It's one thing to read about various out-of-town newspapers folding, reducing staff or filing for bankruptcy, but, it's something else when you might lose YOUR newspaper.
I had thought the Globe was somehow immune to these gloomy developments. So, I was jolted to read that the New York Times, which owns the Globe, has just threatened to shut it down unless its unions quickly agree to $20 million in concessions in the form of various cuts.
Even if the Globe wards off this threat, its future looks much more bleak. Some say it's only a matter of time before it evolves into an online publication.
Now, suddenly, I'm feeling the potentially awful loss that would be felt without the Globe.
I cannot even imagine the Boston area without the Globe. It seems like a nightmare -- some bizarre, awful version of "the future," when the online world becomes even more dominant.
Yes, I'm one of those people who feels that newspapers play a vital role in creating a "sense of community" in a world that has become disturbingly impersonal and focused on THE INDIVIDUAL at all costs. People live, to a troubling degree, in their own worlds and feel disconnected from their hometowns, neighbors, and, often, the rest of society.
A good newspaper - like the Globe - is one vehicle that still ties us together in a special way. For generations, conversations have begun with one person saying "I saw in the paper that........"
The Globe has always been my newspaper. For most of my life, it has been my favorite paper.
I confess that, in the past few years, I've felt the Globe has gone a bit downhill, but, that has come as it has lost terrific reporters, cut back some coverage and made repeated changes.
I've enjoyed the ritual of reading the Globe every day - from seeing its familiar logo to going to the sports page first to appreciating its enthusiastic, detailed coverage of politics. The Globe has brought me so many huge news developments my whole life -- and sparked so many reactions and conversations that I can't begin to highlight its impact.
I still possess my copy of the Boston Globe's 1978 edition with the front-page headline that appeared the day after the Blizzard of '78 struck: "Worst Storm of Century." Who can forget that!
I recall vividly the June morning in 1968 when I went downstairs very early to find the Globe left at our back door. It was the day after the June presidential primary, and, though I was only 12 years old, I was closely following the Democratic primary race between Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy. I was hoping so, so much the Globe would tell me of a Kennedy victory. It turned out the results weren't in that early edition - and, sadly, a short while later, I learned - by television reports - of Kennedy's assassination the night before.
I recall, after the incredibly thrilling Red Sox-Yankee playoff game in Oct. 1978, which ended with Yaz popping up on a Rich Gossage fastball, reading a front-page Mike Barnicle story titled "A Man Called Yaz." I attended that game, the most exciting sports event I ever attended. I still have that Globe too.
I recall, in high school, following the Watergate scandal by reading the Globe every day. The Globe always used to cover politics exhaustively. I used to love following presidential campaigns covered by outstanding "original" Globe staffers like Curtis Wilkie.
When the Boston University faculty went on strike in 1979, I once offered - as a student reporter - to string for the Globe, and, when I got a story published, it was an unforgettable thrill. I also have loved writing letters to the Editor of the Globe, especially when a fair number got published.
I remember when I first began to appreciate the unique baseball reporting of Peter Gammons when he used to cover the Red Sox for the Globe. It took me years to fully realize just how original and extraordinary Gammons' close-up reporting really was.
When national stories broke, the Globe usually put their own stamp on the subject somehow.
I recall, the day after 9/11, the Globe did some unique reporting on who was on one of the hijacked airplanes.
I've loved reading Globe columnists - Marty Nolan, Robert Turner, Ellen Goodman and Scott Lehigh - just to name a few. And, whether I agreed or disagreed with sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy, I've always wanted to see his column. (I loved that lengthy Will McDonough
article on the rift between Bill Parcells and Robert Kraft. Remember that?)
I recall, when I moved to Washington DC in 1984, thinking I'd go crazy without seeing the Globe every day. Well, that never happened because, I ended up buying the Globe at an increased price every single day at the Newsroom, a legendary news store that sold newspapers from all over the world. It made me feel I was at home.
Sometimes, I get a sense that young people brought up on the InterNet don't know what they've missed without having had a regular newspaper to call their own. Sometimes I'm struck by the "random" way that people get news these days. On occasion, I'll ask someone where they read or head about news they just shared, and, he or she replies: "Somewhere -- I don't know."
I guess it's true that more and more people get their news from the InterNet. Just like it's true that quite a few young people have gotten their political news from Jon Stewart's Daily Show. I like Jon Stewart, but, I find it disappointing that fewer young people are reading newspapers.
A newspaper is more than just a vehicle for transmitting headlines. It's a specific group of people with unique talents and personalities who put the news together with an approach, emphasis and philosophy that leaves their mark.
I know thousands of people share my sentiments about the Globe. Today's April 5th Globe included an article with an array of well-known people expressing dismay at just the chance of the newspaper folding.
I still hope the Globe will survive somehow. Imagining the Globe existing in only the form of an online edition is painful. If the newspaper folds, things will truly never be the same.