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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Monday, September 12, 2011

Have you seen the Globe today?

I usually stumble to the computer in the wee hours, routinely clicking on the Globe website and navigating to the daily's front page to find blogging fodder.

Imagine my surprise when yesterday's front page popped up -- well beyond the time the new page should have loaded. But that was the only unpleasant surprise once I spotted the editor's note down the left-hand column.

The new bostonglobe.com site is the paper's venture behind the paywall. At first blush, it appears clean and easy to navigate, organized like the dead tree version. Sections can be reached through drop down menus at the top that highlight the latest headlines. It would be nice to have a full set of links to each section's content at a glance rather than having to click into it and going through a slide show.

The biggest question is whether people are willing to pay $3.99 weekly for the site -- a far cry cheaper than the dead tree edition that plunks down on my doorstep but way more expensive than free. Another interesting question is whether this a model that will work better than the 20 free stories then pay model of the mother ship.

But the biggest question is how the Globe will differentiate content between the pay site and boston.com, which frankly could use a face lift (no doubt in the works too).

I'm somewhat skeptical that the ever-shrinking daily newspaper, which generates less and less fresh local content, will able to attract paying customers without some amazing news features that go beyond just the bells and whistles of a site that is easier to navigate and offers additional video and photos.

I've long felt the Globe has squandered the online opportunities available to the one-time paper of record by failing to offer in-depth extras to things like Statehouse coverage or sports, where tons of raw material is available to keep junkies satisfied for hours.

But in a news world now ruled by the concept of adapt or die, the Globe, barely removed from death's door a couple of years ago, is making a decent effort to change.

UPDATE: To someone attuned to gauging stories and their importance by their volume and placement in dead tree editions, a look at today's newspaper suggests the Globe certainly thinks this is the most important story in awhile.

But dead tree readers probably are already subscribers. Heavy handed salesmanship in two front-page items, two full inside pages and the lead editorial smacks of self-serving overkill.



Blogger Christopher Ruston Rich said...

The NYT wasted 40 million dollars to make its paywall system. What happens is people just do end runs.

Google News is an aggregation page you'll find on Firefox and Chrome browsers. You can personalize it. I created sections for Green Tech, Sustainability and Conservation land initiative.

You even get to do fun things like remove Fox from the main system and there are hundreds of interesting sources.

I'm guessing this will accelerate the Globe's demise even further.

September 12, 2011 9:07 AM  

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