Boston Proper, Err Paper

Competition in the news business can never be a bad thing right?

Well, news of a second free tabloid-style daily paper in Boston broke today in Steve Bailey’s “Downtown” column. Bailey reports that Russel Pergament, who started Metro Boston six years ago, is back in the Hub with plans to launch a Metro Boston competitor called Boston Now. Bailey writes that Pergament hopes to replicate this effort in eight to 10 U.S. cities within the next few years.

In so doing, Pergament will be duking it out with Stuart Layne, the Metro’s publisher. Layne, one of the true gentlemen in the news communications business, assumed the reins of the Metro last fall. Layne formerly ran his own sports marketing firm and also headed up marketing for the Boston Celtics and Seattle Mariners in previous lives. He’s a native New Yorker and die-hard Yankees fan, but that doesn’t necessarily make Layne a bad guy. And in fact, as any good marketing guy would admit, Layne has acknowledged what a great job the Red Sox have done in building their brand and marketing their product – locally, nationally and now (thanks to Dice-K) internationally. Given his baseball loyalties, however, one wonders if the Metro-Boston Now rivalry will one day be the newspaper equivalent of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.

Finally, did anyone else who read Bailey’s column this morning pick up on the irony of Bailey’s and Pergament’s commentary relative to local news? Bailey wrote…(“Pergament promises a paper that will emphasize staff-written local news. That has certainly not been the track record of these McPapers, which are loaded with wire-service stories.” Pergament was quoted saying: “Our commitment is local . . . We are going to break some news. It is not going to be just watered down wire copy.”

Interesting stuff. So, just for kicks, let’s take a look at the very pages of this morning’s Globe business section and let’s do a quick count of its stories……including the Bailey column there were five staff-written stories with local angles compared to 12 wire stories of national or international import. Hmmm. Want some fries with your Boston Globe this morning?


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