Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wisdom? Globe: Not Yours!

The birthday box from New Mexico arrived yesterday, including a sheaf of Corporate Curmudgeon columns. Like scones popping with raisins, those clips brim with wit and business savvy — stuff to amuse and stuff you can use.

The Boston Globe decided you don't need those. Instead, they run their tired set of cliché mongers and shameless local boosters. Along with the other major daily, that paper is desperate for black ink. In that effort, it is dropping the good stuff and buying out the good writers. We get the junk food but not the sustaining goodies.

Dale would fit in with the edict from Inc. Magazine founder Bernie Goldhirsh. He was brilliant, but a befuddled character, sometimes pressed to translate his instincts into useful words. When I worked there, he used to tell our all-hands meetings things like, "I want an MBA education wrapped in the cover of my monthly magazine." Unlike Globe columnists who tell you how to scold a coworker who uses too much bad cologne or touting local companies, Dale's weekly piece is a concise, often amusing and very readable business-school lecture.

Tepid Disclaimer: I apparently was instrumental in getting the Globe to rent Dale's work, with a one-person email, letter and telephone campaign. Afterward, he sent me a free copy of his The Laughing Warriors book. You'll have to buy your own.

We had access to his work from January 2006 through this April. The business editors (Caleb Solomon to Shirley Leung about a year ago) apparently use the failure-prone network-TV trick of shifting Dale's columns. By moving him to the new Sunday classified circular (pretending to be a business supplement), they effectively buried the column out of sight. I suppose, like broadcast bozos, they gambled that sacrificing a popular feature would boost ad readership elsewhere. Certainly too as business sorts they should know that the tens of dollars a week for a great column is a ton more effective than paying a staff columnist, a boring, predictable staff columnist.

You have surely noticed the Globe similarly flounders with its Sidekick and other special sections. Honk. Wrong. When something continually doesn't work, stop doing it!

I'm likely one of the few in our burgh who gets these columns. They appear in both major New Mexico dailies in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. My sister clips and sends them. Many end up in the hands of friends who likewise don't care for the local pap but do like solid brain food.

If you were a regular reader wonder what happened, you might address a note to the business editor over there, Shirely Leung. I get my Dauten fix on the side. How about you?

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