The Globe Sells its Soul to Milhouse for Five Dollars

I have to admit, I was slightly stunned this morning when I went to and saw that they had published an excerpt from a book about the so-called “Craigslist Killer.”

What stunned me is that the book was written by a Globe metro reporter.

So, this is what that tells me: the Globe, desperate for both visibility and cash during a devastating stretch for the journalism industry, decided to devote a member of its decimated metro staff to write a book — a supermarket aisle trade paperback, surely — capitalizing on the fanfare around this dopey yet homicidal med student, when there are important things happening like elections and crime and development and other urban affairs (both in Boston and its former City Weekly brethren) that require real, in-depth investigative reporting.


Come on, Globe. Pretend for just one second that you are still committed to the critical mission of serving as the gatekeeper, the guardian, the conscience of this city. Really. Let me believe for just a little while that you’re not selling out your urban soul for suburban drek.

Above all, please, please tell me: in what universe is a book about the Craigslist Killer worthwhile journalism? A simple question. I certainly can’t conceive of a viable answer, and I’d really like to know.

EDIT: Katy in the comments makes a good point: this book isn’t published by the Globe, it’s published by CBS’ 48 Hours. So I don’t want to misrepresent the facts and imply that the Globe is publishing this book — apparently, they are not.

But this does point to an important issue: reporters seeking new opportunities outside of newspaper journalism. I worry about the brain drain from where our society needs it the most.

I also still believe that the Globe overall is diverting attention away from urban issues and focusing on suburban regions (with deeper pockets). Not that what happened to those attacked by Philip Markoff was not serious, but there are chronic issues of urban crime that are less flashy but that require as much if not more attention and thought.


2 responses to “The Globe Sells its Soul to Milhouse for Five Dollars

  1. You know, it just occurred to me… Often when journalists write books, even when it’s about something within their beat, it’s separate from their work at the paper and not necessarily funded or promoted by the paper. I have no idea what the situation was like here, but it may not be completely accurate for us to assume that “the Globe” was behind this. Maybe it’s more of a problem with the publishing industry and the priorities of journalism in general than it is with the Globe specifically in this case, although it certainly parallels the shortcomings of the Globe. Again, hard to say.

  2. You make a really good point — the book is not published by the Globe, but by 48 Hours.

    I am still concerned about the Globe allowing a reporter taking time away to write a frivolous book when a critical beat (the police) requires coverage. But I think I’m going to update my post.

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