Why Boston Globe ‘Capital’ with an A?

August 8, 2014

It’s been a couple of months since the Boston Globe launched its weekly section Capital, and for the most part it seems pretty fat (12 pages) and happy (exuberant layouts). The only thing even vaguely controversial about the sections is the spelling of its name.

Globe editor Brian McGrory has a running gag with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on WGBH radio about why it’s Capital with an a not an o. McGrory keeps wriggling out of revealing the paper’s reasons, but here are three possible ones from today’s edition.

 

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Would those ads likely have run in the A or B section if there were no Capital? Probably. But you have to believe a section geared toward political junkies is a more appealing environment for all three advertisers. For the first two, it’s obvious. For Steward Health Care, it’s a bit more oblique.

From Bruce Mohl’s CommonWealth piece last month on why Steward “is missing from the group of health care competitors that have banded together to fight the consent agreement negotiated by Partners HealthCare and Attorney General Martha Coakley”:

Some think the company decided to sit this one out because of its close ties to Coakley. The attorney general in 2010 approved the acquisition by Cerberus/Steward of six Caritas Christi hospitals owned by the Boston archdiocese. Coakley also retains some regulatory oversight over Steward, including a say in whether the health care system can shut down any of its hospitals.

Steward executives, led by CEO Ralph de la Torre, gave big to Coakley when she ran for the US Senate in 2010 and ponied up again earlier this year as she mounted her run for governor. Campaign finance records indicate de la Torre and his wife Wing led a group of Steward executives and spouses who made $500 donations to Coakley on February 26. More Steward officials contributed to Coakley in late March.

In all, Steward executives have contributed more than $18,000 to Coakley since late last year. No other health care system has taken such an interest in the gubernatorial campaign, which may help explain why Steward is less interested in the legal fight over the Partners expansion plans.

 

Interesting. But back to the original question: Why Capital with an a? Maybe because that’s what it hauls in.

P.S. Needless to say, none of the above ads ran in the Boston Herald.


Howie Carr-icatures Boston Globe – Again

August 2, 2014

Nothing cheers up Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr quite like a good case of Globenfreude. So he had to be thrilled with this news:

 

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Note the “Globe Staff” byline: That tells you this is all corporate eyewash that no reporter would attach a name to.

Out of it Carr fashions a three-rail Marty Walsh-John O’Brien-Globe nepotism bank shot.

It’s all relative at Globe

Dear Marty,

This too shall pass. As you well know, in Boston nothing is on the level. But what you may only now be realizing is that the Globe is even less on the level than the State House or City Hall.

You merely point out the fact that John O’Brien, a hack’s hack, was just doing his job, and all of a sudden the bow-tied bumkissers are kicking you down the stairs like you’re Scott Brown.

The Globe has a long and storied history — just ask them. They had a publisher named Taylor, who was succeeded by a guy named Taylor, who was succeeded by a guy named Taylor …

They had an editor named Winship, who was succeeded by a guy named Winship. The paper was then bought by Mr. Sulzberger, who had taken over for Mr. Sulzberger.

 

Pretty thin gruel that quickly runs out of Globe-Globe steam and descends to this:

The editor is named McGrory. He had some old-maid relative who wrote the same column every day for 86 years, all of which began, “Golly gee, isn’t Tip O’Neill a great man?”

 

That’s rich coming from a guy who’s mailed in so many columns, he deserves a Lifetime Achievement Award from the U.S. Postal Service.

Then again, it’s all relative, isn’t it?


Margery Eagan to Boston Globe

July 30, 2014

Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan is taking her talents crosstown to the Boston Globe’s Catholic website, according to Two-Daily Town sources.  She’ll join the vertical the Globe established for John L. Allen Jr., former correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.

The feisty local tabloid will be significantly less feisty without Eagan, who’s never been shy about weighing in on all matters Cathoholic.

Check out Boston Public Radio on WGBH radio this afternoon for further details from Globe editor Brian McGrory.

And all best, Margery.

UPDATE: Here’s the Globe press release.

