We have all read recently about the threat of possible closure faced by the Boston Globe. A number of Boston-based bloggers who care about the continued existence of the Globe have banded together in conducting a blog rally. We are simultaneously posting this paragraph to solicit your ideas of steps the Globe could take to improve its financial picture.
We view the Globe as an important community resource, and we think that lots of people in the region agree and might have creative ideas that might help in this situation. So, here’s your chance. Please don’t write with nasty comments and sarcasm: Use this forum for thoughtful and interesting steps you would recommend to the management that would improve readership, enhance the Globe’s community presence, and make money. Who knows, someone here might come up with an idea that will work, or at least help. Thank you.
It's more than a bit naive to believe comments on blog posts will contain the answer that can single-handedly save New England's largest newspaper (and by extension the entire industry, for the Globe's problems are in some way the problems of all newspapers).
The fact is this, and it's a hard truth: When a company is threatening to shutter a newspaper, the decision to close it has already been made. No amount of drastic action was able to save the Rocky Mountain News or Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and I strongly doubt anything will pursuade the Sulzbergers to continue to bleed millions for the Globe.
Likewise, any decisions that could affect the newspaper will likely be incremental stopgaps that do not address the real problems. Because the problems are caused by decisions that have already been made — stupid, short-sighted decisions to acquire newspaper companies or build glamorous new buildings, acquiring millions in debt, and stupid, greedy decisions to take private companies public, exposing the newspapers to the whims of investors and the demands of stock-holders.
It's maddening. This was avoidable. Not the recession and the painful cuts that would have been necessary to get through it, but the death spiral caused by the blind slashing of newsrooms while pouring millions into marketing and sales. It's too late now. For the Globe, certainly, and likely for the Philadelphia newspapers, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Detroit newspapers, and at least one of the New York newspapers (if not both the Times and the Daily News), and the Chicago Sun-Times (if not both Chicago papers) and even the great grandfather of them all, the Hartford Courant, the oldest continually published newspaper in America.
I'm tired of mourning the losses of newspapers as I would the losses of old friends. Yet I can do nothing else. And whether others realize it yet or not, in the end we all will mourn what transpired here, at the end of the 21st century's first decade.