2021 Sports, Health and Wellness, Large Newsroom finalist

Boston Globe Sports

About the Project

“At the Boston Globe, we keep our eye on the goal: Create a digital journalism experience worth paying for, one that anticipates what a fan wants before they know they want it.

When we planned for the NFL Draft, we thought of the online reader first. A focus on being fast and correct seamlessly blended with our approach of frequently updating stories as they unfold. During the first round, our web desk held down the fort to give our reporters time to find out the backstory — the story everyone’s really looking for. Our live updates piece that night was one of the most-read Globe stories of the year so far.

But we go beyond telling you what happened. We’ll tell you what it means. Our Patriots free-agency simulator allowed subscribers to go beyond reading about new signings, and see the intricacies that go into building a team. But we took it one step further, by reacting to transactions around the league in real-time — showing their impact on the market, and on the Patriots.

We know how to leverage our knowledge and expertise and share it with readers in new ways. We created a visualization showing how our writers voted and why, and complemented it with a subscriber-only event the day before the announcement. More than 700 people joined us to hear some of the best baseball writers in the country battle it out, and the consensus from readers was: “We want more of those events.”

But we also try to meet people where they are. When Celtics writer Gary Washburn decamped for the NBA bubble in Orlando, we re-launched our basketball newsletter. Washburn provided a behind-the-scenes view into one of the most unique moments in league history. One reader wrote in to say “it was like having a friend inside the bubble speaking directly to me.”

A focus on our audience allows us to remain relevant. But it’s just the start. We’re constantly seeking to grow a new audience: the next generation of Boston sports fans, who never read the paper in print but love these teams. They’re younger and more diverse, and don’t want the same types of stories their parents do.

That was the approach with “Thanks Tom,” an animated video project on Tom Brady’s legendary career with the Patriots. This seven-part series was a binge-watchable delight — something serendipitous, that readers didn’t know they wanted, but loved once they watched.

NHL writer Matt Porter dug through hours of film to find the perfect examples for the five keys to executing a shorthanded goal. We paired that with data on where Bruins star Brad Marchand had scored, and conducted an interview with the star himself. The result was an interactive graphic that wowed sports fans and novices alike on one of the most exciting moments in sports.

We believe these examples of our digital operation prove we’re on the forefront of innovation within the sports media industry, and that’s why we humbly submit them for consideration.”