The Boston Globe announced this week that it will launch separate paid and free editions on the web. I thought that in recent history, the paper’s parent company tried this strategy, and it didn’t work, but I guess that’s in the past.
Way back when, Boston was a print paper town.
Al Murphy, who grew up in Savin Hill, Dorchester, many years ago worked as a lawyer for the Boston Post. He recalls the newspapers of his hometown in Not So Long Ago: Oral Histories of Older Bostonians, collected by Lawrence Elle in 1980.
Nobody reads newspapers like people in Boston. I don’t care, you go to Hartford, Connecticut, you go to any city where they got a newspaper–if you asked “Where can I get a paper?” they’d say go to a hotel or go to the railroad station. But in Boston, tehy were everywhere: in front of Filene’s, in the streets in Dorchester, all over, the kids were yelling “Globe, Post, American!” Then there was the Christrian Science Monitor, right here in Boston, probably one of the greatest newspapers in the world. All of these newspapers were in Boston. People in Boston read newspapers. That’s why I think this is the most educated city in the country. You could meet somebody on Dover street and they’d mention something and say, “I read it in the paper today.” You can’t say that about any other town. You go anyplace, they don’t read newspapers. That’s why Boston had those, how many did I say, those five papers in 1928. They had the Journal-American, they had the Globe, the Traveller, the Monitor and the leading paper was the Boston Post. And they all made money.
Now the Post was the “official” newspaper. Every birth, death an’ marriage at that time had to be recorded in a newspaper. You couldn’t get married unless it was listed. I guess that’s been done away with, but it was a pleasure to work as a lawyer for the Post because it had the covered. We broke the Ponzi case and we had Eddie Dunn, probably the best newspaperman in the City of Boston. That’s why the Post was so highly regarded. It was the fourth leading morning newspaper in the country. It was the breakfast paper. You’d get up in the morning and the first thing you did was “reach for the Boston Post.“
After more than a hundred years, the Post folded in 1956.