Boston NOW Doesn’t Justify the Paper Waste

April 25, 2007

Boston NOW is supposed to be a new kind of newspaper that has lots of user-contributed content and focuses on local news and issues. Maybe that will come, but right now, they’re a disaster.

Last week’s inaugural issue sported a high dose of Associated Press wires (albeit state and local) and grammatical errors. Editorial placement was haphazard and rather conventional where it wasn’t unprofessional. In the first week, content was stolen from another publication. Sections in the first issue were, in order:

  • Inbound (A weird page 2 featuring only two of what I’m sure are many health code violators in Boston, a blurb titled, “Cat Adopts Mouse”, and a murky reprint of “our first reader photo” taken with a camera that has “7.2 megapixles [sic]”. )
  • Local (with a brief, quiet, off-center introduction to the paper – an attempt at a “soft launch”?)
  • Business
  • Nation
  • World
  • Sports
  • Dialogue (with content generated by ordinary users like Daniel Schorr and Alan Dershowitz)
  • Novelette
  • Entertainment

I went to the Web site tonight:

Welcome to the brand new BostonNOW website.

It’s not completely done (you’ll notice that some tabs don’t have any content yet), but we figured it was better to give you some of the cool stuff we’re doing than wait until the site is perfect (which, of course, it never will be).

You’ll also notice that we aren’t ready yet for bloggers. We’re still building the WordPress functionality into our site but we’re really, really close. By the end of the week, if not sooner, we hope to give Boston bloggers a platform for exposure to hundreds of thousands of readers a day.

Thank you for your patience. We hope you enjoy some of the multi-media we posted tonight. Also, take advantage of the comment areas for all our stories to let us know what you think.

It’s not Agile Development, but something closer to what my friend and commenter Phil calls “the reality of startups” (see his comment on the Agile Dev post) which can be summed up as ‘get something out there soon and tweak later’. Ah, but there are nuances that NOW has clearly missed.

I can’t help but gloat just a little… the idea of another free paper eating up trees and clogging up train tracks just gets me. If they want to promote collaborative writing, why not collaborative reading? I assume that press runs are how they claim readership for advertisers. Find a different way to do that, print fewer papers, and provide places near but not in subway stations (assuming the MBTA shares the Washington Metro’s view that recycle bins are terrorist threats) for people to leave the paper when they’re done reading it.

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One Response to “Boston NOW Doesn’t Justify the Paper Waste”

  1. tartinegourmande Says:

    oh yes, I could not agree more. I have not yet looked at this site too often, and this obviously does not press me to do so!


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