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The Boston Hive Mind | Curator or Brokerage?

Screenshot from 2014-07-20 07:45:17


Boston.com was one of the first news websites on the public web, launched in late October 1995 by Boston Globe Electronic Publishing Inc., the Internet subsidiary of the Boston Globe ….

On September 12, 2011, the Boston Globe launched a separate site at BostonGlobe.com that put most journalistic content from its print edition behind a paywall.  Boston.com still offers local news, sports, weather and leisure.

In September 2012, Boston.com launched a new section, “the Hive”, that covers innovation and new technologies created by Boston area companies and beyond.

The Hive was rebranded as BetaBoston and so there we have it.

The site blends content from Boston.com and the Boston Globe’s newsroom, and selects content from other experts on the web. The content is curated and appears in a media stream that constantly refreshes on the Hive’s homepage.

The site resembles in many ways the use of blogs by major dailies, such as the excellent Dealbook at the New York Times 

But what is really interesting is the volume and eclecticism of “curated” content — not to mention the economics of it. In my reading about redesigned newsrooms recently there is a certain amount of bad blood between the “business side” and editorial — something I experienced firsthand myself.

If I ever begin to call myself a “curator,” please shoot me, although I might take the job if you offered it under another name. The word “edit” should be kept safe from Newspeakers, but the actual work is pretty much the same.

Hire an editor today.

Screenshot from 2014-07-20 08:02:51

As far as “curating” goes, I was amused recently reading about a newsroom that figured out a workflow with print and digital facilitated by making WordPress compatible with In Design.

We were doing pretty much the same thing in the 1990s: a shotgun wedding of Cold Fusion (remember Cold Fusion?) and our clunky Quark server. I manned the copy desk and the tech guy gave me access to the content management program for live updates to the Web site. Plus ça change …

In the gephi graph at the outset of this post, where we observe a community or clique of sites in close proximity to the Boston.com Web site, we begin to see the outlines of a virtual organization (VO).

Virtual Organizations 5 of 6.jpg (1595×1467)

The Boston site appears to maintain a thick Rolodex of sources, including rural newspapers. The Telegram, for example, “curates” 70 regional newspapers, as we see here:


The network is diverse, though trending conservation, and tightly knit — an analysis of the core component gives us a roster of direct links.

Screenshot from 2014-07-20 08:29:23

It outsources its obituary column to a company called Legacy.com … and examples can be multiplied. Many newspapers have followed in the BG’s footsteps, Ctl-Ving readymade content from the venturesome nonprofit  think tanks of Beantown, the Valley and the Alley … Dealbook, I recall as a smart, useful addition to print coverage of deal-making and -breaking.

Boston inherited similar para-journalism projects such as «BetaBoston, a BostonGlobe site» …




Dan Kennedy of Media Nation exhibits high betweeness in this network.  What does this tell us about his choice of strategic roles?



Screenshot from 2014-07-20 11:49:52

Dan has had an intriguing life and career.