You probably remember the Boston Evening Transcript from T.S. Eliot.
That is, if you are old enough to have had Eliot on a reading list.
The Transcript expired in 1938.
Like many other metropolises in America Boston once had many newspapers.
Until last week it had three. Of course, the Christian Science Monitor--which was shuttered in its print edition a week ago Friday--was not actually a local paper. Founded in 1908 by Mary Baker Eddy, the Monitor was in Boston because that's where the "mother church" was. In the old days, many intelligent people who did not believe in Mrs. Eddy's theology nonetheless read the Monitor for its calming view of the world. Not, mind you, soporific...but not hysterical either. I used to know three or four individuals who took the Monitor, which came out five days a week, from Monday to Friday, regularly. They were older folk, all Protestant, all Willkie Republicans, which tells you about the world from which they came so long ago. I know no one who gets the Monitor now. Maybe it will make a demography on the web which is the purgatory it has chosen for itself.
So there are still two newspapers in Boston. That is more than Seattle and Denver and more than many other metropolises.
For years, it was the Boston Herald which was expected to expire. The last time I looked it was thin but still there. I also know no one who I know takes the Herald.
So we come to the Globe. It is Boston's liberal newspaper, geared to the suburbans who do not think that America is really a wonderful country but (up to the recent discombobulations) were content in their wonderful lives. They are folk who are highly self-conscious about the ethics of others. And they do read. But the number of them who read newspapers is fast declining. You know all of the bromides about why the printed press is fast expiring.
Today, it is reported in the Boston Globe, that the New York Times Company which owns it, has put the paper under the gun. "Get rid of some more employees...or else." I don't blame the Times which, though family controlled, is a public company with shareholders who thought they had invested in a growing enterprise. Silly, I suppose. Nonetheless, true. The companies also has loans out with usurious interest, one at 14%. Maybe the Times can find a Muslim bank to lend it money. After all, Muslim banks don't exactly charge interest. And the Times and the Globe do have a very friendly politics, even to very angry Muslim politics.
The several unions that represent the Globe will, of course, crumble. They have no alternative if they want to save some of their members' jobs. Moreover, the bare truth is that newspaper unions are deeply responsible--though certainly not as much as the owners--for the fact that the whole industry lags behind technology and enshrines the past in the present.
Firing dozens of people and allowing some technical innovations will save the Globe. But the Globe will get thinner and thinner, both in heft and the depth of its editorial content.
One reason the Globe is losing readers is that the paper itself is so full of cliches and stereotypes that truly intelligent readers have no reason to read it. You can get the same cliches and stereotypes in the Times...but still with much added value that the Globe never had.