Boston Online – – Interview

Boston Online (The Fix)

An interview with Scott Kirsner
by Kerry Joyce

Information revolutions being what they are, The Boston Globe can’t grow trees fast enough to keep up with their ever-growing ability and appetite for expanded coverage.

Fortunately, for many of the woodland creatures cavorting in and around trailer parks up in Maine, the Globe has decided to get their fix electronically, via a multi-million dollar Death Star Web page. When Scott Kirsner, “Content Wrangler” for The Globe‘s new cyber-sphere, asked Lollipop if we could provide music reviews and other articles for the college/youth section called The Fix, we coyly replied: “Yes, yes! Oh God, Yes!”

After sending everything we could muster on over, we sat down with Scott and asked him a few questions about The Globe‘s venture into cyber space.

What can we expect to find when accessing The Boston Globe‘s Web page, Boston.Com, specifically on The Fix where Lollipop articles appear?
In addition to reviews from Lollipop and other local music ‘zines, The Fix has club and events listings, the T.V. Times, and some campus publications. The Boston Book Review contributes articles, as well, including an interview with Norman Mailer by Harvey Blume. There is a cool map of Boston that leads to info about clubs, theatres, and restaurants, and information of particular interest to college students, such as places to rent a car if you’re under 25, and a used clothing store guide.

We’ve published an excellent overview of college radio stations. One interesting feature is an on-line battle of the bands, where people can download sound clips from a couple of local bands, vote for their favorite and instantly see the results.

Did the article on the college radio stations appear in any Boston Globe newspaper editions?
No. We have a lot of Web exclusive stuff on there.

Is there any other daily newspaper with its own Web page?
Yes. There are a bunch. NandO, the Web site for The News And Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, was one of the first good newspaper Web sites, also The San Jose Mercury News. They charge for access to it now, which probably represents the future of the Internet.

Do you hope to attract more readership to the print version of The Globe by promoting it on the Internet with this Web page?
No, which is a liberating thing in our view. The vision is really electronic. The feeling is that if the readership is going to bleed away from print to electronic media, with Boston.Com, it will bleed away to us.

Is there any perception by people already on the Net that The Boston Globe is somewhat of a bully on the block in getting on the Internet on such a large scale?
Not really. Some people have said that as a newspaper, we don’t belong on the Internet, but The Boston Globe is a facory of news gathering. A couple of people in a basement at M.I.T. can’t match that capability.

How will the Boston Globe‘s Web site change over the next two years?
I don’t think anyone knows. Two years is a long time. The technology is changing so quickly, it’s like two dog years. There are a lot of ideas and suggestions. We’d like to move toward real time news; reporting it as it happens. And to have on-line discussion groups.

Similar to talk radio.
Yes. We’d also like to foster a lot more feedback to stories and columns in The Globe with e-mail.

How are you promoting Boston.Com?
Well, we place a lot of ads in The Globe, including ads for The Fix. We’ve established links with other web pages, and Boston.Com is listed on the well-known search-engines.

Has there been any public outcry resulting from The Globe affiliating itself with Lollipop on The Fix, that we could possibly milk for some cheap publicity?