Friday, January 30, 2009

Globe Moves Brighton to Newton to Appease GateHouse

Last night, the Board of the Boston Redevelopment Authority approved Boston College's 10-year Institutional Master Plan, despite objections from Brighton neighbors.

In a head-scratching move, the Boston Globe published the story online in their YourTown Newton website, even though the BRA's decision only impacts development of BC's property owned in Boston, not Newton.

Brighton just became a mini-battlefield in the conflict between the New York Times Company, owner of the Boston Globe, and GateHouse Media, which runs the WickedLocal sites and well over 100 community newspapers in New England.

The Times and GateHouse recently settled a lawsuit by the latter alleging that the Globe violated fair use practices through aggregation of GateHouse stories onto the Globe's new YourTown websites. Evidence in support of GateHouse's allegations were the large number of GateHouse stories that at times appeared on the Globe YourTown websites alongside very little originally Globe content.

In the settlement, the Times appears to have agreed to change from an automated aggregation format -- where GateHouse story titles and ledes were automatically inserted onto the YourTown webpages -- to a curated aggregation format more akin to blogging, where a short, human-written description accompanies the link to GateHouse content.

By putting a Brighton story into the YourTown Newton, the Globe appears to be trying to beef up the quantity of Globe content on their YourTown Newton website, probably so that it doesn't appear to be so heavily dominant on a competing newspaper's content.

The Boston Globe's City Weekly has regularly covered the debate between the university, neighborhood, and the City of Boston over proposed dormitories and athletic stadiums for the university's new Brighton Campus (the former St. John's Seminary site purchased from the Archdiocese of Boston in 2004-7), but, as far as I can remember, has done so by categorizing the stories with Brighton, not Newton, bylines. Nothing in today's story described how the process will impact Newton, which has its own project-by-project approval process -- as opposed to the master planning process found in Boston. The advance story was solely located on the YourTown Newton website, while another advance story on the BRA's BC Task Force was on the website. The story linked to from Friday's online Globe itself was then separately categorized in the higher education category.


will the thrill said...

Doesn't the Master Plan include buildings on middle campus that are within the Chestbut Hill portion of Newton?

Michael Pahre said...

BC's internal master plan does, but the BRA Board has no authority over approving or rejecting anything constructed in Newton. The BRA only approved a master plan including those projects that are located in Boston.