Following a last-minute delay imposed by a Massachusetts district court, the New York Times Co.’s long-planned sale of The Boston Globe
finally went forward -- and this week the new
owner, John W. Henry, outlined his vision for reinventing and revitalizing one of the country’s major metropolitan dailies in a special column in the newspaper.
his own early background in civic activism and venturing that most journalists are in the business to “make a difference,” Henry noted that the rise of digital publishing has presented the
public with numerous new sources of information -- but also plenty of misinformation and opinion masquerading as fact.
There is a danger of information overload, as huge volumes of
information threaten to swamp casual readers who may be interested but also unversed in a complex topic. In this context, Henry argued that there is a continued need and demand for journalists as
trusted observers and analysts.
Thus Henry vowed that “the Globe
will place its emphasis on hard-hitting, investigative accountability that readers can rely on…
we will hold ourselves accountable for fairness, balance and fact-checking… [and] The Globe
will never be the prisoner of any ideology or political agenda.”
may have been a subtle dig at the increasing emphasis on simple volume in Web publishing -- often at the expense of quality -- the Globe
’s new owner also promised that readers
“will know that time, effort, and thought were put into each and every report.” When the newspaper's editorial staff aggregates content from other parts of the Web, “the
Standard… will ensure our readers do not waste their time” when they click on curated links for news and reviews.
In the realm of opinion, the newspaper
will publish “social, political and financial treatises from liberal and conservative viewpoints,” addressing, local, national and international issues. Returning to the newspaper’s
civic role, Henry stated that the Globe
will focus less on attracting new audiences through sensational reporting or outrageous op-eds and more on informing and engaging its existing
Redesigns are in the works for the newspaper’s print and digital channel, which should make the newspaper’s print edition “attractive and easier to
navigate,” and the Web site “as stimulating to look at as to read” -- suggesting greater emphasis on images and video. On the digital side, Henry also hinted at plans for
“future online sites,” without disclosing any details.
On the business side, Henry steered away from sweeping prophecies, but did predict that “the free availability
of news and classifieds will not put an end to newspapers.” Here again, he emphasized the importance of “reliability” and “trust,” as readers count on journalists to
filter, organize and present information in a way that makes current events comprehensible. To that end, “I feel strongly that newspapers and their news sites are going to rely upon the support
of subscribers to a large extent in order to provide what readers want” -- suggesting that online paywalls and digital subs won’t be going away