The old Pez-container newspaper boxes will soon be gone from the T, says Boston Phoenix/stuff@night Circulation Director Jim Dorgan. I was way off on the meaning of the deli-counter-style clear plastic versions I’ve suddenly seen at the Forest Hills T stop. He was kind enough to fill me in.
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So, I imagined that:
- The freebies’ circ staff found a cheaper or sturdier box type.
- Heavy traffic Forest Hills would be a logical test location for weather and door-slammer durability testing.
- They wouldn’t go on the street locations until they proved themselves there.
It turns out that it’s no test, nor is it a cost-saving effort by the Mindich crew.
Instead, we’ll be seeing and seeing through many of these and the Phoenix/stuff team is only an early adopter. according to Dorgan, the MBTA is requiring that all publication boxes on its property be easy to check visually — basically transparent. He said that this is an outcome of the Democratic Convention when cops and Homeland Security folk realized how easy it would be to high nasty devices in the ubiquitous dispensers.
The idea is that a security sort can walk by a row of these and scan them for evil objects from a distance.
He asked what I thought of the new boxes. As a former biz-mag type, I noted immediately that the branding was an issue. I knew that orange boxes were for the Dig and red, tall, rounded-edge ones were for the Phoenix. He admitted that was a concern, but noted that the MBTA will permit putting a copy in the front-door clip for customer convenience. Also, the box bases are subtler, but still distinctive. The Phoenix one, for example, has that wonderful garish red I associate with it.
He said that this is an added expense for his papers and not any cost saving. The old boxes will be used on the street, either in new locations or as replacements as needed.
They just began putting them in T stations a week ago, but will sweep the area very soon. Expect the same from the laggard pubs.
Follow-up on 12/8/8: The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies links here in its 12/5 posts and reports that “Boston Phoenix circulation director Jim Dorgan tells AAN News that the policy goes into effect next Friday, Dec. 12. He says that, as a result of the new regulations, the Phoenix and its related publications had to purchase more than 200 new boxes, which each cost $85 more than a regular news box. He also says the MBTA is requiring the boxes be chained, and that 12 inches of space separate each box. The Weekly Dig‘s Jeff Lawrence tells us that while his paper will eventually buy some clear boxes and put them in MBTA stations, for the most part, distributing outside on city streets is still cheaper and the best strategy for the Dig. “