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The Boston Globe is a leading U.S. metro newspaper and the oldest and largest daily in Boston.
The Globe is renowned in particular for its sports journalism, and in the early 2000s, the paper played a key role in exposing the sexual abuse scandal among Boston-area Catholic priests. The paper’s investigative unit, the Boston Globe Spotlight Team, has earned three of the paper’s more than 20 Pulitzer Prizes.
The Globe’s primary website, Boston.com, is the largest regional news site in the United States and the seventh-most popular newspaper website overall. It was one of the first newspapers to develop a local search tool, and its popular photoblog The Big Picture has been recognized as an innovative online photojournalism project.
In September 2011, the Globe launched a second site, BostonGlobe.com, to run as a paid site alongside the free Boston.com. Boston.com includes breaking news, blogs, sports, and local information (including sports ticket sales), while BostonGlobe.com provides more in-depth journalism and feature reporting, along with much of the content from the newspaper’s print edition. BostonGlobe.com features responsive design for various screen sizes, initially allowing the Globe to avoid producing a separate app for the site.
As of April 2013, the paper had 32,000 digital subscribers. In 2012, the paper cut the amount of social sharing allowed of BostonGlobe.com content and further limited content available for free on Boston.com, and in 2013, the paper made more attempts to separate the sites. The Globe dropped the paywall on BostonGlobe.com for a week in 2013 following the Boston Marathon bombing.
The Globe was founded in 1872 and run by the Taylor family from 1873 to 1993, when it was acquired by its current owner, The New York Times Co., for about $1.1 billion. Like many other major newspapers, the Globe has lost much of its circulation and profitability since it was purchased by the Times Co. The Times has flirted with selling the Globe several times, most recently when it announced it would attempt to sell the paper in 2013.
In April 2009, faced with a projected $85 million yearly loss on the paper, the Times Co. threatened to close the Globe unless the paper’s unions agreed to $20 million in concessions. By July, all of the unions had agreed to $10 million in cuts, including pay and benefit reductions, ending the threat of closure. The Globe began printing and delivering its rival paper, the Boston Herald, in 2012.
In April 2011, the Globe reported that a local businessman was preparing a bid to purchase the paper, but then-Times Co. CEO Janet Robinson said in May that the Globe was not for sale. The Times Co. has previously put the Globe up for sale in June 2009, at a point when the newspaper’s value was not considered to be very high. The Times received two bids for the paper — including one from former Globe executive and Taylor family member Stephen Taylor — as well as interest from a local group that proposed turning the Globe into a nonprofit organization. In October 2009, the Times Co. decided not to sell.
Later in 2009, the Globe launched GlobeReader, a downloadable electronic edition of the paper, for $3.50 per week and free to newspaper subscribers. (GlobeReader had been available for free online since June 2009.)
In December 2008, the newspaper chain GateHouse Media sued the Times Co. for violating copyright and trademark law by aggregating content on the Globe’s local network of sites from GateHouse’s local websites in the same area. The two companies settled out of court in January 2009.
In 2010, the newspaper launched Beta.Boston.com, a test lab showcasing work by Globe staffers as well as Globe partners. The paper also runs a live web sports show on Boston.com, plans to run an online streaming radio station, and it has talked about plans to sell domain names, seeking ownership of its own top-level domains. It began using advertiser-written or advertiser-sponsored material on its website in 2012.
The Globe began a partnership with MIT’s Center for Civic Media in 2012.
OpenFile was a user-driven local news site based in Toronto, with affiliates in five other Canadian cities, Montréal, Calgary, Ottawa, and Vancouver, and Halifax. OpenFile was founded by Canadian journalist Wilf Dinnick in May 2010. The site relied on users to direct its news coverage, inviting them to start a “file” (the site’s founders chose the term to…