NEW YORK -- It’s been a tough few years for large metropolitan daily newspapers, amid layoffs, buyouts and declines in advertising. The Boston Globe, like others, has scaled back and is now up for sale. And while potential suitors are kicking the tires, the paper may only go for around a tenth of the $1.1 billion price tag it fetched 20 years ago.
But the gloomy state of the newspaper industry didn't stop Globe reporters and photographers from springing into action following a pair of deadly explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon.
Brian McGrory, a Globe veteran who became editor just four months ago, told The Huffington Post that the paper’s marathon coverage showed why “metro papers matter.”
“This shows how vital they are when disasters strike,” McGrory said. “The Globe and its website became something like a town square, where people turned for information and they got it."
The Globe pulled down its paywall Monday -– a move McGrory called a “no-brainer” -- and drew 1.2 million unique visitors, which is six times the average, according to a Tuesday morning memo. The paper’s free site, Boston.com, drew five times the average number of unique visitors and triple the number of page views. The memo noted that 4.5 million people viewed the dramatic video made by sports reporter Steve Silva as he ran toward the site of the first explosion.
McGrory praised both Silva and photographer John Tlumacki's "commitment to the craft." Tlumacki snapped a now iconic photo of police scrambling and a runner on the ground near the finish line that landed on front pages around the country Tuesday. It will be the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated.
Tlumacki “captured the photos beamed around the world, the most compelling photos anyone had," McGrory said.
Meanwhile, the Globe's Michael Rezendes was one of over a half-dozen journalists who ran in the marathon before shifting to covering it once the bombs went off.
"It was all hands on deck," McGrory said. "People came back from vacation. People just threw their beats to the wind. Everybody was involved in what was still considered a dangerous situation. It was really quite something to behold."
McGrory happened to be out of town when the explosions went off, but oversaw the marathon coverage remotely and returned to the newsroom on Tuesday.
Going forward on the marathon bombing story, he said, "the entire resources of the Globe will remain behind this."