Generation Y Shuns the Boston Globe

The geek in the middle might glance at the Globe at the library.  No one else does.

The geek in the middle might glance at the Globe at the library. No one else does.

I just completed a completely unscientific poll about the Boston Globe to some of my under the age of 36 colleagues (using Facebook as the communications medium).

I reached out to 12 people – a mix of men and women. They ranged in age from 24 to 36. All of them college educated, living in Greater Boston, and working in communications (from PR consultants to communications managers inside companies). These are media-savvy professionals who I would consider bright, hard working and well-informed.

Here was the question: “Do you subscribe to the Boston Globe or do you visit”

Guess how many them are Globe subscribers?



Not one.

And only half of them visited on a regular basis (at least twice a week). Here were some of their responses:

  • “I enjoy reading the print paper at my in-laws’ house or anywhere else I see it, but visit online from time-to-time. My “local” news feed from Yahoo! often sends me to the site.”
  • “I just visit online! I subscribe to the Local and MA news RSS feeds for iGoogle and check it a couple times each day.”
  • “Just visit online…and not for more than two or three minutes at a time.”
  • “I just read it online, unless I’m visiting my parents, and I’ll read the print version. Basically – I’d rather read the paper then [sic] the online version, but I’m not going to pay for what I can get online for free.”
  • “I get their daily newsletters. I hate”
  • “No subscription to the Globe for me, outside of reading the corporate subscription that we receive here – and that’s really only for sports stories I’m interested in reading during lunch or when client’s are mentioned.”

Notice the references to parents and/or in-laws. The message is clear and consistent. The newspaper is the delivery mechanism of the last generation.

Also notice where these young professionals get their information: the web. And mostly from RSS feeds – getting the news they want delivered directly to their desktops. Notice also how these professional rely on third-party aggregators like Yahoo and Google to deliver the news (news that isn’t created by either Google or Yahoo – yet they get all the benefits from it as if they had).

This is why any rescue plan for the Boston Globe needs to be focused on the web. And even then they need to do a lot of marketing to convince Gen Y that they are relevant and worthy of consideration when it comes to delivering news.

6 Responses to “Generation Y Shuns the Boston Globe”

  1. Good poll…I’d be interested to see a larger sample size (maybe use Tweet poll?). It’s only a matter of time before it’s phased out completely…I asked my cousin (12 years old) a question the other day when I saw the news, “What’s the Boston Globe?” to see what her reaction would be…

    Want to know what I got for an answer? “Like the Harlem Globetrotters? Is it Boston’s Globetrotter team?” As you can imagine, I was shocked.

    I remember everyday at 5:30 a.m. hearing the paper guy pulling up in his station wagon dropping of the daily paper…their generation never have the chance to experience that..EVER!

    Sidenote: she does know what Citizens online banking is and how to use it…..

  2. Hey Scott:

    It would be a worthy poll on a larger scale. Must say it surprised me that even PR people aren’t subscribing to their daily paper. It’s just too easy to get information online than it is wait for a daily delivery.

  3. Completely agree….it’s also an avoidable cost – especially in today’s economy.

  4. There is also more information online. I’ll go to to get the latest info on the Red Sox and Celtics, etc. Their beat writers are blogging from practice, and a lot of what they write doesn’t get published in the Globe the next morning. And, even if it does get included in the paper, it’s already old news by the time anyone reads it.

  5. I’ll visit 4-5 times per week. I haven’t bought or picked up a physical newspaper in years. Personally, I find paper highly inconvenient, especially since I have an iPhone. Paper is out of date by the time it comes off the printing presses, doesn’t allow for comments and sharing and is expensive (compared to the free news on

    I’m actually not surprised by these numbers at all. What’s the point of paying for a paper when you can get a better product online?

    I also think the Globe needs to jack up their prices for their physical paper even more and get on the phone with e-paper companies and find a way to get one advertiser to brand the e-paper so they can make it cheaply or freely available. Paper is old and weak in a digital world.

  6. I just saw this morning on the news that the Globe is jacking up the prices…

    “The Boston Globe said it will raise the newsstand price of the newspaper to $1 from 75 cents in the city zone, and to $1.50 from $1 outside Greater Boston, effective May 4. The newsstand price of the Sunday Globe will rise to $3.50 within Greater Boston and $4 outside the region from $2.50”

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