Boston Globe Slits Own Throat; Lion Grumpy And Morose; Life Goes On

Scott Lehigh, columnist for the Globe, today asked for ideas from readers on how the Globe could continue to live, especially how it could make money from its website.

The Lion’s response:

Mr. Lehigh,

I currently pay $442 a year at the newsstand for the Globe, which is actually cheaper than the subscription rate. I considered dropping it when the price went to a dollar for the daily.

After reading your column today I noted a box on another page saying that on May 4 the out-of-town newsstand price would go to $1.50 and $3.50, for $650 a year. And although the subscription price would remain the same, since there is no guarantee the Globe will remain in business, and since I know the hassles involved in getting my credit card out of a failed business’s system, and since it is likely that the subscription price will go up, I will have no incentive to continue paying for the Globe after May 4, if it survives that long.

While I much prefer to get my news from rustling pages of a reliable newspaper, I can just as easily get it from the web, for free, from any number of newspapers around the world. I will, of course, lose local coverage for Massachusetts, other than what comes on the television, NPR, or the local rag.

Two points:

1) If the Globe wants to retain subscribers, raising the price isn’t the way to do it. If it wants to add subscribers it should be dropping the price. Advertisers pay for eyes. Cutting out eyes merely exacerbates the death spiral.

2) I’ve always felt a newspaper has a duty and responsibility to the community, to the citizenry, to the voters, and that that duty preempts shareholder and owner expectations of profit. Corporate conglomeration of newspapers, in search of profit from a business that was never designed to generate other than a modest profit at best, has pretty much destroyed the business and undercut the practice of democracy.

The May 4 increase will likely be little more than the final knell of the Globe’s death march.

-30-

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11 Responses

  1. Newspapers are dead due to the internet.

    First, because of price (you can’t beat free).
    Second, because of necessity.

    The necessity has arisen because I believe merely 9 companies own all the major papers, meaning there’s no diversity of opinion or choice in what’s reported, so in order to actually get more news and broader opinions of that news, one is forced to go to the internet.

    Now I think if there were legitimate, independent papers that were old school (ie – exhibited quality writing and journalism) they’d turn a buck. Let’s face it, the internet is free but it can be a hassle sifting through it all for the good stuff, not to mention the further effort of having to verify what you find. If you could go to one source for good and broad news and trust that it’s valid, I can see paying for that.

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  2. Ric: You okay?

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  3. (((Billy))) – Just “morose”, hopefully. Ric’s done this before, like me.

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  4. Thanks for the concern, guys. Yeah. Not dead yet. Another mid-life crisis, maybe. Overwhelmed, rudderless. Looking for the middle ground between totally tranked out and off-the-wall pissed and anxious. And yesterday’s news that Obama and his crew have decided it’s okay to break the laws on torture and wiretapping … unspeakably reprehensible and disgusting. Apparently the oath of office requiring him to uphold the laws meant nothing to him or his crew, no more than it did to the gang of thugs Bush brought with him to Washington. By refusing to investigate and prosecute he leaves the door wide open for future administrations (and his own) to use the same tactics, and they will. Imagine if Iranians, or anyone, had tortured and murdered Americans held as prisoners – any American administration would be raging. But for Americans to do the same thing – no problem, not a crime, not a moral or ethical or legal question. Just business. The ugly head of arrogant American exceptionalism rears up over the world, once more, even a little higher. Maybe Obama gets this criminal arrogance from his fucking religion – you know, turn the other cheek, forgive, blah blah blah. So he decides to sell out the country on the altar of his psychotic religion. Fuck him, and fuck the crew he brought with him. Change and hope, my ass. All we’ve done is exchange one gang of thugs for a more intelligent, better spoken gang of thugs.

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  5. All we’ve done is exchange one gang of thugs for a more intelligent, better spoken gang of thugs.

    I hope that’s not true, but am not placing any bets either way right now.

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  6. Ric – you are not alone. If that makes you feel any better.

    Yeah… probably not. Well, I gave it a try.

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  7. Thanks Evo. But I’m always alone. Except for the cats, of course. And the books. And then there’s the computers. Television, too, and too much of. And the little group of dedicated fanatic…. dedicated bloggers I follow and who follow my ramblantings. Ah, life is good. (Oh christ, where’s the frigging xanax?!?)

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  8. chappie –

    People who torture, people who enable torture, and people who sanction torture are among the most depraved people in the world. The current administration’s refusal to hold the constellation of Bush-era torturers accountable will allow Obama, Holder, et al, to join that august group of people who sanction torture and makes their claims that they have stopped the practice ring hollow as the last screams of the victims.

    I’d like not to believe that, but as someone said, hope is not a plan.

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  9. We’re a lot alike, Ric. Cats and all!

    Write something, buddy. Blow it all out.

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  10. From your cats to my cats… and I did it with Frosted Mini Wheats in today’s entry (Tuesday, April 21)!

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  11. Yeah, that’s just because of your bad case of the munchies due to yesterday (4/20)!!

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