The sinking Globe

Obviously, I’ve had an invested interest in newspapers, having worked in the field for my entire adult life. And I’ve been reading about the New York Times’ threat to close the Boston Globe with some incredulity — first New York takes Jordan Marsh and Filene’s and replaces them with Macy’s, then they take away my morning Globe? The Boston Herald as Boston’s paper of record? Is this bizarro world?

What I can’t wrap my head around is this: apparently about 450 Globe employees have lifetime guarantee jobs. What the heck do you have to do to land that kind of promise? How does that kind of offer even get put on the table, especially in a union shop?

Reading the Globe today, a comment from reporter Patricia Wen indicates she may be one of the people with the lifetime offer. In which case, good for her — she’s easily my favorite writer at the paper — but who else is on the list? Remnants of the Taylor family? Dan Shaughnessy? Hiawatha Bray for the sheer awesomeness of his byline alone?

I’ll admit we’re close to a time when mornings won’t be marked by going out to the end of the driveway for the newspaper. And I’ll admit that, more often than not, I start my day in front of a computer screen. But there’s something that’s just more tangible about news from a paper — whether it’s my 11-year-old battling with his father over who gets to solve the Suduku or read the sports section first or all those lazy Sundays flipping through the sections (and appreciating, as a former Sunday editor, all the freaking work that goes into them).

Plus, I still have my very first front page article from my days at the Boston Herald. My father framed it for me shortly after it appeared (“Quake bashes San Francisco”), probably after bringing it around to every coffee shop in Bellingham. I can’t quite imagine a printout from a website having the same impact.

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5 thoughts on “The sinking Globe

  1. Jen – I can appreciate your perspective on the dying newspapers. I’ll admit – I’m not one to read a paper everyday – I don’t have a paper subscription anymore – and I get most, if not all, of my news online these days.

    Ironically, this morning I went out for my run and there was a T&G paper in my driveway!

  2. I’m another that doesn’t have a need for the daily newspaper. About the only thing I look at anymore are the Sunday ads. Very seldom do I read any other part of the paper.

    I get all my news on-line. The only piece that has been missing on-line is good, reliable, local coverage. If only someone would start a web site dedicated to local Grafton news. ;^)

  3. As an almost exclusively online news reader for many years, I have mixed feelings about the sinking Globe… sometimes I’ll think, well, this is just the natural evolution of the publishing industry — some papers will fail in print, others won’t, and it will all work out in the end. Then, when I think of not being able to pick up the occasional Sunday Globe and have a leisurely read (I view that as a total luxury these days), I feel sad, like something will be missing. I think, overall, I’d like the Globe to keep a print presence if they can.

  4. Heard a great discussion with Dan Shaugnessy on Kiss 108 (of all places). He makes a good point that when seeking out online news, we tend to look at our favorites and are missing out on the stumbled upon news items. Lots of truth…besides my first job was delivering newspapers, and it wasn’t all that long ago!

  5. My favorite stories were always the stumbled-upon stories. I used to scan the AP wire at work for stories for various Sunday sections. There’s one story I remember vividly every single time “House of the Rising Sun” comes on the radio, because the story was all about the history of the song, which went back to this guy roaming the South with a tape recorder recording music sung and played in rural areas. It was fairly lengthy and I threw it inside the Sunday “Crossfire” section because it was one of those “couldn’t put it down” kind of stories.

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