Herald Blows Lede in Michele McPhee Libel Suit

February 14, 2016

Today’s Boston Herald beat its crosstown rival to this story by Owen Boss:

Suit filed against reporter, news agencies for marathon bombings-related report

A Chelsea family with Chechen roots has filed a $105 million libel suit against journalist Michele McPhee and a Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 1.47.03 PMhandful of news outlets that referenced a story she wrote for ABC News in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, claiming the 
article had a disastrous 
impact on their lives and personal relationships.

The Umarov family’s lawsuit — which was first reported by Universal Hub — was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Boston and claims that McPhee’s article published March 4, 2014, titled “Feds Searching for Friend of Boston Marathon Suspect, ‘Concern’ Over Chechnya Trip,” has caused “irreparable damage to their reputations and esteem, as well as a loss of associations, and loss of potential gainful employment.”

 

The Herald’s web version doesn’t provide a link to the Universal Hub post or McPhee’s ABC piece. Worse, it doesn’t mention that McPhee is a former reporter and columnist at the dodgy local tabloid. You’d think they might’ve included that.

Then again, the Herald piece was quick enough to name the other defendants in the libel suit: McPhee Productions, ABC News, The Daily Mail, Heavy, Inc., News Corp. Australia, DMG Media, the New York Daily News and anti-Islamic activist and journalist Pamela Geller. A lot of deep pockets there.

Crosstown, at this moment anyway, the Boston Globe has nothing on the story.

(Parenthetically, is it just the hardreading staff or is the Globe’s search engine much lamer these days?)

More, no doubt, to come.


Prouty Garden at Children’s Gets a Reprieve

February 13, 2016

Looks like the hardreading staff might’ve spoken too soon about the war being over between Children’s Hospital and the Save The Prouty Garden forces fighting the hospital’s expansion plans.

From today’s Boston Globe:

State tells Children’s Hospital to slow down

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 1.32.56 PM

State regulators are asking Boston Children’s Hospital to show that its planned $1 billion campus expansion won’t undercut their efforts to restrain growth in health care costs.

In a Feb. 11 letter, the Department of Public Health said Children’s Hospital must provide an independent analysis that demonstrates the project is “consistent with the Commonwealth’s efforts to meet . . . health care cost-containment goals.”

Large hospital construction projects must be approved by the state, but this is only the second time regulators have asked for this sort of cost analysis before making a decision.

 

At the end of the piece, there’s this:

The hospital’s expansion plans are controversial because they would require building over a beloved garden. A group working to save that green space, called Friends of the Prouty Garden, applauded state officials’ call for more information, because it would delay the project.

“This puts the brakes on the hospital’s apparent game plan to win an immediate approval,” said Gregor McGregor, a lawyer representing the group.

 

But to the Boston Herald, that’s burying the lede.

State steps into flap over Prouty Garden

To eyeball controversial Children’s expansion

A controversial expansion plan for Boston Children’s Hospital to clear out the facility’s beloved Prouty Garden andScreen Shot 2016-02-13 at 1.41.32 PM make way for new medical space is on hold after the state ordered an independent cost analysis of the project.

The Department of Public Health issued an order Wednesday for Children’s to select a firm or individual — which will require DPH approval — to conduct an analysis of the $1.5 billion 
expansion that would bulldoze the 23,000-square-foot garden.

“I would say that if Boston Children’s Hospital were planning on a quick approval, this will not be quick,” said Gregor McGregor, an attorney for the group Friends of Prouty Garden, who have advocated to preserve the green space. “It’ll mean the Department of Health will give it close scrutiny.”

 

In other words: Hold off on the Garden party, but have the balloons ready just in case.


Ad War Over Children’s Hospital Prouty Garden

February 12, 2016

The year-long dustup over the Children’s Hospital plan to demolish the beloved Prouty Garden to make room for an 11-story, $1.5 billion clinical building has entered a new arena. After losing a bid to have the half-acre of open space given landmark status, the Save Prouty Garden forces have gone the full-page ad route, running this in Tuesday’s Boston Globe.

 

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Close-up:

 

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Apparently that appeal to save the soul of Children’s Hospital was compelling enough to elicit this full-page response from the hospital in today’s Globe – and today’s Boston Herald, a relative rarity for ads like this.

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 4.22.04 PM

 

No way Children’s wins this PR battle. But the hospital has already won the war.


Boston Herald: Suffolk U Schooled in Regan-onomics

February 11, 2016

After Suffolk University tore the sheets with local PR poobah George (Orange You Glad to See Me?) Regan, you just knew he would not go gentle into that “good night.”

Exhibit A: Joe Battenfeld’s column in today’s Boston Herald.

More PR Woes for Suffolk

Regan firm mulls fight over termination

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 12.01.21 PM

A powerful public relations firm fired by Suffolk University President Margaret McKenna claims it has a contract with the school and may fight the decision, triggering another potentially nasty public war.

Suffolk fired Regan Communications on Tuesday in a curt, unsigned memorandum, saying the school “no longer requires the ongoing services” of the well-known PR firm headed by longtime Boston power broker George Regan, according to a copy of the memo obtained by the Herald.

The memorandum, from “Suffolk University” but not signed by McKenna or the school’s board of trustees, came with a check for $31,623.90 for services through Feb. 9.

 

That, presumably, is on top of the roughly $300,000 the PR firm made from Suffolk in the past year.

Our favorite part: The pillow fight between Suffolk spokesman Greg Gatlin, who says Regan’s contract expired a year and a half ago, and Regan spokesman Scott MacKenzie, who says Regan Communications has a contract with Suffolk through the end of this year.  MacKenzie added, “Greg Gatlin forgets a lot of things like where he got his start in public relations” – namely, Regan Communications.

