Spreading the Gospel of Failure

Outgoing (outgone?) BostonNow editor, John Wilpers, having maintained radio silence since word went out that he would no longer be helming the fledgling blogger-driven commuter daily, checked in with Dan Kennedy regarding his future yesterday. Apparently, Wilpers is planning a barnstorming evangelical tour of the U.S. in which he will spread the gospel of BostonNOW.

“I also will be launching an effort to export the concept I pioneered at BostonNOW,” Wilpers writes, “introducing greater relevance and community to a newspaper’s print and online editions through blogger recruitment, participation and publication. The BostonNOW experience convinced me that mainstream newspapers can rejuvenate themselves and find tomorrow’s readers today by inviting the community into the paper.”

Kennedy himself points out that this would seem a better idea were BostonNOW not “pretty bad.” I’ll do him one better: it’s fucking dreadful. Far from reinvigorating the media scene with an infusion of driven, indie-minded bloggers, BostonNOW turned out to be amateur hour, a place to get all the stories you can get anywhere else (e.g.), only days/weeks later, of a lower quality, with less relevance, worse writing and more typos.

Wilpers’ letter to Kennedy reminds me of that Simpsons’ episode when Homer tangles with George Bush Sr. There’s a scene where Bush is finishing his memoirs, and writes (paraphrasing) “and since I accomplished everything I wanted to in my first term, there was no need for a second.”

There’s no indication that the paper itself is in trouble, as its crazed foreign investors have shown a willingness to really shell out, but let’s at least have a little self-awareness here.

Of course, maybe I’m just cranky. I did have to walk through a gauntlet of not one, but THREE BostonNOW hawkers at the Davis Square T this morning…