UPDATE: Save the Globe or bury it? Check out this post from Universal Hub.
Whoa. Late last night, after an evening consisting of watching Milk and Vicky Christina Barcelona and eating ice cream, I logged into my Twitter account to see if anything interesting had happened. Well, something had (sorry, Manuel, I’m delighted that your broadband is up and running, but I’m talking about something else). Universal Hub had twittered about the impending demise of the Boston Globe. According to the post (and the Globe‘s own Web site), unions have 30 days to agree to $200 million in concessions, or the Globe’s parent company the New York Times will leave us with only the Boston Herald for a local paper. These concessions would come on the heels of the decimation of the Globe’s newsroom staff, a wound that has cost the paper so many subscriptions (including mine) that its viability has been in question for years.
There’s no question that the Globe is a shadow of its former self. I cancelled my subscription years ago after Tom Oliphant left, and my Sunday paper of choice has become the New York Times. I tend to get my local news from WBUR. When on the rare occasion I’ve picked up the Globe in recent months, the poor quality of the paper has left me disappointed. I check Boston.com regularly, but I cannot say that I think it’s a critical news source. So in thinking about the future of the paper, I can’t say that I would support it in its current form. I’m part of the paper’s problem.
And yet. I believe that newspapers provide a crucial role in a free society. We need professional journalists to investigate and report on our communities. Television, radio, and the Internet do not lend themselves to the in-depth reporting that made papers such important sources of news for so long. However much blogs have become a way to learn how we regular folk view the world, we are not accountable for our reporting, or for our opinions. Nor do we have the time, resources, or training to uncover stories the way news room journalists can.
For these reasons, I would truly hate to see the end of the Boston Globe. Those in charge of the paper have precious little time to figure out how to make the paper relevant again. The answer isn’t that stupid g section, or the elitist Boston Globe Magazine. It’s in excellent reporting and insightful opinion. It’s in covering local news in the way that only a newspaper can. Changes are necessary at the Globe, and I can only hope that they make them before it’s too late. Especially since I hate the Herald.