Bell Tolls for Sidekick?

1220458667I’ve been bitterly opposed to the Globe‘s Sidekick section since its inception in 2005, mainly because I couldn’t figure out what it was (so I have to go to two separate sections to get CD reviews?), but also because even the name was inapt, given how it was supposed to act as a guide to events and culture in Boston, and not an ugly, hairless little thing that follows you around all day.

In the last year, the ailing Globe has made some changes, folding the arts section into Sidekick on Mondays, and then folding in the Thursday Calendar section, but those have only succeeded in making Sidekick’s reason for being even less clear.

Now we’ve gotten word that the Globe is planning to scrap Sidekick altogether and fold all the Living / Arts / Food / Style / Calendar content into a single Monday-through-Friday book, to be called “G” (presumably because the kids dig brevity).

The Globe‘s ad reps are already calling clients extolling the virtues of having all arts and culture stuff in a single consolidated section, claiming that this will make for more “substantial” coverage. But according to one person who’s seen the design, “It’s gonna mean much less substantial arts coverage. It looked like the features and reviews are much shorter.”

Bob Powers, a Globe spokesman, wouldn’t confirm anything, except to say that the future of Sidekick is in discussions. “Reducing our coverage of the arts is not in the offing,” he said, but he wouldn’t say whether story lengths would be cut.

That’s certainly been the case with the Monday Sidekick, so it makes sense that G would follow down that path. And while I’m happy to see the runt go, it will be too bad if the Globe’s arts coverage has to suffer. It’s been consistently strong and well-written, sometimes exuberantly so, over the last couple years.

Update: Good news. According to an email from Globe editor Marty Baron, “no arts coverage will be cut, and there will be no reduction in the size of stories or reviews.”

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