Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
A program in New Jersey is trying to get people to care about local news through community organizing
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.
A program in New Jersey is trying to get people to care about local news through community organizing
Free Press’ News Voices: New Jersey is meant to be “community-driven as opposed to being newsroom-driven.”
Scratch Magazine was profitable, but it’s still shutting down — here’s what its founder learned
Scratch Magazine toed the line between “servicey and intellectual,” cofounder Manjula Martin says. That was one reason the paywalled site didn’t make much money.
Newsonomics: On end games and end times
Can publishers find a sustainable business model this new age of Facebook/Apple/Snapchat/Twitter/Google distributed content? And is local news destined to be left behind?
What to read next
2843
tweets
A blow for mobile advertising: The next version of Safari will let users block ads on iPhones and iPads
Think making money on mobile advertising is hard now? Think how much more difficult it will be with a significant share of your audience is blocking all your ads — all with a simple download from the App Store.
1763For news organizations, this was the most important set of Apple announcements in years
A new Flipboard-clone with massive potential reach, R.I.P. Newsstand, and news stories embedded deeper inside iOS — it was a big day for news on iPhones and iPads.
826Newsonomics: 10 numbers that define the news business today
From video to social, from mobile to paywalls — these data points help define where we are in the “future of news” today, like it or not.
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 ➚
McClatchy
NewsTilt
Tribune Publishing
Voice Media Group
The Bay Citizen
ABC News
The Dish
Daily Mail
Creative Commons
Franklin Center
MediaBugs
Windy Citizen