MCDILL: Boston Globe free articles just one act of kindness after bombing

April 22, 2013

Business, Technology

After a horrific week that included a terrorist bombing, multiple gun battles and a historic manhunt, the city of Boston, Mass. is slowly, painfully getting back to business as usual.

Little acts of kindness are starting to emerge in the wake of last week’s Boston Marathon bombing and police shootouts that killed four and injured more than 170 people. They reflected the compassion and steely resolve of the city that “invented America” according to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

While federal, state and local law enforcement hunted for the suspected bombers, a local bakery stayed open to serve officers with plenty of coffee and donuts.

The city’s bitter baseball rivals the New York Yankees played the signature Red Sox song “Sweet Caroline.”

My personal favorite act of kindness was the esteemed Boston Globe coming down from the paywall mountain to perform a badly needed public service. In short, all Globe website articles related to the bombing and subsequent investigation stayed free for a world of readers throughout the following days as the tragic story developed.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper announced this morning it was reverting back to its subscriber-only format.

Newspapers (and newspaper staff) have to get paid just like everybody else. So far the business models support the trend toward online-based subscriptions and will continue to do so for the immediate future.

thebostongloTo their credit, the Globe knew that in those perilous early hours as the smoke cleared on a glass-covered Boylston Street, putting profits before people wasn’t the name of the game. That game had changed.

Globe publisher Christopher Mayer explained the policy shifting in a note posted on the newspaper’s website.

To our readers,

As a service to our community during the past week’s extraordinary series of events, access to The Boston Globe’s journalism on BostonGlobe.com was made available to all readers. Beginning Monday, all Globe content will again be available only to subscribers ­with one notable change.

With so many readers turning to BostonGlobe.com for breaking news throughout the day, we have added a live blog on the home page that provides breaking news and critical information in a format that makes it easy to share stories through social media, reinforcing BostonGlobe.com’s role as the go-to destination for timely, accurate, in-depth coverage for everyone. 

We are proud of our role as a trusted news source and we remain committed to our mission of providing world-class news and information, across all platforms.

Sincerely,

Christopher M. Mayer

Publisher

The aforementioned live blog was excellent by the way- still is.

My TV didn’t stay on long after cable networks fumbled with “fluid situations” and misreported sources. I was content with the Globe very quietly updating its blog and website every few minutes with good content on where the story was possibly going.

As police cornered one of the suspects in the Boston suburb of Watertown, Twitter posts from Globe reporters on the ground took precedence over live shots or breaking news updates from brightly lit studios.

I’m not sure if they give out Pulitzers for Twitter posts but at least as an information-starved consumer, I felt like I was in the right place.

In a chivalrous gesture, the Chicago Tribune bought pizza for Boston Globe staff to honor the paper’s service during what had to have been one of its most harrowing weeks in history.

Well done, Globe. Well done.

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The Boston Globe paywall was back up and running, one week after a terrorist bombing killed three and injured more than 170 at the historic Boston Marathon.

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About Stephen McDill

Stephen McDill joined the Mississippi Business Journal in 2008 after working in radio and television. He is a graduate of Belhaven University and has won awards for his writing and photojournalism from the Associated Press and Mississippi Press Association.

View all posts by Stephen McDill

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