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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Trouble on their doorstep

I guess I had to wait for the extensive coverage of the New England Revolution's exciting race to the MLS final.

There was a lot of hand-wringing earlier this week (including this story in the incredibly shrinking Boston Globe). The numbers are scary -- the Globe's daily circulation fell nearly 6.7 percent to 360,695, while the incredibly disappearing Boston Herald dropped 8.7 percent, falling below the 200,000 benchmark to 185,832.

The Globe and others sought to take note of the silver lining -- online readership, while far less lucrative in terms of advertising, is growing. In perfect timing with the launch of its redesigned web site, Boston.com, reported 2.3 million combined print and online readers in the Boston market, 4.2 million unique visitors to the website, and 61 million page views.

Someone should remind the Globe's home delivery department about this phenomenon. This free content phenomenon.

For a month or more on weekends, the Globe failed to meet its commitment to home delivery customers like me, who pay in advance and with some vigorish, er, premiums, to receive a newspaper on their doorstep at a regularly scheduled time.

One week it was the provide full coverage of the Indians' 13-6 extra-inning win over the Red Sox. The next week it was the Sox's win over the Tribe. The following weekend it was full coverage of a blowout against the Rockies.

Even though the Globe had the brains to stop offering this alibi, last weekend, I surmised it may have been to note the Celtics' romp over the Washington Wizards. I guess today it was Thursday's Revolution victory.

Week in and week out, bad service (and bills that are so obtuse that it is impossible to figure out if they give you the credit for late or non-delivery -- maybe Bruce Mohl should investigate?)

Daily newspapers have serious problems -- the Globe's newshole has shrunk to the point that it can't or won't cover local elections (although it can wring its hands about turnout).

The Herald? It's web site is even harder to negotiate than the skimpy and scanty coverage of crime and outrages foisted against the little guys and gals who make up its loyal -- and dying -- readership.

There is no question that younger news consumers are finding the ancient delivery systems -- newspapers, television and radio -- increasingly irrelevant to their lives. Older folks (you know the ones with the disposable incomes to buy things from their advertisers) are learning to rely more on the web too.

But we still prefer ink on dead trees to go with the morning coffee and bagel, particularly on weekends (and what is the assumption that no one is awake before 8 a.m. on weekends?) So we continue to be the people who pay them one-month in advance with a little something extra thrown in for their troubles.

The least the Globe can do is humor us by giving us something for that payment. And maybe they'd like to cover the story of the inventor working to add a toaster to the CD-DVD drive?

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