The Boston Globe and BC
For those who have not been following it, the Boston Globe is bleeding money and looking for concessions from its union and workers to stay afloat. Regardless of who gives what, it appears like the paper will face tough choices in its editorial coverage in the coming months. What does that mean for BC? My guess is losing a beat writer and presumably less coverage. As a blogger and frequent Globe critic you would think that I would dance on the paper's grave. Not so. One less writer and paper covering BC means one less piece of content for BC fans.
Fortunately there are numerous bloggers and websites covering BC these days. Even BC has done a good job in producing original interviews and video pieces for bceagles.com. Together that will fill any void should the Globe curtail its BC coverage.
I don't think the paper is going under due to the problems in how it approached the BC beat, but I do think you can see signs of why these old institutions fail more often than they adapt. Just take a look at most BC fans big gripes:
1. Originality. It is tough to stay fresh on any beat. Give Mike Vega credit, he wrote about BC for a long time in a professional way. However, too often Vega and his counterpart at the Herald would write features on the same, exact BC players. Both articles were accessible from the web. Did no one question whether the leading paper should make more of an effort to differentiate itself in the players it chose to feature. I often wondered why the writers wouldn't collude a bit and go after different subjects.
2. Lack of breaking news. As the leading paper with ultimate access, the Globe could have and should have broken more BC news. Too often the beat guys become too friendly or protect their access over breaking news. How Vega let TOB go unquestioned through the 2007 season without confirming or disclosing Matt Ryan's broken foot is mind boggling.
3. Leaving criticism to the hatchet men. Once again it comes down to access. The beat guys cannot upset the school or coaches, so columnists or guys from other beats have to come in and criticize. The problem with that strategy is the bomb throwers were often uniformed or lacked perspective. A great beat writer could have walked that line at BC.
4. Under utilizing, NESN, Boston.com and other avenues. There is an audience for BC blogs. It may not be huge but it could have been another revenue stream for the Globe. Instead different writers and different times gave the Boston.com blogs half-hearted support. Usually all that it involved was a posting of a story that would eventually make its way to print.
5. Bringing Blaudschun back. I guess this had more to do with union politics and seniority than anything else, but bringing Mark Blaudschun back to the BC beat hurt coverage. Blaudschun is a decent writer, but I cannot think of one interesting take or innovation he brought to the position since he's been back. The only upside to Blaudschun's return was that it opened a door for Julian Benbow on the basketball front.
6. Sensationalizing the unflattering BC stories. News is news, but too often the Globe would trot out Bob Hohler was a quick hit piece. Rarely did they write about the good things BC jocks and regular students do.
It is easy to play backseat driver on a dying industry. A follower of this blog could easily rattle off a dozen mistakes I've made on this blog. The frustration comes in on what could have been. BC fans will get their fix somewhere. It is just a shame that we never got all that we could have from a once great paper.
Labels: Boston Globe