Monday, September 16, 2013

Hyperlocal News Losing the Hype? Boston Globe Sheds Half of Your Town Staff

English: Headquarters of The Boston Globe news...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Boston Globe found a rich uncle in soon-to-be-boss, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry, but that didn't prevent the Web site from axing roughly half the correspondents for the Your Town hyperlocal news sites.

Six correspondents were pink-slipped, Globe Regional Editor David Dahl told the Boston Business Journal last week, though he didn't identify the unlucky correspondents, the towns affected by the move or the savings realized by the cutbacks.  Dahl was quoted as saying the more than 100 Your Town sites covering Boston neighborhoods and suburban communities, as well as 15 Your Campus sites assisted by local colleges, would remain up and running.

Although articles by staff reporters and freelance writers that appear in the Globe's print edition also provide content for Your Town, simple math suggests some communities are going to get short-shrifted by the remaining six or seven correspondents having to cover a broader area. The Globe, which The New York Times is unloading to Henry for $70 million (see "TUOL" post 8/6/13), has a workforce of 1,600, roughly 350 of whom are newsroom staffers, according to the BBJ article.

The five-year-old, advertising-starved Your Town experiment began inauspiciously when GateHouse Media Inc. sued the Times, alleging copyright infringement concerning content from its Wicked Local hyperlocal news sites. Given the massive staff reduction last month by AOL Patch (see "TUOL" post 8/19/13) and GateHouse Media's slow dance toward pre-packaged bankruptcy (see "TUOL" post 3/27/13), journalism industry prognosticators, who five years ago considered hyperlocal news the greatest thing since sliced bread, may be looking for new sources of "bread."

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