Hark! The Herald! (Sigma Delta Chi Awards Edition)

April 25, 2015

From our Walt Whitman desk

Well, the Society of Professional Journalists has announced its annual Sigma Delta Chi awards, and the Boston Herald exercised great restraint by waiting until page 2 to announce its good fortune.

 

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For those of you keeping score at home, that’s Herald reporters Matt Stout and Erin Smith who won a Non-Deadline Reporting award for their coverage of the state’s dreadful foster care system. Congrats to both.

Crosstown, the Boston Globe’s David Abel won a Feature Reporting award for his piece, For Richard family, loss and love. Abel has yet to get a shoutout from the stately local broadsheet, but we’ll give him one here.

Elsewhere in Boston media, WBUR’s Asma Khalid and Shawn Bodden won a Digital Audio award for A Fear Of Going To School: 5 Former Boston Students Reflect On Busing. Kudos to that duo.

A nice haul for the locals, yeah?


Herald: Barack O-bomb-a’s Pats Joke Falls Flat

April 24, 2015

From our One Town, Two Different Worlds desk

When the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots went to the White House for the customary presidential pat on the back, here’s what they got to kick off the festivities.

 

 

Pats coach Bill Belichick isn’t the only one who gave Obama’s lame joke the thumbs down. Today’s Boston Herald is in Full Snit over the Deflategate dis.

Start with Page One:

 

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Then move on to Tom Shattuck’s column:

SPOTLIGHT INTERCEPTED

Barack Obama, Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft

It was a day that should have belonged to the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, but in a reversal of last February’s fortune it came to a dramatic and sudden halt.

Interception, Obama.

The president called a very different play as the champs gathered at the White House South Lawn to accept an attaboy for their Super Bowl victory.

But the egotist in chief made it all about him.

“I usually tell a bunch of jokes at these events,” he mused, “but with the Patriots in town I was worried that 11 of 12 of them would fall flat.”

 

That one sure did.

Back at the frosty local tabloid,  sports scribe Karen Guregian also weighed in.

Just like so many people at this point, the leader of the free world can’t help but chuckle at what this is, and what it’s become. So right out of the gate, he set the tone for the Patriots visit by taking a poke at Deflategate, and it became the theme of the day Barack Obama, Bill Belichick, Robert Kraftwith Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski later piling on . . .

When Gronk was asked if he had enjoyed himself before the president’s speech, perhaps with a beverage or two, Gronk drew on Obama’s Deflategate remark.

“No, there was no drinking,” he said. “Maybe the president was wasted from his deflate joke. We’re still wondering as an organization about that, right?”

 

(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, Guregian’s column was mostly about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s foot-dragging in his investigation into the pigskin rumpus. Regardless, look for the umbrage-industrial complex to continue Obama-bashing for awhile.

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, Ben Volin’s piece about Pats players (as well as owner Robert Kraft and Belichick) visiting wounded vets at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was the main story today:

 

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The Obama joke also got mentioned in Shalise Manza Young’s piece, but it was no big deal.

Obummer, eh Heraldniks?


Boston Dailies (wait for it) Diverge on Gates-gate

April 24, 2015

From our Late to the Ancestral Party desk

The current Henry Louis Gates Jr./Ben Affleck/PBS/Sony Entertainment/WikiLeaks rumpus over the excising of Affleck’s slave-owning ancestry from Gates’s documentary series Finding Your Roots got very different play in Thursday’s local dailies.

Let’s let the Boston Globe’s Ty Burr set the scene.

Lessons in inconvenient truths

Affleck revelation shows that nothing stay hidden nowadays

This week’s celebrity tempest in a teapot is brought to you by Ben Affleck, Henry Louis Gates Jr., PBS, and Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton. Oh, and WikiLeaks, which, if it had hands, would be rubbing them together 8917b9a34d2c47788d1664887d6c02e1-8917b9a34d2c47788d1664887d6c02e1-0in adolescent glee.

The website, whose editor in chief, Julian Assange, is still living in political asylum at the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, recently released tens of thousands of documents left over from the Sony hack late last year — the ones that the original hackers (North Koreans or whoever; the jury’s still out) hadn’t bothered to make public. Among those memos is a back-and-forth between Harvard professor Gates and Lynton about whether to expose the fact that Affleck had ancestors who owned slaves on Gates’s PBS documentary series, “Finding Your Roots.”

 

Affleck asked Gates to omit that part of his ancestry. Gates turned for guidance to Lynton, who said “all things being equal, I would take it out.” But Gates clearly knew it would be wrong to do so, telling Lynton that if the issue ever became public, “It would embarrass [the star] and compromise our integrity. . . . Once we open the door to censorship, we lose control of the brand.”

