Newstrack Reflections: Boston.com’s Current State & Potential for Improvement

Tracking Boston.com’s website over the past couple months – observing which news they choose to cover and how to display information, their range of content and how inclusively they report on issues, and comparing their site to other local and national news sources – has urged me to consider the quality and depth of their site.

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Boston.com’s logo (photo: Google Images)

I initially assumed Boston.com was just a lesser version of the Boston Globe, but I’ve realized they deserve more credit, due to the objective of their website: to inform Boston residents specifically. Their content remains exclusively local, while any national news is linked directly to their parent company, the Globe.

However, while their site seems to consistently cover any relevant Boston news, I found their content overall to be brief and uninspired. Rarely do their articles include any form of alternative storytelling, besides an occasional live Twitter stream or picture/video. Secondly, the way their site is set-up, they allow a lot of screen space to be filled with advertisements – sometimes ones that pop-up to cover articles.

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“Trending on Boston Globe” section of Boston.com’s homepage (photo: screenshot)

But Boston.com also has several positive attributes. Their event tab provides an impressive amount of activities happening around the city, and their “Trending on the Globe” section allows readers to read local content, but still connect directly with national and international news all from the Boston.com website.

Because they’re an exclusively online platform, I think Boston.com has the potential to connect with more Boston residents if they take greater advantage of social media platforms and multi-media reporting. Compared to the innovative methods national news sources utilize to report and illustrate their content, Boston.com is at a fairly basic level. If they’re able to develop alternate storytelling within their content and visual displays, their articles would become more intriguing and informative.

Overall, some of my observations of the Globe are summarized in these 5 bullets:

  1. They have a strong dedication to local news and report successfully on information relevant to Boston residents
  2. Their Events tab and connection to the Boston Globe seem to be the two strongest aspects of the website
  3. News reporting rarely strays from traditional text blocks and short article length
  4. Pop-up and sidebar advertisements demand attention from visitors to their site, and take away from the attention to articles and content
  5. A lack of alternative storytelling (e.i. videos, live streams, listicles, etc.) set Boston.com behind other news sources in terms of creativity, intrigue and innovation
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