History of Newspapers: The Boston Globe

About the history of the United States newspaper The Boston Globe, information and some of their scoops.


The Past. Boston is known as a bad newspaper town. In spite of that and in spite of competition from the Boston-based Christian Science Monitor, which is really an international newspaper, The Boston Globe has survived. It was almot bankrupt when Charles H. Taylor bought it in 1892. By giving the paper "mass appeal," Taylor made it relatively prosperous.

Until 1965, it was undistinguished. Then Tom Winship, who became editor at the age of 44, turned the Globe into a crusader, and it soon won a Pulitzer Prize for its successful campaign to block Francis X. Morrissey, a friend of Joseph P. Kennedy's, from becoming a Fedearal judge.

However much a crusader, the Globe has not been averse to protecting its own interests. In 1965, it paid scant attention to a landmark court case on the rights of consumers--this case involved one of its major advertisers, Jordan Marsh Company, a large department store.

The Present. Relatively liberal, The Boston Globe today is a highly respected paper with morning and evening editions (combined circulation nearly 500,000). In 1968 it backed Humphrey for President of the U.S.: in 1972, it backed McGovern. (Previously, it had not supported a presidential candidate since 1900.)

The Globe does not set obituaries of local people in type for eventual use because "there's sort of a feeling that it's bad luck," said Jack Driscoll, assistant to the editor. However, it doesn't mind hexing non-bostonians; it has obituaries for 30 "outsiders' all set to go.

Scoops. In 1971, a 4-man "spotlight" team from the Globe investigated and exposed municipal scandals in nearby Somerville: the men received a Pulitzer prize for it.

The Globe was the 3rd U.S. paper (after The New York Times and The Washington Post) to publish excerpts from the Pentagon Papers.

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