Will the Globe survive?

By ADAM REILLY  |  April 30, 2009

Also noteworthy: Boston Globe Magazine writer Charlie Pierce's irate take on the way the paper's crisis has been covered by the Herald, which has combined strong reporting with gleeful malice. (That day's Herald offered 10 suggestions for saving the Globe. Here's number seven: "Persuade Legislature to mandate all fish must be wrapped in Metro section.") "I've never been more embarrassed by the time I spent at the Herald [as a sportswriter] than I have been in the last two weeks," Pierce later told me. ("I guess tough coverage is only okay if the Globe happens to be the paper dishing it out," replies a long-time Herald employee, calling the Globe's coverage of the Herald's 1982 near-demise "a relentless barrage the entire town interpreted as a calculated attempt to put us in our grave.")

But back to the rally. Did the organizers really have to enervate the crowd, pre-rally, with slightly funereal marching-band tunes? Or distribute placards to the hundreds in attendance that tried, confusingly, to cast the Globe's survival as a First Amendment issue (SAVE THE GLOBE/PRESERVE FREE SPEECH)? Or to cede control of the podium and the proceedings to speakers like Jeannie Shimkus, a charming 39-year Globe veteran, who explained that she's just not that into the Web ("We want to get the whole story, not the tidbits from the Internet!"), or William McGuinness, editor of the UMass-Amherst Daily Collegian, whose main point seemed to be that if the Globe closes, he'll have one less place to try to get a job?

To be fair, it's not easy to imagine a pro-Globe rally that would really get the adrenaline pumping. And it's equally difficult to imagine any such event actually making a whit of difference to the Times Co. brass in New York. Sulzberger, Robinson, & Co. aren't threatening to close the Globe because they think it doesn't matter to Bostonians. They're threatening to close it because they need to keep their company solvent, and because the Globe is making that job considerably harder.

Still, the net effect of Friday's rally was somewhat depressing. There are all sorts of reasons people want the Globe to live, apparently; some are good, but some aren't. And even the paper's staunchest partisans already seem to be bracing for defeat. Let's hope they're wrong.

To read the "Don't Quote Me" blog, go to thePhoenix.com/medialog. Adam Reilly can be reached atareilly@phx.com.

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