Boston Globe and Big Picture get a facelift

new look, new domain, new business model to finance it

Hungarion version
The new Big Picture design

The new Big Picture design

The popular Big Picture gallery of Boston Globe will be published at a new domain with a new look from now on. After six years and almost a thousand galleries with large images the Big Picture is renewed. They moved to a new domain and built a completely new look – it’s a shame their old stuff (at least a part of it) can be seen only in theory.

New look and new domain
At the beginning of October the editors of Boston Globe announced their great redesign which brought a major change to the Big Picture gallery as well. Until now the paper had been using the boston.com domain, but during the rewamping they moved to bostonglobe.com. They will host the Big Picture gallery here too.
Since they completely removed all traces of the founder Alan Taylor when he left the staff there is no mention of him despite he is to be thanked for the entire concept of Big Picture. He has been managing the complete gallery alone for years winning more prizes for Boston Globe. Their reluctancy to mention him and what he achieved can be understood as he left for the competition. He moved to the editorial staff of The Atlantic where he manages the InFocus gallery very similar to the Big Picture.

The new look of the Big Picture
They severed ties with the white background and now all the images appear on a black background. The resolution increased and it is claimed it will look much better on mobile and tablet screens. (I had no problem with it until now – did someone?)
The great feature to use J and K to scroll from one image to the next doesn’t work on the new site, but more visitors were missing it so editors promised to bring it back with the new design soon.
More readers complained for the RSS not tot work, but it is also promised to have the old RSS feed running to show posts coming from the new site to keep notifying people about new posts.

The old site is just an archive - what works of it

The old site is just an archive
what works of it

Behind a partial pay wall
The new BigPicture will be put behind a partial pay wall. It seems obvious this has a part in the domain change. Boston Globe introduces a partial paywall. This means only ten articles will be free for the readers and to access more than that, you will have to pay for it. This will be true for the Big Picture articles as well.
Editors say this will be a way to get readers help the production of these great selections. Hopefully this support approach will motivate a lot of readers. It is always a great question if this new model will be successful on the business side or it will rather drive away visitors. There is an ever growing number of Englis language news sites just like it is the same with Big Picture galleries as well. It is hard to tell in advance what this strategy can result.

Chilling breath of digital decay
There have been 966 galleries published during the six years spent since the start. Editors claim the previous galleries will stay available for anyone to see on the old site that will serve as an archive of their old stuff. However some of them cannot be reached by now. They are listed on the archive site with the very same URL as the old galleries I and many others linked during the years. But the only thing that appears is an error message stating that content may be deleted or the link being broken.
I sent the problem to the Globe support and they shortly came back to me, but unfortunately it was only a general answer stating the old galleries will be available through the archive site. Just like if they wouldn’t be interested in the malfunction I sent them (with the malfunctioning links of course). Since I usually have no problem communicating with various support teams of different companies I doubt this time the problem would be with my message sent to support. Anyway I hope they will manage to repair this error. It would be a shame to loose the valuable archive built during the years.

What do you think about the changes wit the Big Picture and Boston Globe?

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