Meow.

Postscript

Once again, the Herald is out front on the Suffolk rumpus. From today’s piece:

Suffolk’s board of trustees, which had been planning to oust McKenna and replace her with former Attorney General Martha Coakley until the Herald reported on the power struggle, plans to meet tomorrow; Regan’s firing is expected to be discussed.

 

The firsty local tabloid had the original story January 28. The Boston Globe had it January 29.

Check the lately local broadsheet tomorrow for further developments.


Boston Globe Also Fails to Deliver on Refunds

February 8, 2016

When the Boston Globe’s home delivery went Chernobyl last month, the lately local broadsheet promised a credit to stiffed subscribers for the papers they failed to receive.

Turns out the Globe’s definition of credit doesn’t involve actual money. Here’s management’s latest email.

Dear Subscriber,

Many of you have contacted us recently regarding credits for missed deliveries.

Missed deliveries are credited to your account by extending your “paid through” date for the appropriate number of days. To view a detailed list of your credits by date, log in to BostonGlobe.com/MyGlobe and click on Delivery Credits in the Billing section.

We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced, or may still be experiencing, as a result of our delivery transition. We deeply appreciate your patience, and your loyalty to the Globe.

The Boston Globe Team

 

So instead of getting your money back, you get more papers that might or might not be delivered. Which, in turn, would extend your subscription even further.

Paging Mr. Kafka . . . paging Mr. Franz Kafka . . . 


Alumni Group Says ‘Suffolk U!’ to Board Chair (II)

February 5, 2016

The weeks-long rumpus over Suffolk University president Margaret McKenna’s administration of the school came to a head – and a headline – today, as board chairman Andrew Meyer prepared to step aside while McKenna keeps her job.

Boston Herald’s Joe Battenfeld:

Sources say Suffolk University president Margaret McKenna to keep her job

In a stunning defeat for Boston’s power brokers, 
Suffolk University trustees are abandoning a plan to fire President Margaret 
McKenna while the board chairman steps aside in a truce to end a nasty week-long war that caused major damage to the Beacon Hill institution.

McKenna may have saved her job, but her troubles are far from over. The school still has major financial and enrollment problems and it’s not clear she has the savvy and leadership skills to lead it out of its mess.

 

That move, however, didn’t keep Alumni for the Integrity of Suffolk University from running this ad in today’s Boston Globe.

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 12.54.12 PM

 

Check that Twitter hashtag in the ad and you get this:

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 1.13.03 PM

 

Nice touch: The Suffolk ad lower right.

A press release listed these folks as the major players in the alumni group:

Jared Cain, class of 2008 & former Student Government President

Dennis Harkins, Class of 2015, Former Trustee Ambassador and Student Government Secretary

Geraldin Batista, Class of 2014, former Student Government Secretary & President of the Black Student Union

Megan Caron, Class of 2012, former Student Government President

 

And here’s their Letter to the Editor.

Pretty impressive alums, eh? Suffolk must be doing something right.

UPDATE: Splendid commenter Jeff sends along this postscript:

Geeze John, I’m surprised you omitted the juicy demand from the alumni group that all trustees with affiliations to Regan Communications Group step down and that – “for the sake of the institution’s integrity, that all business associations and trustee relationships with Regan Communications Group be investigated by a third party, in an effort to rectify any existent impropriety.” Talk about in your face!

 


Boston Dailies Split on Freedom-Seeking Killers

February 4, 2016

From our One Town, Two Different Worlds desk

How odd is this?

Wednesday’s Boston dailies separately – or is that respectively? – featured two heinous murderers seeking redemption for the umpteenth time.

The Boston Globe front-paged one of them.

More pain as killer again bids for parole

NATICK — Every five years, in a hushed parole board hearing with the family he traumatized and tore apart, Richard turner020216METRO03parole17Seymour apologizes to his ex-wife and daughter, and to the memory of the teenage son he beat to death in a drug-fueled rage.

And each time, his family remains unmoved, refusing to forgive him for a brutal crime that has already kept him behind bars for three decades.

On Tuesday, Seymour’s family renewed the painful ritual of arguing against his release, telling the state’s parole board they are haunted by the thought of Seymour being set free. Their grief over Patrick Seymour’s death, they said, has never left them.

 

You can read the gruesome details, but the bottom line is this:

The decision of the board is not expected for several months. According to the most recent study by the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety, about one-quarter of parole requests are granted for inmates serving life sentences.

This year, Patrick Seymour would have turned 48.

 

And this year Jeffrey Curley would have turned 29. But Charles Jaynes and Salvatore Sicari brutally murdered him in 1997. And now Jaynes, like Seymour, is looking to wiggle free of his punishment.

From Wednesday’s Boston Herald:

Child killer Jaynes seeking new trial

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 12.57.55 AM

Charles Jaynes, the self-styled Wiccan serving life for the 1997 kidnapping and murder of 10-year-old Jeffrey Curley of Cambridge, is 
imploring a panel of federal appellate justices to either grant him a new state trial or set him free, arguing the public was wrongfully barred from his first one — and that he was the victim of lousy lawyering.

A three-justice panel that includes retired U.S. 
Supreme Court Justice David Souter took Jaynes’ appeal under advisement yesterday as Jeffrey’s father Robert Curley endured yet another court hearing, 19 years after his son was kidnapped and killed by Jaynes and Salvatore Sicari, his body dumped in a river in Maine.

 

It’s heartbreaking what these families have to endure in the wake of their unimaginable tragedies.

It’s also the American justice system.

Your objections go here.


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