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As the Globe turns

There may be a new wind blowing through New England media -- and I find myself hoping it's true.

For 120 years, the Boston Globe was operated (and, largely, owned) by the Taylor family. That changed in 1993, when it was sold -- lock, stock, and barrel -- to the New York Times. The Times promised not to meddle in the management of the Globe, but started moving its own people in immediately. The last Taylor family member left the Globe in 2001.

And in the 13 years since, the Times' investment has proven to be a poor one. Circulation has dropped, ad sales plummeted, and the paper is currently assessed for half of what the Times initially paid for it.

The actual news coverage hasn't been wonderful, either. I routinely poke large holes in their "reporting," and their editorials are often laughable. The PC filters placed on all content are industrial-grade.

Their one shining success since the Times merger was their coverage of the Catholic Church's pedophile priest scandals. Globe reporters were the ones who uncovered the shameful history of secret payoffs of hush money, transfers of predatory pedophile priests to unsuspecting new parishes, and other backroom deals that left the Church untouched -- but the perpetrators free to prey again and again and again.

Meanwhile, in 1998, the Globe had to get rid of two of its highest-profile columnists (Patricia Smith and Mike Barnicle) when it was revealed they had fabricated stories and plagiarized material. And let's never forget that Jayson Blair had interned there before joining the New York Times.

Well, things might be changing on Morrissey Boulevard.

Rumors are swirling that the Times might be looking to cut its losses and shed the albatross around its neck -- and leading the group of investors who might take it off their hands is former GE CEO Jack Welch.

I don't know a damned thing about Welch, except he's a hit on the lecture circuit and widely regarded as a hell of a leader and a wizard at turning a profit. But I find myself in the position of thinking that pretty much ANYTHING done to change the Globe would be an improvement.

Especially if it involves a serious purging of the editorial suite.

The Boston Herald, naturally, has been all over the story, while the Globe itself has been predictably mute. Here's a sample of the Herald's coverage:

Group looks at Globe

Ex-GE chief confirms his eye's on paper

Welch buy could shift Globe from left-leaning axis

Why Ted K loves Globe, hates us (Howie Carr's take on the Senior Senator's moves to help "save" the Globe, comparing them to his efforts years ago that nearly killed the Boston Herald)

Comments (5)

"Meanwhile, in 1998, the Gl... (Below threshold)

"Meanwhile, in 1998, the Globe had to get rid of two of its highest-profile columnists (Patricia Smith and Mike Barnicle) when it was revealed they had fabricated stories and plagiarized material."

Well don't blame them. They only learned it from Kerry and hilLIARy.

Welch is an absolute busine... (Below threshold)

Welch is an absolute business genius. You can bet his first step would be massive cost-cutting, though. Not the NYT's version of cutting just enough to stock the free fall in stock prices, but meaningful and deep cuts.

The unions just loooooove him, by the way.


Welch is a name to conjour ... (Below threshold)

Welch is a name to conjour with in business, so even his looking at buying an old media outfit is news. If he goes through with this, expect the globe to become much more profitable and much more responsive to customers (not in a servile way, but in understanding what current and potential customers are looking for).

This could be a turning point for old media.

The interesting bit, that I... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

The interesting bit, that I haven't seen any comment on, is: does this mean that the NYT is so cash-strapped that they are having to hold a bargain basement sale to raise cash? If I were an NYT employee right now, I'd make sure to get my paycheck to the bank the moment it hit my desk.

Judging from the number of ... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

Judging from the number of comments so far, I would say that not very many people give a damn about what happens to the Boston Globe or the NYT.






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