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Key links:
Primary website:
bostonglobe.com
Primary Twitter:
@BostonUpdate

Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

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.

The Times Co. had 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. 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 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.

Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
Oct. 1, 2019 / Christine Schmidt
“So where are we?”: A McClatchy newspaper is raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support its education reporting — Local philanthropy dollars are seeping into local journalism — even into commercial outlets, operating in the traditional market where advertising has dropped so quickly that subscriptions can’t yet (if ever) cat...
Aug. 21, 2019 / Christine Schmidt
The Boston Globe continues its regional expansion experiment, with students in a suburb — Earlier this summer, The Boston Globe officially launched its new section focused on Rhode Island after poaching three veteran reporters there. “This is in many ways kind of a digital-age version of what we did man...
June 5, 2019 / Christine Schmidt
The Boston Globe’s move into Rhode Island is a bet that the last newspapers standing will have a bigger footprint — The Boston Globe, the first local newspaper to have more digital subscribers than print, is now investing in more local coverage. In Rhode Island. After past investments in covering marijuana, the Catholic Church, and he...
Feb. 22, 2019 / Ken Doctor
The New York Times’ Mark Thompson on how he’d run a local newspaper: “Where can we stand and fight?” — What would New York Times CEO Mark Thompson do if he ran Gannett? How much does he attribute the Times’ accumulation of millions of digital subscribers to the journalism produced by its burgeoning newsroom? Does th...
Nov. 19, 2018 / Joshua Benton
The Boston Globe seeks a contact high from the spread of marijuana legalization — Looking for an area of growth in news media — often in local news media, that most challenged of sectors? Follow your nose to what has become a true boom in marijuana coverage. With legalization in Colorado came a numb...

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Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: April 17, 2014.
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