The countdown is on. Tomorrow Boston.com will unveil it’s version of a hyperlocal Newton site. We’ll know then how they decide to use our content and if it’s legal or not.
We had a staff meeting about this today. Basically, Gatehouse’s publisher, Kirk Davis, is viewing this as an attempt to take over our territory. The Newton TAB and all of the Wicked Local sites are all about being the destination a community goes to for all its news. Way to go, Boston Globe, for trying to get a cut of the action now.
While the Globe might be saying it’s doing this to help our sites, let’s be realistic. They are going for the same advertising dollars my company goes for. There’s a finite amount of money there. If the Globe takes that away from GateHouse, it will inevitably lead us into shutting down. Our company already has financial issues. We need the advertising.
Yet according to my boss, this could be fun. This is competition. It’s a fight over who can win over the Newton readers. I know they are smart enough to realize what the Boston.com site could do to us.
So here is my plea: The reporters and editors at GateHouse are the ones covering local news, going to your meetings, little league games, etc. The Globe might be bigger and more prestigious, but the TAB, etc. are your community paper. Did the Globe print out a list of where the graduating high school seniors were going to college? No. Did they write a story on the grandmother who uses recycled materials to make pieces of art with her grandchildren? No.
You can get national news anywhere. You can’t get local news, especially good local news, just anywhere. If these weekly papers go, that will be it. Think about that.