Tag Archives: Boston Globe

The Globe runs a wraparound front-page ad

Click on any image for a larger view.

One of the few disadvantages of being a digital subscriber to the Boston Globe is that whenever there’s news regarding the print edition (except on Sundays), I’m usually the last to know.

So … today the Globe published a four-page wraparound of sponsored content from Children’s Hospital that looks like the front page, though it’s clearly labeled as advertising. I’ve seen half-page ad treatments in newspapers, which I’ve tried to emulate with the image in the middle. But I haven’t seen a full page (at left) before. The actual front page, which you get to once you pull off the wraparound, is at right.

The Children’s Hospital content is featured on BostonGlobe.com and Boston.com as well, although there’s nothing unusual about the online treatment.

The verdict: We all know this wouldn’t have flown 10 or maybe even five years ago. But there is no money in the newspaper business these days. I’m willing to be very understanding of any form of advertising as long as it’s properly labeled.

On the other hand, you don’t want to do anything that alienates your best customers—that is, your print subscribers. So, yes, I would have preferred it if the Globe had tried to talk Children’s into going for the half-page treatment instead.

The Boston Globe downsizes its arts coverage

Note: Boston Globe arts editor Rebecca Ostriker has responded to this post.

The Boston Globe is cutting back on some of its arts coverage, as reported by Anulfo Baez at the Evolving Critic and, several weeks ago, by the Boston Musical Intelligencer. Based on those posts and an email I received from an affected writer, it appears that the Globe is drastically reducing its use of freelancers to cover arts-related events.

In that light, it’s perhaps noteworthy that today’s Globe includes a music review by Jon Garelick, who’s a full-time copy editor for the opinion section. Jon, a former colleague of mine at the Boston Phoenix, is widely respected as one of the most accomplished arts journalists in the country.

I suspect the contours of what’s happening with the Globe‘s arts coverage will be more clearly defined when the results of the ongoing reinvention effort are made public, perhaps later this summer.

The Globe’s editorial page goes multimedia and interactive

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 9.16.31 AMThe Boston Globe has published an unusual multimedia, interactive editorial calling for a ban on assault weapons that includes data, animated graphics, and thumbnail bios of six recalcitrant senators—including information on how much money they’ve received from the gun lobby as well as tools to email or tweet at them.

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Front of the print edition.

The Globe is using the hashtag #makeitstop via its main Twitter account and its @GlobeOpinion account. Among other things, it’s been tweeting out the names of the Orlando mass-shooting victims.

The print edition comes with a four-page wraparound comprising the editorial and accompanying material.

Overall, it’s a well-executed effort, and I applaud editorial-page editor Ellen Clegg and her staff. I like it more than the fake front page the Globe devoted to Donald Trump earlier this year, which some people confused with the paper’s actual page one.

Unfortunately, the problem with such campaigns is that even when they’re effective at making their case, they’re ineffective in changing anyone’s minds. Still, we have to try. So kudos.

Infrastructure 2016: Ballooning costs, years of delay

Anderson Memorial Bridge. Photo (cc) by Antony-22.

Anderson Memorial Bridge. Photo (cc) by Antony-22.

In the Boston Globe, Lawrence Summers and Rachel Lipson offer a devastating look at our inability to build much-needed infrastructure projects in a timely, cost-efficient manner. Their example is the Anderson Memorial Bridge, connecting Boston and Harvard Square. Anyone who has to drive through that area know it’s best to avoid it. But they offer some truly horrifying facts, starting with this: the bridge was built in just 11 months 1912, but the repairs have been going on for four years—with “no end date in sight.”

Of course, the Anderson Bridge is hardly an anomaly. What about the Green Line Extension, plagued by cost overruns and years of delay? What about the Mother of All Infrastructure Projects, the Big Dig? On a smaller scale, the interchange of Routes 128 and 62 in Danvers has been a traffic-and-safety catastrophe since it opened a few years ago—and a similar interchange just to the south, at 128 and 35, is no better.

Summers and Lipson offer a list of what went wrong with the Anderson Bridge, and it’s instructive: historically accurate bricks that had to be specially ordered (really?); a redesign making it possible to build a pedestrian underpass (but not actually building it).

We’ve got to find a way to do better.

A Medford church’s demise and uncertain revival


Photo via Penny Postcards

The Boston Globe has published a terrific story by reporter Lisa Wangsness and photographer Dina Rudick about a Congregational church in our West Medford neighborhood.

It was right down the street from us when we lived here in the early ’80s. When we returned to a different part of West Medford in late 2015, we noticed it had become a Haitian church and that the Congregationalists had moved into a storefront in West Medford Square. The storefront is called the Sanctuary United Church of Christ.

Now I know what happened.

The Globe and the Post upgrade their digital offerings

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Two newspapers have dramatically improved their digital offerings. The Boston Globe has unveiled four radically redesigned web pages for the Boston’s professional teams—the Red Sox, the Celtics, the Patriots, and the Bruins. The emphasis is on huge photos and on gathering together in one place everything you want to know about your favorite team. Sports editor Joe Sullivan offers a rundown.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, is testing a new mobile website that it is calling its Progressive Web App, which you can access by clicking here. The PWA uses new technology to load instantly—as fast as Facebook Instant Articles, Apple News, or news stories coded for Google’s new Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) standard.

These are both a couple of leaps forward. Even though the Globe‘s online presence is better than that of many newspapers, it needs to communicate to its readers that digital is a superior experience to print. The sports pages could be a prelude of things to come in other parts of the paper. The Post is well-known for its cutting-edge technology, but the speed of PWA is—as chief information officer Shailesh Prakash is quoted as saying in this press release—”a game-changing experience.”

A couple of quibbles. First of all, the Globe needs to focus on speed. Its responsive website is loads quickly enough on my Mac, but it’s slower on my phone and slower still on my aging iPad. That’s as true of the new sports pages as it is of the rest of the site. Second, it would be nice if the Post‘s PWA site loaded on a tablet and not just on a phone.

Finally, I found the type size a bit on the small side in both products with no way to make it bigger.

Iran, nukes, and fear: A potent op-ed combo platter

Compare and contrast. In the New York Times, Senator Ted Cruz whips up the fear regarding the nuclear deal between the United States and Iran:

The mullahs’ policy is, by their own admission, unchanged. It is the same one that inspired the so-called revolutionaries of 1979 to take 52 Americans as hostages for 444 days, and motivated murderous attacks on Israelis and Americans from Buenos Aires to Beirut to Baghdad over the subsequent decades. The only thing that is changing now is the potential scale of this violence, as they seek to replace truck bombs and roadside explosive devices with the most destructive weapons on the planet and the means to deliver them.

In the Boston Globe, Stephen Kinzer writes that what hardliners in both countries really fear is that the nuclear deal might actually work:

Extremists in the United States and Iran have joined to derail this 10-month-old deal. They share a horror scenario: an Iran that is successfully integrated into the Middle East and the wider world, increasingly free at home and responsible in its neighborhood. Militants in Washington fear that this would give Iran a regional role commensurate with its history, size, and power, while they wish to see it tied down forever. Militants in Tehran fear that cooperating with the outside world will erode their authority and possibly lead to collapse of the Islamic Republic. These are reasonable fears.