Well, consider it lost, Henry, since you did omit the Affleck family’s slave-owning past and, according to the lamest press statement since Mark Sanford hiked the Appalachian Trail, “focused on what we felt were the most interesting aspects of his ancestry.”

Uh-huh.

Burr’s conclusion: “The stain isn’t that Affleck had ancestors who owned slaves. It’s that he thought we’d think less of him — or his celebrity brand — if we knew. And now, poor schmo, we do.”

A Globe editorial also spanked Affleck: “This Cambridge homeboy needs a reality check. You can edit truth out of movies, but not out of family history.”

Actually, it’s the Boston Globe that needs a reality check.

The issue here isn’t Ben Affleck, who did what most people might instinctively do. The issue is Skip (Journalism 101) Gates.

And the Boston Herald’s Mark Perigard nailed him on it in Thursday’s edition.

‘Roots’ censorship shows host Gates has got to go

Faces of America

Stop stalling, PBS.

You know what needs to be done.

Either cancel “Finding Your Roots” or fire host, executive producer and Harvard professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr.

 

As Perigard notes, Gates could have used this whole kerfuffle as a “teachable moment.”

He could have reminded [Affleck] he is not responsible for the sins of his ancestors.

He could have appealed to his ego and told him his reputation would only be enhanced by 
acknowledging this shameful bit of family history.

He could have informed him that previous guests — including Anderson Cooper, Derek Jeter and Ken Burns — have discovered slave owners lurking in their family trees.

Most critically, Gates should have recognized his own obligation to the truth.

 

But he didn’t.

The great Henry Louis Gates Jr. tried to cover his ass.

And, as Mark Perigard says, his ass should now be fired.

(More, no doubt, to come as we head downstairs for today’s papers.0


Hark! The Herald! (Flack Scratch You Back Edition)

April 23, 2015

From our Walt Whitman desk

For years, the hardreading staff has noted in awe the ability of the Boston Herald to celebrate itself and sing itself in the paper’s purported news pages.

But Wednesday’s edition of the selfie local tabloid might represent its greatest achievement yet: An interview with the Herald’s editor by the Herald’s favorite flack.

To half-wit:

This purported column by barely read Talkers magazine publisher Michael Harrison about barely heard Boston Herald Radio.

Forward-looking Herald charting a new course

Boston Herald Editor-in-Chief Joe Sciacca is a newspaperman with truth in his heart, ink in his blood and digital Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 12.40.50 AMvibrations in his brain.

Along with a multigenerational team of information practitioners, Sciacca has transformed what was purely a print publication into a multimedia news organization that spawned its own online radio station.

 

Seriously? Truth in his heart? Multimedia news organization?

Think the up to 17 Boston Herald Radio listeners know that?

You do the math.


Page One Hill-arity Ensues at Boston Dailies

April 21, 2015

From our One Town, Two Different Hillarys desk 

(First in what we expect will be a long-running series)

It’s gonna be like this every time Hillary Clinton (D-Chelsea) goes to New Hampshire.

Boston Globe:

 

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From the piece by Annie Linskey and James Pindell:

During a stop at Whitney Brothers, a furniture company in Keene, [Clinton] laid out a tax reform philosophy that would differentiate between businesses like that one and those that “are just playing back and forth in the global marketplace to get one tenth of one percent of advantage” and were “at the root of some of the economic problems that we all remember from 2008.”

She also cast herself as a defender of Social Security and tried to demonstrate that she shares common cause with factory workers struggling to get by.

 

Uh-huh.

Crosstown at the Boston Herald, Clinton’s definitely no woman of the people.

 

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From the piece by Matt Stout and Prisca Pointdujour:

Clinton came [to Keene] for her first stop in the Granite State since announcing her 2016 Oval Office campaign. The former U.S. secretary of state toured Whitney Brothers, a family-owned children’s furniture business, and huddled with employees for a much-publicized roundtable — but never pressed the flesh with several dozen people huddled outside.

Most of the ignored backers were also young — a key demographic for the former first lady.

 

Also no doubt struggling to get by. Or at least get acknowledged.

Just for good measure, Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld piled on:

Listen up, voters: Hilary doesn’t have time for you

So it looks like Hillary Clinton’s idea of a “listening” tour is strictly invitation only.

Just ask the good people of Keene, N.H., a liberal hamlet where a half-dozen workers at a business hand-picked by Clinton’s Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 3.06.06 PMcampaign made the cut. But dozens of unscreened voters standing outside in the rain? Sorry, Hillary won’t be “listening” to you.

