A Blueprint for ¢hange for Troubled Boston Globe

To: Boston Globe Editorial Staff

From: EduShyster

Re: Boston Globe Turnaround Plan

Well folks, I’ve got good news and bad news. Let’s start with the great news, shall we? There’s FINALLY a coherent plan in place to improve the performance of the Boston Globe, which has been plagued by plunging readership and advertising revenues for YEARS. The plan doesn’t call for anything as dramatic as mass firings of Globe writers and editorial staff (although Larry H. will probably be working what we call in the biz “an extended day.” )

Free daily newspapers will play a key role in the redemption of the Boston Globe. Successful operators, including the Boston Metro, local college newspapers and random blogs, will form partnerships with underperforming departments at the Globe to provide management oversight and produce stories that people actually read. But Globe writers will also have the opportunity for autonomy, if they are up to the task of raising circulation levels for the troubled daily. Should the writers fail to make the most of this freedom from editorial control, more free dailies will likely be recruited for the task in the coming years. Capiche?

At the center of our solid plan is an excellent program called Write for America. These journalism fellows, many of them from top universities, receive five weeks of journalism training before being sent to write for some of the country’s most challenged newspapers. I mean, come on, how hard is it to produce a little copy, right?

Now you are probably wondering: what about my union contract? Will I still have the strict seniority protections that I secretly love but never mention? More good news, folks. We’re in a new era of performance  and raised expectations–let’s call it a paradigm of new professionalism. You won’t need any of those innovation-stifling work rules. Did you know that the average blogger works 18 hours a day for no money at all? Ideally the Boston Newspaper Guild will be a full partner in the redemption of the Boston Globe. But that could change once the workday is extended and editorial writers are no longer allowed to phone in the same column every week.

Obviously the Globe’s readers have the most at stake. But the Globe turnaround plan could also serve as the blueprint for overhauls of other struggling papers, such as the Boston Herald. I believe that this is what’s known as a “game changer.” But if the Globe and its writers fail to make strong progress during the next few years, we’ll need to take a significantly tougher approach. You’ve got three years, folks. Then we bring in the monkeys…

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