Globe reaches for the cloud
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: The Boston Globe is seeking to buy out an unidentified number of newsroom employees to cut costs and put the paper on a better financial footing going forward. If not enough people step forward to take the cash, there will be layoffs.
It’s no longer news when newspapers reduce staff. The same day Globe editor Brian McGrory sent out his 1,439-word memo to staff laying out the rationale for the cuts, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also announced bloodletting in the Steel City city room. Last week, the Boston Herald made cuts to its nearly skeleton workforce with nary a notice outside of a union tweet.
But what makes the Globe‘s plans noteworthy is McGrory’s plain-text narrative to the troops: We have to make a profit so we can move quicker to kill the paper and go all-out digital. He didn’t use those words, but McGrory made it clear the transformation of the Globe from dead-tree delivery to web-first/web-only is on the very seeable horizon.
“Similar to last year’s, we’ll use it as an opportunity to direct more resources to digital, a vital undertaking,” McGrory wrote of the new buy-out round. “Different than last year, it will also help us cut costs as we continue our transformation into a predominantly digital, subscriber-based news operation that will thrive for many years to come.”
What they won’t do, McGrory acknowledged, is save reporters from themselves, so readers can clearly expect to see more errors, clarifications, and revisions after a story is posted or printed.
“Night after night, the desk improves our copy and makes the paper gleam. The issue, though, is that we can’t afford the kind of print-centric copy editing operation that we have maintained for too long,” McGrory opined in his best Metro column voice. “So what does it mean, practically? Details are being worked out, but it will mean a streamlined copy editing operation. It will mean that most stories will get fewer reads, placing more responsibility on reporters and line editors to make sure they’re in good shape.”
It’s the latest action by the Globe owner John Henry to pump up the digital operation and his bottom line, which McGrory says will be poured right back into the operation. Earlier this month, the Globe announced a 74 percent hike in its digital subscription, raising the cost to $360 a year, still half of the print price but among the highest of digital subscriptions around the country.
When the Globe‘s email went out to the 65,000 digital subscribers explaining the rate hike, officials focused on the value of Globe journalism, a theme that McGrory championed in his missive to the troops.
“We have set the agenda with our even-handed yet penetrating coverage of the Olympics bid, from birth to this week’s death,” McGrory wrote. “Nobody’s been better at chronicling the downfall of the Red Sox and the meaning of Deflategate. Nobody has more accessible and insightful critics. Our DC bureau has reported and written like a dream, from Vienna to Iowa… The list could go on. Which is to say, again, the business model for journalism may be broken, but the journalism, specifically your journalism, is not.”
The one thing McGrory didn’t say is whether anyone will buy it. That is the riddle yet to be solved.
Lawmakers poured millions of dollars back into the fiscal 2016 budget, overriding vetoes by Gov. Charlie Baker. (Eagle-Tribune)
The fiscal 2015 budget deficit forecasted by Baker back in February didn’t turn out to be as severe as expected because of an influx of tax revenues, particularly capital gains tax revenues. The state even ended the year with a surplus. (CommonWealth)
As lawmakers debate legislation to reform the Public Records Law, Baker unveils a series of new rules his administration will follow to improve access to records. The new rules say nothing about his office’s exemption from the law. (WBUR)
The Senate passes legislation directing the Revenue Department to prepare in case Congress approves collection of sales taxes on items purchased over the Internet. (Masslive)
A bill in the Legislature would ban the practice of so-called “conversion therapy” aimed at “curing” gay youth. (Metrowest Daily News)
In the wake of the deaths of three elderly residents in North Andover public housing, state Rep. Diana DiZoglio files legislation to create a task force to improve security. (Eagle-Tribune)
State Rep. Chris Walsh of Framingham is joining local elected officials in a push to make the state’s largest town a city. (Metrowest Daily News)
Fall River officials are getting aggressive in collecting back taxes with a plan to auction off 11 seized properties to recoup nearly $1 million in delinquent taxes. (Herald News)
Garrett Quinn offers his take on Olympic winners and losers, with No Boston Olympics, MassINC Polling Group, and Gov. Charlie Baker all grabbing gold. (Boston)
John Fish, who launched the Boston 2024 effort, may be down but he’s clearly not out as a major Boston powerbroker, writes Jon Chesto. (Boston Globe) The positive piece made for an interesting contrast with other treatment of Fish in today’s Globe, where he gets the Capital section’s “Bad Week” award and the paper’s account of Olympic winners and losers declares that his brand has been “badly bruised.”
