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:

Picture 1

 

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

Picture 2

 

Picture 3

 

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.

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,253 other followers