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Levy to Globe: copy Boston Now!

OK, I admit it--that's not completely fair. Paul Levy, the blogger and Beth Israel Deaconness honcho, has some other suggested tweaks for the Boston Globe, including allowing unmoderated comments on stories and cultivating a 24/7 news operation.

I like those ideas. But I'm not wild about Levy's suggestion that the Globe devote a page or more every day to locally grown blog content. Here's the heart of Levy's pitch:
So, let's say that one or more pages of the Globe daily edition (and of course, the online version, too) were devoted to excerpts from blogs of people who had given permission to be excerpted. Let's say that the Globe paid those people a nominal fee every time an excerpt was used....

Now, let's say that people would be paid in scrip -- let's call it "GlobeCash" -- that could be used for on-line purchasers with advertisers who had either advertised on the online or paper version of the newspaper. Or, let's say people could donate their payment to a charity of their choice. Or maybe advertisers announce that a portion of the proceeds received through GlobeCash will be donated to the Boys and Girls club or -- better yet, to the charity of your choice in your neighborhood....

Imagine the flow of bloggers who would vie to be seen by several hundred thousand viewers every day. Only the Globe has the potential to offer this exposure. Imagine the buzz when you pick my blog excerpt today. What do I do? I immediately post the fact that I have been excerpted, and I direct even more traffic to the Globe. Other bloggers try to write more and more interesting stuff so they can be chosen. An intensely powerful set of positive feedback loops is created. As a blogger, I'm happy. Readers are happy because they are getting the latest news and commentary from a variety of sources. Advertisers are happy because they are getting eyes, clicks, and feel-good PR because of their charitable contributions.

[W]hat is really happening here? All of sudden, regardless of actual ownership, this is now our newspaper. You have given me a reason to check in, to participate, to feel pride, and to feel a sense that you are relevant to our community in a variety of ways.
Maybe my mistake is thinking like a journalist instead of a reader--but I really question the notion that people read newspapers to get a warm, fuzzy, participatory glow. They read them (at least I do) because they want a timely, authoritative, skilfully packaged mix of information and analysis.

If I could read only one paper every day, it would be the New York Times--not because the Times makes me feel valued or relevant or connected to my local community, but because the content is so good. No direspect to the Globe, but I think I'd feel that way even if the paper implemented Levy's plan.

Dan Kennedy has a very different take.

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