If only the Globe hadn't abandoned its less wealthy, Boston readers

George Snell, who acknowledges a certain fixation on the Crisis on Morrissey Boulevard, was still stunned yesterday when a neighbor revealed he not only didn't know the Globe was in trouble, he didn't care. This got Snell to thinking about how the Globe got to this point. He points to five specific reasons Globe readership keeps shrinking, including an increasingly elitist, insular reporting and editing staff:

... They became obsessed with real estate, gourmet cooking, home decorating, Harvard University, technology gadgets, travel, restaurants and child care. The content was often maddeningly skewered to this wealthy suburban audience often assuming that every reader faced the same challenges when redesigning a 1,000-square-foot kitchen or throwing a dinner party for 18 after a Tanglewood concert. ...

Adam Reilly, meanwhile, has some ideas for rebuilding the Globe, which would require the Times to do some innovative things in Boston first, so, never mind.

And Mike Mennnonno goes HUH? when he clicks over to boston.com and sees that the very first item under a story about Boston layoffs is one titled "Is ping-pong the new foosball?" - complete with a forum asking what you play at work.

... I thought the point of work was that you work at work. Am I missing something here? They throw that out there like it's a foregone conclusion that everyone plays something at work. I wonder what they're playing at the Globe, while union reps negotiate those $20m in concessions so that the paper doesn't go belly-up? ...

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    Killing me...

    So I go to Boston.com, and I discover that we're in the middle
    of a live chat on "relationships".

    Here's the lead: "Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist
    who follows relationship trends. Her work appears every
    Wednesday in the Voices section of the Globe's "G."

    With tripe like this at boston.com, all you folks who advocate
    "internet only" wanna consider your position.

    Oy, vey.

    Not that kind of Harvard news

    I think he means chrome-domey, pointy-headed philosophizing from the World's Greatest University, not too much news about the new science center.

    But since you mention Harvard, let's not forget little old Roslindale, where, even as the Science Center founders, the U is proceeding apace with construction of a new research/office building across from the Arboretum, lending credence to the kidlet's worries that when she grows up, there won't be any place left for her to live, since Harvard and BU will own the entire city (yes, she's mentioned that!).

    Harvard Attitude at the Globe

    I don't know if there's any philosophy left over there, besides "helping the poor by helping the rich get richer." There's a top-down philosophy at the Globe, sure, so that the elite directs social action, social spending and now business through government offices of tech business or green business.

    The righties have their own top-down when it comes to foreigners in wars, and their own issues with idolization of the rich.

    I don't know if that's why the Globe is going down though. Everybody has their issue and generalized failure makes it easy to attach your cause to their collapse.

    Boston's sorta liberal/very elitist network

    The Globe embraces what could be called Greater Boston's "sorta liberal/very elitist network." I'd say that Harvard, the Globe, and the Boston Foundation are the three leading institutional players in the network.

    That network also serves as a remarkable check on the progressive community, because even lefties often feel compelled to pay homage to it, thus ensuring that no one gets too uppity -- with occasional exceptions for the city's African American activists.

    And while the Globe is free to be a part of that circle, it also has the effect of alienating others who aren't a part of it. No doubt there are a lot of resentful folks who don't fall into the Herald's targeted demographic but who aren't part of the Globe's preferred world either. Because of their politics and general outlook, they're still more likely to read the Globe than the Herald. But as long as the Globe is free online, they're even less likely to take out a subscription.

    Is this the primary reason for the Globe's struggles? No, probably not. But it's not a trifling one either.

    There's still hope for

    There's still hope for Allston. The cranes have stopped so maybe Harvard will sell all that property back to the working class families that once lived there (yea right).

    The rich, suburban angle is

    The rich, suburban angle is spot on, for the life of me I could never relate to anything in the Globe Magazine. It wasnt even subtle. They really did abandon local coverage to their detriment, as if everything that mattered in the city could fit into the few pages allotted. I could count on one hand the number of times the Globe ever did a feature on Rosi or Hyde Park. I want a paper that gives me lots of local content, thats why I come to this site. You know like lets say you were driving to work and you saw a minivan crashed into a front porch, not the most important thing but you're curious and want more details, the Globe never gave you that level of local coverage.

    Not surprising

    The Globe's income comes from advertisers, not readers, and advertisers are interested in reaching readers who want to buy things. Advertisers like features on how to redo your bathroom for $50,000. Advertisers do not want features on how it's silly to rehab your bathroom in these troubled economic times.

    Globe Sunday Magazine

    It has become a landing pad for guano. They cut City Weekly and keep one of the dullest Sunday mags around. I realize it's about the ad money, but I'd be happy to give up the magazine and pay a quarter less for the Sunday paper.

    If only the Globe hadn't abandoned its less wealthy, Boston read

    So recently Boston.com started an online initiative to provide local-focused content under the moniker of Your Town. So where did they start? Newton! Don't get me wrong, Newton is a beautiful place, its just not what I think of when I hear Boston. Greater Boston, yes, but not Boston. Now I see they've expanded to 3 additional towns, and again they're out in the suburbs - Waltham, Needham and Wellesley.

    Has anyone actually tried to

    Has anyone actually tried to get through one article in the Ideas section? Take this for example - "The Other Kind of Smart: Is it time for schools to try to boost kids' emotional intelligence?"

    Screw this soporific symposium shit! More red-meat issues! Who keeps stealing our bronze ducks?!!

    Agreed: Ideas = Often Unreadable

    What started out as a good idea -- blending some "big picture" thinking with more accessible journalistic prose -- has turned into often painfully dull and pedantic features and analysis.

    For that kind of writing, there are plenty of other periodicals that take the same approach but do it better, such as The Atlantic, Harpers, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

    I think this is another example of the Globe's identity crisis and the kind of editors and reporters they've been hiring of late.

    Yeah, but what about the advertisers?

    I can't imagine that the few auto dealers who still paid for print ads are pleased that there's now no editorial content driving people to that section. It was bad enough when they dumped their local writers for syndicated content, but the reviews still had some objectivity to them, and they still occasionally addressed issues that New England car buyers were likely to be concerned about, such as how a vehicle fared in the snow.

    Thanks, anon, for pointing that recent change out. Not as crushing a blow as the loss of City Weekly or what's happened with the magazine (which started several years ago) but a bad sign all the same.