Margery Eagan Named Spirituality Columnist For Crux, A New Website Covering Catholicism

BOSTON (July 30, 2014) – Margery Eagan, a well-known Boston columnist and radio talk show host, will become the spirituality columnist for Crux, a website devoted to Catholicism being launched by Boston Globe Media Partners in early September.

Eagan has been a columnist at the Boston Herald since the early 1980s, interrupted by a stint as a senior writer at Boston Magazine. She will continue to co-host “Boston Public Radio,” a daily current events talk show, with Jim Braude on WGBH Radio (89.7 FM).

In her column for Crux, Eagan will explore issues of spirituality, contemplation, and devotion, drawing on her personal experience with her Catholic faith, as well as that of other Catholics and those of various religious traditions.

“Margery has had a longstanding fascination with issues around spirituality and has spent no small part of her adult life exploring deep issues involving her Catholic faith,” said Globe editor Brian McGrory. “We couldn’t be more delighted to add her smart, engaging voice to our strong roster of reporters and columnists that will be the backbone of this new site.”

Crux will be a standalone website that covers the institution of the church, with particular focus on how the words and actions of Pope Francis affect Catholics worldwide. It will delve into the practices and challenges of living a Catholic life, and publish the wide-ranging thoughts and opinions of Catholics and others. It will be found atwww.cruxnow.com. Readers can follow Crux on Twitter, @Crux, and Facebook,facebook.com/crux.

Teresa Hanafin, editor of the new site, said Eagan’s exploration of her own spirituality through retreats and extensive reading will add a valuable dimension to Crux. “There are many, many Catholics who engage in a very deep, spiritual examination of their faith and their personal relationship with God,” Hanafin said. “Margery is of that world. She understands it, she experiences it, and now she will discuss it with the readers of Crux.”

A native of Fall River, Massachusetts, Eagan received a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Stanford University. She has written for the Fall River Herald News, the New Bedford Standard Times, the Burlington Free Press in Vermont, Boston Magazine, and the Globe. She has appeared on CNN and Fox News, and is a regular panelist on “Beat the Press,” a media criticism show that is part of the “Greater Boston” public affairs show on WGBH television.

 


After Cab Expose, Boston Globe Has a Hohler Nother Problem

July 5, 2014

The Boston Globe’s taxidermy of the local cab industry last year has left some tire tracks on the stately local broadsheet. From the start, as the hardreading staff dutifully chronicled, crosstown rival Boston Herald has been on the Globe’s Driven to the Edge series like Brown on Williamson, especially since Globe reporter Bob Hohler got into an accident while posing as a cab driver. (Globe editor Brian McGrory insisted at the time that “[Hohler] was not masquerading as a cab driver, he was a cab driver.” And a reporter. Potato-potahto. Yesterday, the frisky local tabloid reported that the whole thing has gone to lawyers.

Pair sue reporter in cab crash

A Boston Globe reporter who went undercover as a cab driver for a series of reports on the city’s taxi industry is being sued by two of his passengers, who are claiming more than $12,000 in medical expenses after a late-night crash in November 2012. Passengers Daniel Kim and Jiwoon Choi of Boston both endured “serious personal injuries, great pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost wages and/or diminished earning capacity” after their cab, driven by Globe reporter Bob Hohler, was struck by another car at the intersection of Stuart and Clarendon streets. The suit claims Hohler failed to “exercise due care” in driving the cab. Choi claimed she suffered a fractured left orbital bone, as well as neck, head and back injuries, racking up medical bills of $9,248. Kim injured his right knee, head and left hand with medical bills of $3,600, according to the suit filed in Boston Municipal Court.

 

The harddoubting staff doesn’t expect the Globe will report the suit in today’s edition, but we’ll keep you posted.

P.S. It didn’t.


Globe Can’t Keep Cab Story Straight

April 5, 2013

The Boston Globe newsroom might want to call a cab-inet meeting sometime soon, because it’s sending mixed messages about the paper’s three-part takeout on the Boston taxicab industry.

