Monday, April 14, 2008

BostonNOW Is Now Gone Due To Krumbling Krona

The free daily newspaper BostonNOW has now folded, according to a report in the Boston Herald and a subsequent story in the Associate Press.

The original concept of the newspaper included seamless merging of blog content. In reality, very little original blog content was included -- and that process was far from from seamless.

The worst part of the way BostonNOW designed the blog content was that they required all blogs to be created on their website, rather than through a hyperlinking method to the blog's own website. All that blog content across the web couldn't be used unless the blogger created a duplicate blog over at BostonNOW. With the paper's demise, people who created blogs from scratch on the paper's website (yeah, both of those guys), may now risk losing all their old content. I once, nonetheless, created a blog there using their useful tool -- a single button that would import all of the postings from an existing blogger blog elsewhere on the web -- but haven't bothered with that parallel blog ever since.

My first experience with a BostonNOW reporter wasn't awful. He was writing a story duplicating my blog post on possible alternative uses for three houses now owned by Boston College. Why couldn't they just run my blog post instead? Wasn't that the idea for the newspaper's blog content? Also, since they were reporting on the possibly historic nature of the houses, why couldn't they look up that they are all three listed on the National Register of Historic Places? Anyway, the experience could've been worse.

The newspaper carries a high opinion of itself, as evidenced by its press release posted over at the Boston Phoenix's "Media Log" blog:
BostonNOW’s editorial content, especially its strong local reporting, has been picked up dozens of times by Boston’s paid dailies and TV outlets. The Economist magazine lauded BostonNOW in January as one of the finest free dailies in the United States.
I'm not sure the paper's readers -- or those who went to great lengths to avoid being the paper's readers -- would necessarily agree, nor would their vocal critics. To their credit, though, BostonNOW did get the story of the how the MBTA is broke before the Boston Globe did. To their detriment, they ran the story of Senator Barack Obama maybe defeating Senator Hillary Clinton the day after the New Hampshire Democratic primary.

The reason for the paper folding? The owners are in Iceland and have been suffering from a collapsing Icelandic currency relative to the U.S. dollar -- which itself has been collapsing relative to the euro. In short, a krona fire sale on Iceland. I wonder if anyone will produce a kronology of the kollapse? Clearly prone to hyperbole, the paper's press release claims that the Icelandic krona has "has declined over 20% against the dollar since January." Looking at the Wall Street Journal's numbers, however, it looks more like a 15.5% decline to me. (Alternatively stated, the dollar has increased in value by 18.3% relative to the kronar.) Close enough?

Even though it's a free daily, a hard copy of today's paper might actually be worth something on Ebay -- in dollars, not krona, of course.

Best headlines -- although they miss the U/L case for the newspaper's name:
UniversalHub: "Call It Boston Then"
Boston Phoenix Media Log: "Boston Now Is Boston Then"

BostonNOW Hard Hitting Stories Yet to be Written

The online version of BostonNOW has been -- for several months! -- looking for citizen journalists to earn $16 to 40 writing a story for the free daily paper. Here's their ad:

Hmmmm... I wonder. Is March 3rd one of the "best dates"? October 22nd? Or is John Smith the best date? Jane Doe? Maybe they should look at the Phoenix's classifieds?

Oh, I get it now. They mean where to go on a date! Damn, I'm stupid.

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