Beijing, where there apparently is not as much dissent as Boston, has been selected as host of the 2022 Winter Olympics. (New York Times)
The end of Boston’s Olympic bid is another blow for New Bedford. (WBUR)
The Globe and the Herald report on a Wynn Resorts proposal to subsidize service on the MBTA’s Orange Line. The stories come more than a week after Globe columnist Shirley Leung reported on the subsidy and two weeks after CommonWealth broke the news.
Temple Beth Emunah in Brockton is closing its doors, leaving the city that once boasted four synagogues without a Jewish house of worship for the first time in 125 years. (The Enterprise)
Two white males are caught on surveillance footage placing Confederate flags on the ground near Martin Luther King’s church in Atlanta. (Time)
Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll waded into another community’s politics when she sent a campaign donation to Holyoke City Councilor Jossie Valentin after another council candidate criticized Valentin’s call for sensitivity training. “Jossie wants all of us to hold hands and talk about her vagina,” the other councilor said. (The Republic)
Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been spending big in New Hampshire, and he’s making some polling inroads there, reports the Herald‘s Chris Cassidy.
In an attempt to tamp down criticism and take some of the heat off Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation has updated its donor list to include contributions through the end of June and promises to release the data quarterly. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)
Democrats in a number of states are dropping the names of slave-owning presidents (Jefferson/Jackson) from their annual fundraising dinners. (Governing)
Quincy officials have pushed the preliminary election in September back two days to avoid a conflict with the start of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. (Patriot Ledger) Pittsfield Mayor Daniel Bianchi is also trying to shift the date of that city’s preliminary for the same reason but the city clerk is balking, saying the calendar had already been adjusted in deference to Rosh Hashana. (Berkshire Eagle)
Former Brockton mayor Win Farwell, who last served in 1995, announced his candidacy for the City Council race this fall. (The Enterprise)
David Scharfenberg digs deep and says the constant talk of a “skills gap” in the US economy may be overblown. (Boston Globe)
President Obama has announced a government initiative to build the world’s fastest supercomputer, capable of performing a quintillion operations per second. (New York Times)
Tis the Hancock Tower no more. (Boston Herald)
The march of high-end real estate into Boston’s Jamaica Plain continues apace. (Boston Herald)
A little more talk, but not a lot of substance, from HubSpot on the “fishiness” that led to the firing of its chief marketing executive. (Boston Globe)
Neighbors raise all sorts of objections to a proposed substance abuse center in Danvers. (Salem News)
David Segal, the president of Neighborhood Health Plan, details the legacy of community health centers. (CommonWealth)
The Baker administration is dividing the top job overseeing the MBTA into two jobs, with Brian Shortsleeve, a former executive with the venture capital firm General Catalyst, coming on to direct finances, while interm T general manager Frank DePaola will oversee operations. (Boston Globe)
The Herald goes all-in on the nomination of Beverly Scott, the former MBTA general manager of snowmageddon fame, by President Obama to serve on the National Transportation Safety Board. The news story suggests her nomination is in trouble already, an editorial isn’t sure she’s exactly a stellar choice, and Howie Carr is less equivocal.
The state is launching a Park&Pedal program in Greater Boston, which allows commuters to park for free in state lots as long as they bike the rest of the way into town. (Boston Herald)
A licensed operator of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth tested positive for a controlled substance during a random drug test, the 11th Pilgrim employee in the last five years to fail a random drug test. (Patriot Ledger)
The Washington Post offers a tick-tock on poor reporting by its rival, the New York Times, about an alleged Hillary Clinton email investigation by two inspectors general.NPR officials in Washington engage in a spirited debate on when to bleep out profane words on air. (Washington Post)
As the Globe and Herald downsize (see lead item), Politico is launching a Massachusetts Playbook compiled by Lauren Dezenski, hired away from the Dorchester Reporter.