at every turn. As I’ve gotten to know Doug over the past few months, I’ve come to understand that he is fearless, energetic, articulate, and passionate in his desire to help the Globe achieve our long-term goal of creating a sustainable business model for high level journalism.

Doug’s responsibilities at the Globe will include all business aspects, including production as well as the newsroom. He knows that we have made many tough decisions over the past few years, and there are undoubtedly more to come in an industry that is still coming to terms with massive, continuous changes in advertising and delivery—both in print and digitally. We have no choice but to succeed, and we will. This vibrant region depends on it.

Doug has met with members of the leadership team a number of times, and they share my enthusiasm in welcoming him to the Globe. He’ll be moving here from his current home in Sarasota, and given his eagerness to begin, you may see him around the building over the next few weeks.

On Wednesday, December 21, we’re planning a Town Hall meeting at 3 p.m. in the Atrium so Mike can say goodbye and Doug can say hello. Please join us there.

Best,
John

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From the Globe, a tremendous work of narrative journalism

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-9-41-46-amToday the Boston Globe publishes its final chapter of “The Power of Will,” the story of a little boy with a rare form of cancer that had been considered incurable until recently. (I’m trying to stay away from any spoilers in case you haven’t read it.)

Reported and written by Billy Baker and illlustrated by Tonia Cowan, it is a tremendous work of narrative journalism. It’s not just a story about a desperately sick child—there are important public policy implications, too. Online it’s got some great add-ons, such an audio version of the story that clocks in at nearly an hour and a half as well as photos.

I read the whole thing over the weekend, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It takes a team, and so I’ll list them all. Steven Wilmsen edited the stories and Lloyd Young the photos. Digital producers were Elaina Natario, Russell Goldenberg, Greg Opperman, Lauren Shea, and Laura Amico. In addition to family photos, the online version includes pictures by Globe photographers Suzanne Kreiter, Aram Boghosian, and Dina Rudick.

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