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

Tag: John Wilpers

Wilpers checks in

Former BostonNOW editor John Wilpers has responded to my request for comment on his semi-departure earlier this week. Here’s what he’s got to say.

Thank you for your e-mail and offer to post my answer:

Regarding BostonNOW, I will be consulting with them and the group’s management on their Internet initiatives and expansion.

I also will be launching an effort to export the concept I pioneered at BostonNOW — introducing greater relevance and community to a newspaper’s print and online editions through blogger recruitment, participation and publication.

The BostonNOW experience convinced me that mainstream newspapers can rejuvenate themselves and find tomorrow’s readers today by inviting the community into the paper.

The hundreds of tech-savvy BostonNOW bloggers, most of whom had no use for an old-fashioned newspaper, are excited about being published in a product seen by tens of thousands of readers every day. Those bloggers are seeing their profiles rise dramatically in the market, and as a result, the potential for previously unimagined levels of traffic on their websites rises as well. That kind of mutually beneficial relationship is appealing to both parties — the newspapers and the bloggers.

I intend to take that message on the road to help other newspapers learn how to develop those relationships and build the new audiences that will rejuvenate their franchises….

(And, yes, the plan includes pay for bloggers. I have even met with the National Writers Union to talk about contract templates and to get advice on compensation plans. They’re very excited about the potential for their members and non-members alike.)

BostonNOW’s melding of print and the Web is far more interesting as an idea than as a news product. Frankly, the paper is pretty bad, although there’s no reason to think it won’t get better. This Boston Magazine piece on BostonNOW by Jason Feifer — “The Rag That Would Save Newspapers” — captures the good, the bad and the ugly.

As for Wilpers, whom I’ve known since the early 1980s, when we competed against each other, the guy is a survivor. He’ll be fine.

Update: This isn’t nice, but it’s funny.

Wilpers out (or not) at BostonNOW

Well, that didn’t take long. The Herald’s “Inside Track” reports that John Wilpers is semi-out as editor of BostonNOW, the free weekday tab started by Tab founder Russel Pergament earlier this year with (I’m not making this up) Icelandic money.

Wilpers is supposedly sticking around to consult on the paper’s blogging initiatives and overall strategy, so this doesn’t sound like your classic “pack up your stuff and get out of here” move. I’ve asked Wilpers to respond, and will post if I hear from him.

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