Start with reporter Bob Hohler, who spent eight nights driving for Boston Cab last fall, which he chronicles in the final piece of the series. In this interview posted on the Globe website, Hohler describes how he conducted his investigation.

Q: Did anyone know you were a Boston Globe reporter? How did you handle disclosure?

A: I drove for Boston Cab for eight nights and never got the sense that anybody there knew that I was a reporter. When I applied there I said I worked for the NYT Company  . . .  the New York Times owns the Globe. As for my occupation I said sports because I’m a sportswriter.

Q. But if they had said – I know the way it works – if they had said Are you a Boston Globe reporter you would say Yes I am. But no one asked you.

A. Absolutely. I would have told them that I’m here to try to get the experience, to try to learn.

 

Apparently the burden of disclosure was on Boston Cab.

So Hohler is guilty of a sin of omission, if one at all. Even so, that’s a time-honored journalistic practice in undercover investigations. When he was asked in the interview “what did becoming a taxi driver afford you accesswise that you wouldn’t get as a reporter,” Hohler replied, “Oh – everything.”

Globe editor Brian McGrory, though, sounded a much different note during Wednesday’s Jim and Margery show on WGBH radio.

Bob Hohler, a cab driver back in the 1970s, who brought this idea to us, went out, got his hackney license, drove a cab – unlike the way Margery’s paper [the Boston Herald] portrayed it, he was not masquerading as a cab driver, he was a cab driver, he got his license.

This was not an undercover operation. He went out and he immersed himself in that community and we did exactly what a newspaper is supposed to do. It was a major time investment, major financial investment, and it has gotten swift results.

 

Less  than a minute later, McGrory reiterated his position: “We never went undercover – let’s be clear about that. The word ‘undercover’ carries implications that just aren’t necessary here.”

But, all due respect, that certainly seem to fit.


Boston Globe on a Page One Headline Tear

February 18, 2013

First there was this shoutout from Jim Romenesko for Saturday’s Boston Globe front-page headline:

BOSTON GLOBE HEADLINE ‘HAS TO BE ONE OF THE YEAR’S BEST’

“Admittedly, I’m biased, as both a Thomas Pynchon idolator and Globe staffer(though I had nothing to do this hed and don’t know who did),” writes Mark Feeney. “But this hed for our two p. 1 stories today on the Russian meteorite has to be one of the year’s best. ‘A screaming comes across the sky’ is great in and of itself, being both accurate and vivid — and as any Pynchon fan can tell you it’s also the first sentence of his masterpiece, ‘Gravity’s Rainbow.’”

- Boston Globe, Feb. 16

– Boston Globe, Feb. 16

--  First lines of Thomas Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow"

— First lines of Thomas Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow”

 

 

Then came this Boston Sunday Globe Page One headline:

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Not to mention the four – count ‘em, four – full pages that followed:

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Per Mark Feeney, regardless of who’s responsible for these headlines, someone at the Globe – maybe new executive editor Brian McGrory – has the soul of a poet.

Good for them. And for us.

 

 


Herald: City Haul in Menino’s Absence

November 16, 2012

It’s now three weeks Boston Mayor Tom Menino’s been in the hospital with a Whitman’s Sampler of symptoms, and not surprisingly, political maneuvering is the order of the day (although anyone who bets against Menino running again doesn’t really care about his money).

According to the Boston Herald, it’s all hijinks and shenanigans down at City Hall. Via the Newseum’s Today’s Front Pages:

Seems a bit hyperventilating to the hardreading staff, but that’s nothing new for the feisty local tabloid. Nor is the double coverage from bookend columnists.

Peter Gelzinis:

For once, the council prez chase matters

It seems that the growing public concern over Mayor Thomas Menino’s indefinite hospitalization has been exceeded only by the simmering political intrigue within the chamber of the Boston City Council.

As one insider put it yesterday, “The long knives are starting to come out.”

With each day the mayor spends at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the presidency of the City Council suddenly looms larger and larger.

“No one will dare admit it right now,” said a council watcher, “but all of them know that thistime, being council president might actually mean something.”

