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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Building a bridge to the 21st Century media

Deval Patrick gave a nuts-and-bolts speech about where Massachusetts and its economy have been and where it can go. A bit dry? Yep. Trying to right a ship that's been leaking? Absolutely.

But if you pickup today's "newspaper of record" the focus is the politics: 2010 Democratic challenger-in-waiting Tim Cahill taking a swipe at the bridge building proposal which, interestingly, has the support of both Speaker Sal DiMasi and Senate President Terry Murray. Good luck Treasurer Tim.

Buried deep in the jump page is some discussion of what else Patrick said. But if you want to read what he actually said you must go elsewhere.

I'm not here to bury the Globe for not reporting on the rhetoric. Reporters make decisions in what's newsworthy, the bridge proposal was reported already. The size of the news hole in the Incredibly Shrinking Globe doesn't warrant that treatment.

But I am suggesting it is incredibly short-sighted of the Globe not to make use of a vast resource that is becoming an important part of its business base -- boston.com.

If you are a policy wonk/political junkie who wants to read all the details -- or even watch a video of the speech -- it's really easy. If you want the full court spin, try here.

The Globe has never made good use of the Web as a supplement for its coverage. Just look up the Expressway at the Herald and its database of public employee salaries and pensions as an example of what a newspaper can do with all this cyberspace territory.

So it's left to Blue Mass Group and other wonk sites on the left and right to fill in the gap -- with basic information and with discussions. Those are clicks that could be going to Morrissey Boulevard's bottom line but aren't. Hey Globe sales force, ever notice the ads on these sites?

I would certainly never suggest that anyone should rely on simply on the Globe or Blue Mass Group for their news (this site, well, maybe!) A wide range of options is a good thing.

For example, heading back of the Expressway again, note how Casey Ross focuses on Patrick's attempt to build bridges not only across the commonwealth but also with DiMasi.

The efforts to right the SS Globe will not be complete until it looks at all the territory it surveys. Ads on the web don't bring in as much cash, but they do bring in cash that could be applied to making the news product better and maybe even halt the consolidation of sections.

Until then, expect exciting promos like this: Coming this Sunday -- the puny job classifieds section combined with the meager business section for another disappointing clump of dead trees that can be easily discarded!

The Globe's here!

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