The Boston Globe is converting its empty office space “into a public community space,” reports Christine Haughney in The New York Times (1/21/13). “While most newspapers lack cash, employees and a clear strategy for finding greater profit in the digital age, they do not lack for office space.” Recognizing this, Boston Globe publisher Christopher M. Mayer is “bringing in start-up technology companies” as well as local bands to perform live for its internet station RadioBDC “and special events like the programming code marathon it held for technology enthusiasts.”
As Christopher explains: “I have a building here that we can use for a variety of things. Bringing bands in, bringing events here, it reminds us and folks in the community what we do.” The first step was to move the Globe‘s “digital team to the unused space about 18 months ago,” and then invite various start-ups to join them. No money is exchanged in the arrangements but the paper hopes to find “synergistic opportunities with some of the fledgling companies.” The Globe has, in fact, hired some of its tenants for special projects.
“The only cost is we’re trying to find ways to work together,” says Jeff Moriarty, the Globe‘s vp of digital products. The benefit is that the formerly empty space is now a hive of activity, which is attractive to some Globe reporters. “It makes us look like a tech company,” says Shirley Leung, the paper’s business editor. The space has also attracted ABC-TV’s Terminales, a show “about a young reporter.” The made-for-TV “version of what a newsroom should be” had its own positive effect on the space. According to entertainment reporter Meredith Goldstein: “Everything got nicer.”