And voters better get used to it, because Clinton can pretty much do whatever she wants until next fall. Who’s going to protest, her Democratic primary 
rivals? There aren’t any. The media? Most are in the tank.

 

Not the Herald, though. In all matters Clinton, the feisty local tabloid is the tank.


Stith in Delayed Time at the Boston Globe

April 20, 2015

From our Late to the Pity Party desk

Former US ambassador to Tanzania and current director of Boston University’s African Presidential Center Charles Stith has a beef with BU.

(Full disclosure: The hardreading staff is a non-tenured professor at BU so we – seriously – have no dog in this fight.)

Saturday’s Boston Herald featured this opening salvo:

Envoy slams closure of BU African center

Rev. Charles Richard Stith

Former U.N. Ambassador to Tanzania Charles R. Stith is slamming Boston University for shuttering a school center dedicated to promoting democracy and market reform in Africa, calling the June 30 closure a “great loss for the city of Boston.”

“The president of Boston University has made the decision to defund the African Presidential Center,” Stith, the center’s founder and director, told the Herald, referring to BU president Dr. Robert A. Brown.

“We are obviously disappointed. … But I’m not surprised because it is consistent with the university’s marginalization of African-Americans in the BU community. Quite frankly,” Stith said, “I think it is a great loss for Boston University and a great loss for the city of Boston.”

 

The Boston Globe has been a day late and a dolor short on the BU dustup, but Adrian Walker inserts the stately local broadsheet into the mix in his Metro column today.

Fight over African center heats up at BU

There’s nothing diplomatic about the battle being waged between Boston University and the Rev. Charles R. Stith, the former US ambassador to Tanzania and longtime civil rights activist.

BU has decided to pull the plug on the African Presidential Center, which Stith founded in 2001, when he returned to Boston from his diplomatic posting. The center’s stated purpose is to further understanding of Africa, particularly its political and economic trends. It hosts former African presidents as visiting dignitaries, participates in conferences, and sponsors research.

Barring something unforeseen, the center will close at the end of this academic year, and the dispute over its closing is being waged in unusually blunt terms. Stith describes it as a part of a pattern of marginalizing blacks on campus. BU says Stith simply hasn’t honored his obligation to raise enough money to keep the center’s doors open; it is no more complicated than that.

 

Walker’s bottom line:

The issue of racial insensitivity is not new for BU. In December, Brown’s refusal to appear at a City Council hearing exploring campus diversity irritated councilors. He relented only under the imminent threat of a subpoena from the council.

And in a 2012 report, BU’s Faculty Senate did the math on the school’s diversity, and the results were terrible. Of roughly 2,000 faculty members, a total of 73 identified as black or Latino. The student body was 3 percent black.

“While there are aspects of the city of Boston that make this particularly challenging, no other Boston-area university has ratios as low as ours,” its authors wrote of the faculty breakdown.

 

Ouch.

BU spokesman Colin Riley said in a statement that “Boston University did not ‘defund’ the center” and that “We met with Ambassador Stith to discuss the fact that the APC would not have sufficient funds to operate through the end of the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2015, and that in the absence of the center acquiring those funds, it would have to close. … APC assured us on several occasions that funding to continue was forthcoming, yet it was not.”

Funding might not be forthcoming, but fireworks most assuredly are, now that both local dailies are in the mix.

We will, as always, keep you posted.


The Football v. The Fork: Cathay Pacific’s Boston Ads

April 18, 2015

From our Late to the Landing Party desk

Boston’s Logan Airport is having an international moment.

Via Aviation Pros:

Massport Board Approves Operating Agreements For Three New International Airlines

The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) today voted to approve the operating agreements for Cathay Pacific, Aero Mexico and El Al. All three airlines are set to begin service at Logan this spring; the earliest is Cathay Pacific whose inaugural flight is on May 2nd. All three airlines will operate out of Terminal E.

 

Of course, Cathay Pacific’s advertising announcement is – wait for it – quite different in the Boston dailies.

Boston Globe ad yesterday:

 

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Boston Herald ad yesterday:

 

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Wait, what?

Globe readers are a football, but Herald readers are a fork?

The headscratching staff has consequently sent this message to the fine folks at Cathay Pacific:

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am a media analyst in Boston and the author of It’s Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town (http://goo.gl/h7rmbq).

I have noted that Cathay Pacific ran two different ads in the April 17th editions of the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald regarding your upcoming service at Logan Airport.

Would you be so kind as to describe your thinking behind that choice?

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
John Carroll

 

As always, we’ll keep you posted.


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