Fanning the Flames: The Freedom Project Blog


A World Without the Globe

By Shawn Healy
First the Rocky Mountain News stopped the presses and we took a collective breath and resolved that at least Denver was left with the larger Post.

Then the Seattle Post-Intelligencer scaled back to a spartan staff and an online-only operation. Yet the Seattle Times lived on to lead the crusade.

The Detroit Daily News and Free Press next suspended delivery to three days a week. No surprise given dire straits in the Motor City.

At the same time, newsrooms have increasingly resembled morgues, as reporters are sent to the unemployment lines with little prospect of sustainable employment. But readers (and freelance writers) are flocking to new media alternatives like the Huffington Post and Politico.

Now, the New York Times Company has apparently proven that its threat to shutter the venerable, yet bleeding Boston Globe was much more than idle. "New England's most storied newspaper" may be extinct within two months, leaving only the tabloid Boston Herald, with a slim staff of ten to stand as Beantown's print voice.

The Gray Lady herself is highly leveraged with loans taken on its Manhattan headquarters and from a Mexican billionaire, along with a newsroom staff paring of 100 and a 5% pay cut.

This bloodbath may be inevitable as a broken economic model coupled with the worst economy in three generations has hastened the collapse of print journalism as we know it. An alternative will undeniably rise from the ashes, but the utter brutality of the present and the unknown direction we are headed make the present ever difficult to swallow.

Here's hoping that economic stabilization equals the preservation of pivotal print outlets, at least for the time being. Before long, a new economic model must usher in the same investigative reporting central to democratic accountability and governance. Until then, let's hope the Times finds a way to spare its brethren in Boston.

The world simply wouldn't be the same without the Globe.


Blogger ender locke said...

Dear Shawn, This is so terrible,the very foundation of our democracy is a free press and this is rapidly disappearing. Even in tough economic times our nation must do everything it can to protect our free press or we will be left with nothing but the internet and where is the journalistic integrity across the board on the internet. We must make all Americans aware of the impending disaster Take care and keep on writing.

6:09 PM  

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Managing Director

McCormick Freedom Project

Shawn is responsible for overseeing and managing the operations associated with the McCormick Freedom Project. Additionally, he serves as the in house content expert and voice of museum through public speaking and original scholarship. Before joining the Freedom Project, he taught American Government, Economics, American History, and Chicago History at Community High School in West Chicago, IL and Sheboygan North High School in Wisconsin.

Shawn is a doctoral candidate within the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he received his MA in Political Science. He is a 2001 James Madison Fellow from the State of Wisconsin and holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, History, and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

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About Fanning the Flames and the McCormick Freedom Project

Fanning the Flames is a blog of the McCormick Freedom Project, which was started in 2006 by museum managing director Shawn Healy. The blog highlights the news of the day, in hopes of engaging readers in dialogue about freedom issues. Any views or opinions expressed on this blog represent those of the writers alone and do not represent an official opinion of the McCormick Freedom Project.

Founded in 2005, the McCormick Freedom Project is part of the McCormick Foundation. The Freedom Project’s mission is to enable informed and engaged participation in our democracy by demonstrating the relevance of the First Amendment and the role it plays in the ongoing struggle to define and defend freedom. The museum offers programs and resources for teachers, students, and the general public.

First Amendment journalism initiative

The Freedom Project recently launched a new reporting initiative with professional journalists Tim McNulty and Jamie Loo. The goal is to expand and promote the benefits of lifelong civic engagement among citizens of all ages, through original reporting, commentary and news aggregation on First Amendment and freedom issues. Please visit the McCormick Freedom Project's news Web site, The Post-Exchange at

Dave Anderson
Vice President of Civic Programs
McCormick Foundation

Tim McNulty
Senior Journalist
McCormick Freedom Project

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