The New York Times story on the Boston Globe’s creative use of its excess office space makes this depressing point: “While most newspapers lack cash, employees and a clear strategy for finding greater profits in the digital age, they do not lack for office space.” And while the hipsters at the Globe are using their spare real estate to house start-ups, host bands, and do beer tastings, other papers are putting their extra offices to work as sets for shows and movies about newspapers.
The Los Angeles Times has rented out its offices for Argo, Moneyball, Frost/Nixon, Dreamgirls, and The Soloist. The Globe also had its close-up, when ABC Family filmed a pilot there last fall. One reporter “could see the benefits of having a television crew fill out The Globe’s empty corners, creating a Hollywood version of what a newsroom should be. ‘Everything got nicer,’ she said.” The way the business is going, that’s something you can only do with a fictional newsroom.