boston globe


What The Globe’s New Paywall Means For Health News Junkies

Boston Globe publisher Christopher Mayer issued a deadpan letter to readers today explaining that “, a new subscription-based website, makes its debut today as the only site where you can find the full range and depth of journalism from The Boston Globe.”

In other words, will remain free but only carry some of the Globe’s coverage. The premium “experience,” including, I presume, a lot of great original Globe reporting, will be on, behind a new “paywall.” (WBUR’s Curt Nickisch talks about the new paywall here.)

Here’s what I’d have said if I were publisher: “People, time to pay up. You’ve been getting top-notch reporting for free on the Web for a long time now, and something has got to give. Print journalism is in a tailspin, and it has to find new models for bringing in money. So from now on, if you want all of the best that the Globe has to offer without paying for a dead-tree subscription, you’ll need to cough up a bit of cash for it.”

I stopped my subscription awhile ago because of newspaper-pile buildup (well, okay, and being laid off by the Globe didn’t help.) But I’ll be first in line to sign up for, and I hope its revenues help keep the paper afloat. For now, I wondered what exactly the new paywall will mean for those of us who closely follow health care news.

Judging by today, the Daily Dose and White Coat Notes blogs will remain on, free — in front of the paywall, so to speak — along with other consumer health regulars including “Get Moving, Boston,” “Be Well, Boston,” weekly health videos, photo galleries and fitness and nutrition advice. The offerings look more feature-y:

At first I thought was missing a couple of minor stories that are in today’s dead-tree “g” section on health: on adenoid surgery in kids and on depression late in life as a possible sign of dementia. But turns out they’re on the Health and Wellness page here — which I must say is looking extremely elegant and will be a frequent destination of mine.

The basic rundown, from Globe health and science editor Gideon Gil:

-Everything that appeared in the morning paper, plus consumer health and Boston medical news posted during the day on Daily Dose and White Coat Notes, will be on

-Daily Dose and White Coat Notes posts will be on both sites.

-Monday G health content will remain behind the pay wall for one week, then be available free on

Readers, what are your paywall plans? Good news from the Globe for our linking future: Readers who link to a story from external blogs like CommonHealth will get free access to that one story. For now, you may be asked to register, but the word is that you won’t have to pay for that first story.

Globe Health Reporter Stephen Smith To Become City Editor

Good for the Globe Metro desk, bad for Boston-based health coverage.

The widely beloved and immensely talented (objective, moi?) Steve Smith, who has covered health issues ranging from AIDS to swine flu to cholera in Haiti for the Globe since 2002, is laying down his pad and pen to become the paper’s new city editor.

Normally, these moving-on staff memos tend to strike me as damning with faint praise, but not this one. Globe Metro editor Jen Peter begins:

I’m thrilled to announce that Stephen Smith, a superb journalist and even
finer human being, will be joining the desk to help lead our local news
coverage as the Globe’s new city editor. He brings to this role more than
30 years in the business (he began delivering a suburban paper near his
hometown of Louisville at age 11), an exemplary reputation as a health
reporter at the Globe and the Miami Herald, an insatiable drive to tell
important human stories, a stickler’s attention to fairness and accuracy,
the most expansive vocabulary in the room, and a cooperative spirit that
will serve his editing and reporting colleagues well.

Columnists Reflect Rising Health-Cost Pain

If there were some sort of agony meter for health care costs, two columns in today’s Globe suggest that it would be time to set it a few notches higher.

Brian McGrory, never one to mince words, writes about how health care is sucking up money for municipal services, and points his finger at Partners:

I respect Partners HealthCare, which comprises Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals, two of the best health care providers in the world. Partners is the state’s biggest employer. It is a company where brilliant people perform life-saving miracles every day.

But even as they save, they’re killing us. It’s that easy. Teachers, firefighters, cops, restaurant workers, store clerks, engineers — you name it, their jobs are gone or in jeopardy because governments and businesses need to cut to keep pace with Partners’ insatiable appetite for cold, hard cash.

And Steven Syre writes about nurses here:

All the big-picture policy talk about controlling the cost of health care runs smack into the real world at the hospital nursing station.

This is true across the country, but especially in Massachusetts, where nurses are pressing several hospitals in contract talks. Two negotiations in particular — at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester — are focused on staffing levels for nurses.

Hospital administrators say they are trying to manage in challenging times, reorganizing work to become more efficient while maintaining the quality of care. Many nurses and their union say the practical result of efficiency plans is a thin staff that put patients at greater risk.

Globe’s Kay Lazar Wins Health Reporting Prize

The Boston Globe's Kay Lazar on YouTube

Yay, Kay! The Boston Globe’s Kay Lazar has just won first place in beat reporting from the Association of Health Care Journalists for her coverage of health policy and aging.

I have just one quibble with the association’s prize: It’s a bit late. She should also have won for her amazing 2009 story on the partial face transplant at Brigham and Women’s, precursor to this week’s news of a full face transplant. That article is, annoyingly, not available for free anymore on, but it’s worth the archive fee to read her beautiful account of Joseph Helfgot, the son of Auschwitz survivors who donated his organs to help others.

The Globe features Kay’s prize-winning stories here, and they include these headlines:
Antipsychotic drug use for dementia patients is questioned
Short-term customers boosting health costs
A family struggles with Alzheimer’s
Medicaid contracts with UMass Medical School unit scrutinized
Mass. aims to cut drug overuse for dementia