Say – are we zoned for that?

Joe Battenfeld:

Voters primed to pick black or Latino pol

The stars are aligned for Boston voters — as soon as next year — to make some long overdue history.

Whether Mayor Thomas M. Menino finally decides to retire or not, there’s a good chance his successor will be either black or Hispanic.

That would be ho-hum news in most other major cities, but not in Boston, where every single mayor for the past 190 years has been a white male. That’s an astounding distinction, considering that nearly half of Boston’s registered voters are now minorities.

“Distinction” sounds so positive; maybe we could call it an aberration.

Meanwhile, crosstown at the Boston Globe, the Corner Office  Steeplechase gets not two columns, but two paragraphs in Brian McGrory’s piece today.

On to the mayoralty. For years, every time I’ve thought about joining the chorus that says Thomas M. Menino should retire, I do something crazy. I look around this city. And what I see is a waterfront that may be the most booming urban neighborhood in America, clean streets and cranes in Dudley Square, a relatively low crime rate, stable property values, and sections from the North End to the South End that are packed with diners, play-goers, and just plain strollers through the week. Menino may not be fancy, but his effectiveness is indisputable. But today marks his 21st day at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which means that every member of that august legislative body known as the Boston City Council is plotting his or her own mayoral campaign for 2013. It’s a little scary when you consider that whenever anyone calls a recess at a City Council hearing, the entire group runs frantically for the doors to play kickball outside, juiceboxes in hand. Not that kind of recess, guys.

McGrory then turns Great Mentioner, listing a handful of possible candidates from Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley to Suffolk Construction CEO John Fish.

Wait – is that Tom Menino we hear? He says Go Fish.

 


Surprise! It’s the Globe That’s Bashing Elizabeth Warren

November 9, 2012

Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren’s Marcel Marceau press conference yesterday got – wait for it – very different treatment in the local dailies today. But in a rare role reversal, it’s the Boston Herald giving her a free pass, while the Globe gave her  a tune-up.

Herald piece:

Expert: Liz Warren’s jitters expected at presser

U.S. Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren’s jittery first press conference since the election was likely a combination of the political neophyte’s exhaustion and caution as she gets ready to head to Washington, D.C., to take on the high-stakes job, according to a political observer.

“She’s been concentrating so hard on the campaign, I’m sure she’s pretty tired,” said John C. Berg, a political science professor at Suffolk University. “I also think she doesn’t want to go into the Senate having made commitments she regrets.”

Maybe, but she certainly got news coverage to regret. Start with the front page story in the Globe:

Elizabeth Warren holds back with reporters

It was a bit of a rough start for Senator- elect Elizabeth Warren, who held her first official press conference following her victory Tuesday. Suddenly, the voluble Harvard Law School professor and longtime media commentator sounded uncertain and impatient, offering terse answers to questions about fiscal policy and the success of women candidates.

“I’m glad” was all she said when asked to expound on the support she received from women voters and on the influx of women elected Tuesday. Asked to elaborate, she refused, saying: “I’m glad that women turned out to vote for me. I’m delighted.”

Asked a third time, Warren turned to Governor Deval Patrick, who was standing at her side at the State House press conference. “You want to try this?” she said.

Globe columnist Brian McGrory was willing to grab some of it.

Elizabeth Warren a woman of few words

For the sake of Massachusetts, let’s hope that Elizabeth Warren gets better than this.

She was always a mildly underwhelming candidate, clutching her talking points like they were a satchel of gold — millionaires and billionaires, a level playing field, big oil. As deft as she was at slogans, she was never so good at answering questions, which was odd for a person of such experience and substance.

Her acceptance on Tuesday night continued that odd tradition — her stump speech warmed over with a midway nod ­toward her vanquished opponent, Scott Brown. It was hard to fathom that she couldn’t offer a few meaningful words on what it means to capture the honor of representing Massachusetts in the US Senate.

But none of this could have prepared anyone for the scene that unfolded Thursday afternoon in the governor’s suite of the State House . . .

