Home » ILM East, Online/Interactive, Social

ILM East: Social Innovation in Local Media

By: 26 March 2012

Two leading digital executives from the Boston Globe shared some of the innovative ways the newspaper is using social media to connect with Boston consumers and extend the newspaper’s relevance in the community.

Lisa DeSisto, chief advertising officer/GM of Boston.com, described how the Globe has divided is online product approach between the established Boston.com, one of the earliest successful city guides, and the new BostonGlobe.com, which is focused on premium (read paid) content. Unlimited digital access is $14.95 per month. For $14, you get digital plus the Sunday print edition. This provides some incentive to take the Sunday paper, which still carries a mother lode of ads. The new online edition was launched last fall and now has about 16,000 subscribers.

DeSisto said the decisions 16 years ago to avoid the Globe brand with Boston.com turned out to be a particularly good one, since it enabled it to come to market with two distinct online products.

Jeff Moriarty, VP, digital products, Boston Globe, described how the Globe’s Media Lab serves as an “ecosystem for innovation” for the newspaper. To bolster the spirit of innovation, the newspapers lends out space in the lab to start ups, roughly eight companies are operating there now. “The more smart people in the room, the better,” Moriarty says.

Twitter is key to how the Globe uses social media.

“Twitter has gone through the roof,” Moriarty said. “Our newsroom is truly real time. A story starts as a tweet, goes to a blog post and ends up in print.”

Some of the new social products that the Globe is experimenting with include a new service that Moriarty describes as a Twitter for events. Another service called Pulse does sentiment analysis around all the chatter what is flowing through Twitter or Facebook about everything Boston, included all of its rabidly followed sports teams.


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