Truth is, I prefer to think that I have joined the Globe, not purchased it, because great institutions, public and private, have stewards, not owners. Stewardship carries obligations and responsibilities to citizens first and foremost — not to shareholders. This is especially true for news organizations.
John Henry, a Wall Street investor, owner of the Boston Red Sox explains why he acquired The Boston Globe. It is laudable that another billionaire is buying another newspaper, despite the nagging doubts about the power that comes with confluence of media and money. The Globe, might become a weapon in Henry’s future agenda, much like The Washington Post which too will carry the water for its new billionaire owner.
Despite all those doubts I feel it is important that there is a hometown paper, which practices the fine art of enterprise reporting and has an owner who supports such journalism.
I see it in our backyard every day and feel the urgent need for such a local news presence. We have a hometown newspaper — The San Francisco Chronicle — but has been on the ropes for too long to bring about any meaningful change in our city.
We have a Mayor (Ed Lee) on whose watch we are seeing the biggest boom in technology. And yet, the civic services in the city are falling behind. The roads are shambles. Traffic jams are on an increase. There isn’t any clarity on how city’s expansion is going to impact traffic, living conditions and diversity in the city. Our mayor is busy kowtowing to his technology masters, but has no plans. The reason we don’t get any change is because we don’t have a local newspaper of heft and authority. Our independent papers are doing the best they can, but boy they don’t have the money or funds to do this consistently. (Maybe one of the more civic minded tech billionaires, say someone such as Evan Williams, should consider SF Chronicle as an acquisition target.)
Henry’s ownership despite an agenda, will help the citizens of New England, so from that standpoint, more power to him. Of course, don’t be surprised to see Senator Henry in your future!