. . . which, McGrory continues, is more than a little problematic:

Yes, she is tired. Of course, it’s all new. Admittedly, this is about style.

But election night was lazy. Thursday was disrespectful. If Elizabeth Warren is better than this, and there is every hope and belief that she is, it’s time to start showing it now.

Who knows – the Herald might even notice.

 


Brian McGrory: Assignment Desk for the Boston Herald

October 21, 2012

On Friday, Boston Globe columnist Brian McGrory submitted this piece (boink! sorry, paywall):

Ads up; it’s just way too much

I was walking near Copley Square one recent morning when I made a profound mistake. I stopped to appreciate the scenery.

Here’s what I expected: Urban beauty in the form of the grand dame of a hotel, the Fairmont Copley Plaza, and the contrast between Trinity Church and the Hancock Tower, and the sheer dignity of the McKim Building at the Boston Public Library.

Here’s what assaulted me instead: Advertisements. Suddenly, they were everywhere, glowing, sprawling, backlit ads pouring forth from too many places in this once subtle city. Consider a single block of Boylston Street, directly outside the doors of the library.

We begin with a sidewalk restroom that carries a huge ad for, among other things, Maggiano’s Little Italy, which I’m not sure is a selling match.

And there were multiple other ads within a small radius of Copley Square, leading McGrory to this conclusion:

If we had this many ads in this newspaper every week, I’d be a better-dressed man.

McGrory’s column also led to this conclusion in the next day’s Boston Herald:

Signs ad(d) to Bostonians’ discontent

Back Bay and Beacon Hill brownstone dwellers are up in arms over plans to plant nearly 50 17-foot illuminated billboards in Hub neighborhoods — the latest skirmish in a controversial decade-long ad campaign.

“We’re talking about maintaining the quality of life in Boston, which is pretty good, and I don’t think this helps anybody other than the advertising companies,” said Howard Kassler, chairman of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay.

There’s no question the Herald report went beyond McGrory’s column in terms of covering neighborhood reaction and detailing the city’s deal with the billboard company.

But there’s also little doubt (at least among the hardreading staff) that the coverage was spurred by McGrory’s column.

That’s what a two-daily town is all about.

 


Romney Gone Mittsing at the Herald Edition

July 28, 2012

Friday’s Boston Herald was all hands on duck – sorry, deck – covering the local filleting of Chick-fil-A over statements by its anti-gay-marriage CEO Dan Cathy. Page One alone gives you a sense of the Herald’s flood-the-zone coverage of the big buck-buck-bucks faceoff over the chicken chain’s expansion into Boston.

Via the Newseum’s Today’s Front Pages:

The hardcounting staff tallied four-plus pages and eight separate pieces (enough for a Chick-fil-A bucket?) in Friday’s Herald devoted to the dustup.

Which meant there was no one left to adequately mock Mitt Romney for his five-ring circus in London.

In fact, Friday’s Herald had exactly zero stories about Romney’s Olympic Mittshaps. That task fell to Friday’s Boston Globe, which featured:

1) This front-page report

Romney words on Olympics readiness draw British riposte

British Prime Minister David Cameron and England’s famously tough media tweaked Mitt Romney Thursday after the presumptive Republican presidential nominee suggested that London might not be ready for its Olympic moment.

“It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out,” said Romney, who ran the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. “There are a few things that were disconcerting: the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging.”

Those comments prompted a quick rebuke from Cameron. “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world,” Cameron told reporters after visiting the venues where the 2012 Summer Olympics will begin Friday. “Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere” — an apparent reference to Salt Lake City.

Ouch.

2) This Brian McGrory column

Mitt Romney, lost in translation

To the good, hard-working people of London, please allow me to apologize on behalf of my former governor, Mitt Romney.

When he basically told an interviewer that you Brits were a bunch of layabouts and that your Olympics would almost certainly be a total disaster, he didn’t mean for you to take it personally. Actually, he didn’t really even mean to say it. That’s just what he does, and it takes getting used to.

Will today’s Boston Herald make up for its lack of Romney snark attacks?

We’ll see.

 


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