Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Newsonomics: The New York Times restarts its new-product model, in Spanish
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
May 2, 2012, 1:02 p.m.

Yesterday The Boston Globe ended all your tomorrows

In adjusting its style guide to use calendar days instead of “yesterday,” “today,” or “tomorrow,” the Globe is trying to adapt to the pace of online news.

The Boston Globe has killed yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

In an announcement on BostonGlobe.com’s Insiders blog, Charles Mansbach, the Globe’s Page 1 editor, says the paper is doing away with the convention of using those terms in stories. Instead they’ll start using the day on the week. So instead of seeing a Thursday story noting the Red Sox start a series with the Orioles “tomorrow,” it’ll say the series starts “Friday.” This shouldn’t be surprising, but it is a break — and an official one — with decades of practice at many newspapers.

The reason? Times (pun intended) have changed. Mansbach explains:

The reason for the change is that articles are no longer written only for the newspaper. Breaking news is posted immediately on the Globe’s websites; stories are then fleshed out, posted again, then put into the process for the next day’s paper and the next day’s web entries. With all that traffic, a reliance on “yesterday, “today,” and “tomorrow” is an invitation for error.

The Globe’s decision is part of an ongoing discussion inside and outside newsrooms about how to adjust phrasing in news to meet the needs of an evolved news cycle. Like the Globe, a number of papers have changed house style to only use the days of the week, while others use different terminology online and in print.

There is one exception to the new rule: print headlines. “Today” remains the basic unit of news urgency, especially online. “Today” is the equivalent of “now,” as in “you should be reading this because it’s happening within the context of your day.” Mansbach said the we should expect to still see things like “Crucial vote on debt limit today.” As he puts it: “We suspect that “Crucial vote on debt limit Wednesday” would not rivet anyone’s attention.”

[Editor’s note: This story originally included this line: “Yesterday and tomorrow are almost meaningless in an era when someone could discover an article through search or social two weeks or eight months after its first published.” While that’s true, as Noam Cohen points out in the comments, we shouldn’t have said it was the reason for the Globe’s change. As the Mansbach quote above states, the key issue is that stories are often published on the web and in print on different days — not that an online story can have a theoretically infinite lifespan. Sorry.]

POSTED     May 2, 2012, 1:02 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Newsonomics: The New York Times restarts its new-product model, in Spanish
After a few expensive misfires, the Times is building new products on a smaller, more targeted scale.
En Español: The New York Times launches a Spanish-language news site aiming south of the border
The New York Times en Español is the Times’ latest attempt to grow its audience internationally.
The New York Times’ new Slack 2016 election bot sends readers’ questions straight to the newsroom
“Instead of asking you to come to us and be part of this massive room of people shouting over each other, you can bring us to you, and have us be, essentially, one more person in your conversation.”
What to read next
0
tweets
Out of many, NPR One: The app that wants to be the “Netflix of listening” gets more local
A big update moves NPR One yet another step in the direction of becoming a one-stop shop for all audio content, from local newscasts to podcasts outside the NPR world.
0Need to find, keep, and maximize talent today? Look to an old-school example, Gene Roberts
“Virtually every hire should be part of a long-range master plan of journalistic excellence.”
0The New York Times and WBUR are bringing ‘Modern Love’ essays to life with sounds and celebrity reads
“We’re trying to touch people just through sound, in a really profound way.”
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Austin American-Statesman
Honolulu Civil Beat
McClatchy
Gannett
NewsTilt
BuzzFeed
Chicago Tribune
Davis Wiki
OpenFile
Financial Times
IRE/NICAR
The Chronicle of Higher Education