The day the Globe jumped the shark

Despite the endless buyouts, the foreign bureaus’ closure, the consolidation of the regional sections, the threat of liquidation, and manifold other insults and injuries, the Globe is still a must-read for anyone who wants to know what’s going on in Boston.

But—let’s be honest—the pressure of morphing from a venerable broadsheet (for whom I once wrote) into a new media operation may be taking its toll.

A while back, I was consulting for a client that held a major news event. We’d plotted for months about how best to win opinion leaders’ attention—and earning a coveted spot in the Globe was high on our list. Of course, with fewer reporters and column-inches to go around these days, it’s challenging to entice them. The event came and went, and we were delighted to see some TV crews, some regional dailies—but alas, no Globies. So imagine my surprise the next morning when we’d garnered plum coverage…based entirely off a press release I’d sent that afternoon.

Writing from press releases (or even reprinting them in their entirety) is standard fare in local weeklies—and rightly so, because the mission of a community paper is to keep residents informed about neighborhood goings-on, not to produce scathing exposes of the garden club’s inflated membership claims.

The Globe—New England’s Paper of Record—was supposed to be different, with stringent standards, a skeptical worldview, and an armada of fact-checkers. But given today’s incessant pressure to blog and tweet every five minutes, it’s perhaps not surprising that even the best reporters are now cutting corners.

The upshot of these diminished standards? Blast out your press releases early and often—you might just make it above the fold.

Dorie Clark is president of Clark Strategic Communications. She can be reached at www.dorieclark.com .

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