This past week, The Boston Globe laid out a new plan that included a number of changes to its digital businesses.
First, The Globe launched BetaBostonlast Monday-a new website designed to cover the tech and biotech industries.
“The site builds on our reporting of the extraordinary innovation that is unfolding daily in our region, the deals and the drama, the creativity and the culture,” Globe editor Brian McGrory said in a memo.
Most notably, The Globe made the switch from a full paywall system to a metered model. The Globe launched a paywall site, BostonGlobe.com, in September 2011. Boston.com,however, remained as an independent site with some Globe content. The newly proposed model will allow readers 10 free stories every 30 days before ending the free article previews online. Instead, the program will cut them off and require them to pay for an online subscription.
“The meter is used by most papers now-we are late to that party,” Boston Globe owner John Henry told Boston Magazine. “It’s the least confusing format that allows the world access to your content while still requiring subscriptions from regular users.”
McGrory also announced several additional changes to the business operation in a memo on March 4. McGrory wrote that Boston.com will no longer display any content from The Globe, leaving Boston.com responsible for its own information. In addition to this, all Boston.com staff will be move out of The Globe‘s newsroom and into the building’s media lab area.
Although the two sites are parting ways, the move is designed to promote a wider variety of news in the city of Boston, with no major overlaps between each other.
“The intention over the next many weeks is to move all Globe-originated content-staff blogs, chats, videos, and more-to bg.com, where it can be widely read by a larger audience not hindered by a paywall,” McGrory wrote in his memo. “This will allow bg.com to reflect the full, vibrant, lively personality of this entire room. At the same time, boston.com will remain a news site at its core, but with a sharper voice that better captures the sensibilities of Boston.”
In addition to the technical changes, there were also a number of staffing changes to the organization. BetaBoston hired Mike Dennis Keohane from a startup site called VentureFizz and Kyle Alspach from The Boston Business Journal.
The combination of Keohane and Alspach is “a combination of young, savvy, semi-frantic reporters and editors who are as connected to this community as they are smart about what it does,” McGrory said. “It only gets better when you factor in Globebusiness reporter Cal Borchers, who we embedded in Kendall last summer.”
Two of the people previously responsible for operating Boston.com no longer hold their current positions. Ron Agrella, the editor of Boston.com, will leave his role on Morrissey Boulevard, according to McGrory.
Bennie DiNardo, who had run The Globe’s deputy managing editor for digital as well as numerous other responsibilities with Boston.com,is moving over to the paper’s business section.
“We are going to revitalize and re-launch a completely different website with a new format, differentiated from BostonGlobe.com’s content and a dedicated staff, Henry told Boston Magazine.“The work has really just begun in earnest.”
In order to fill some of the vacant positions, Henry made some key acquisitions. Most notable was the decision to appoint Hilary Sargent to news editor of Boston.com. Sargent will be working to make sure that there will be no overlap between the two websites, McGrory wrote.
Although Sargent promises to bring some improvements to Boston.com, the website still lacks a current editor since the departure of Ron Agrella. The Globe is currently searching for someone to fill the role as editor of Boston.com.