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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 owned by Boston billionaire John Henry, who bought it in 2013. It 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 had a newsroom of about 360 in 2014.
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 September 2013, the paper had 45,000 digital-only subscribers, and it had “nearly 60,000” in early 2014. 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. In 2014, the paper announced plans to turn BostonGlobe.com’s paywall into a metered model and turn Boston.com into a mobile-focused site. The shift also involved completely separating content between the two sites and moving Boston.com staff to a separate office.
The Globe launched a subscription-based iPhone app in 2013. At launch, the app cost $3.99 per month.
The Globe was founded in 1872 and run by the Taylor family from 1873 to 1993, when it was acquired by The New York Times Co., for about $1.1 billion. The Times sold the paper to John Henry, a local billionaire and owner of the Boston Red Sox, in 2013 for just $70 million. Like many other major newspapers, the Globe lost much of its circulation and profitability while it was owned by the Times Co.
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. It was printing the Herald’s entire press run by 2013.
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 lab launched 61Fresh, a Twitter-powered local news aggregator, in 2013. 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 runs a hyperlocal network called Your Town but laid off all of its remaining correspondents in 2014.
The Globe began a partnership with MIT’s Center for Civic Media in 2012.
Backfence was a network of user-driven hyperlocal news sites that launched in 2005 and closed in 2007. Backfence was founded in 2005 by Mark Potts and Susan DeFife with five staff members and two community sites in the Washington, D.C., area. It raised $3 million in local and national investment and eventually expanded to 13…