Could the Future of Online News Be… Relevant Content?

John Yemma, Editor of The Christian Science Monitor, thinks so.

There is no future in a paywall. No salvation in digital razzle dazzle.

There is, however, a bold future in relevant content.

Universal Adam highlights the CSM’s success with online-centric publishing. Back to John for an explanation of what that means.

A year ago, we ceased publishing the daily, 100-year-old Christian Science Monitor newspaper and launched a weekly magazine to complement our website, on which we doubled down by reorienting our newsroom to be web-first. Our web traffic climbed from 6 million page views last April to 13 million in February. Our print circulation rose from 43,000 to 77,000 in the same period.

No-one is claiming that CSM has solved the problems facing the media. John remarks that the newsroom is still “evolving.” What works for the CSM may not work elsewhere: CSM has the support of the church, whereas other publications have the support of, say, Rupert Murdoch.

But CSM has taken a bold step (as bold as Intel’s when it got out of memory chips to concentrate on processors?), and the limited and early indications we can see are positive. I recommend reading John Yemma’s piece in full.

Hanging on to the Hub

Having left Boston, do I still need the Globe? I certainly value some of its content. But I no longer need to visit the paper’s main page frequently.

I’ll follow links to Globe content from various places, notably Largehearted Boy and Universal Hub. LHB, a music and lit blog, is based in the deep south (of the USA), but frequently links to Globe content. A recent link goes to an article on collecting music in the age of downloading.

UH is very much a Boston blog, curated by Adam, a former near-neighbor who I never had the pleasure of meeting in real life (although we were in the same room at least once). The most recent post at the time of this writing proclaims today Malls Suck Day at the Globe, on the basis that there are three articles comparing malls to downtowns, with the comparisons being in favor of downtowns. It’s good to see that the Globe isn’t pandering to its mall-based advertisers.

October Poetry

Universal Adam linked to Breathing Hannah’s poetic post about October. Between them, they reminded me of Ted Hughes’ poem “October Dawn.”

A glass half full of wine left out
To the dark heaven all night, by dawn
Has dreamed a premonition
Of ice across its eye as if
The ice-age had begun to heave.

“October Dawn” may well be my favorite poem (with due respect to Hannah, Sylvia, WB, and many other poets). When I looked for it online, Google sent me to Yahoo, and to an answer to a question about the poem’s meaning. It’s a pretty good answer, I’d say, although not the answer; and the Yahoo answers page has the virtue of quoting the poem complete, albeit with line breaks messed up.

Hub of Boston Bloggers Set Loose

Universal Hub is well-named, since it’s the center of the Boston blogosphere. The nut that holds the Hub together is Adam Gaffin. Adam has just lost his day job.

I strongly recommend UH for anyone interested in things Bostonian (or in what I used to call “the greater Cambridge area”), or in how to run a city hub blog. I strongly recommend AG to any media organization looking for talent. In a perfect world wide web, AG would be able to make a living from UH.