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Imagining a Taylor-owned Globe

Big Boston-media development: in today's Globe, Beth Healy reports that former Globe publisher Ben Taylor has backed his cousin Steve's bid to purchase the paper their family owned for more than a century.

As I noted in this week's Phoenix, employees of the Boston Globe's newsroom are surprisingly willing to forgive and forget the acrimony that followed the New York Times Co.'s concede-or-close ultimatum to the paper's unions earlier this year.

But while most people I spoke with seemed to regard continued Times Co. ownership as a best-case (or possible best-case) scenario, that sentiment wasn't universal. One person in particular seemed far more eager to see a sale to Steve Taylor's group, stating:

If it was the Times Co. versus the Taylors, of course we'd all be pulling for the Taylors. I came on board [shortly after the sale], and the Taylor influence was still very strong. It felt much more like a destination paper; people wanted to come work here. It's a really different place now.

The million-dollar question, obviously, is whether the paper felt different in the mid-nineties because the Taylor influence was still fresh--or if, instead, it felt different because the realities of the newspaper business were so different back then.

If Steve Taylor's bid does win out, he's going to be blessed--and burdened--with awfully high expectations.Watching how those expectations jibe with reality would be a fascinating exercise.

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