Boston Globe Auctions Off More of Its News Pages

March 12, 2018

As the hardreading staff dolefully noted over the past few years, the Boston Globe’s editorial content has increasingly been playing footsie with marketing partners ranging from Suffolk University to Steward Health Care System to Rockland Trust to the Star Wars franchise.

Now comes Cross Insurance to “present” this page in yesterday’s Boston Sunday Globe Arts section.



(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, the hardreading staff has seen no Cross Insurance tit-for-tad in the $tately local broadsheet. But there is this sponsored content produced by BG BrandLab, the Globe’s in-house shop for producing ads in sheep’s clothing.



Yes yes – we’re aware that a disclosure line sits atop the website, albeit as inconspicuously as possible.

And if you click on the Information doohickey, this drops down.



Raise your hand if you ever click on that doohickey. Yeah, us neither.

Regardless of the level of transparency, we’re just uneasy overall about attaching financial interests to editorial content.

Never the twain should meet, right?

Or are we just hopelessly out of date?


Boston Herald’s Inside Track ‘Throne’ for a Loop

February 22, 2018

Well, this is not encouraging.

In today’s Boston Herald, Inside Track gal Olivia Vanni dishes about author Andrew Morton’s appearance at the Boston Public Library last night to flog his new book about Wallis Simpson, Wallis in Love.

In the course of the evening, Morton’s attention turned to the subject of his next book: Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s fiancée.

As it appeared in the print edition:

Really? “Gave up the thrown”? Twice?

Earlier today it was the same in the online version.

“Edward gave up the thrown. Meghan’s given up ‘The Tig,’ ” said Morton, who spoke at the Boston Public Library about his newly released book, “Wallis in Love: The Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman Who Changed the Monarchy” last night.

“In this modern age, that’s quite the sacrifice,” he jokingly added. “The king giving up the thrown was a mere bauble compared to her voluntarily giving up her Instagram account.”


But now it’s been fixed.

“Edward gave up the throne. Meghan’s given up ‘The Tig,’ ” said Morton, who spoke at the Boston Public Library about his newly released book, “Wallis in Love: The Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman Who Changed the Monarchy” last night.

“In this modern age, that’s quite the sacrifice,” he jokingly added. “The king giving up the throne was a mere bauble compared to her voluntarily giving up her Instagram account.”


(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, it’s just one little mistake, so why make a federal case out of it, right?

It does make one wonder, though: Can the shaky local tabloid really afford to lose 25% of its already skeletal staff, as new owner Digital First Media plans to do?

Feels like not.

Boston Globe Scoops the Herald on Herald Sale

February 15, 2018

For the past several months, the Boston Globe has been playing catch-up to the Herald in covering the sale of the feisty local tabloid.

Today the Globe caught up.

Under the unusual byline “Globe Staff,” the stately local broadsheet reported the details of yesterday’s bake sale.

Bidding for Herald jumped by millions at auction

Digital First Media is poised to become the new owner of the Boston Herald after besting competitors with multiple higher bids during a bankruptcy auction Tuesday that netted nearly $12 million, according to newly filed court documents.

A transcript of the auction held in the office of Herald law firm Brown Rudnick revealed that Digital First opened with a bid valued at around $7.6 million — higher than the offers already in place from two other competitors, GateHouse Media and Revolution Capital Group.

After GateHouse countered Digital First with a slightly higher offer, Revolution Capital dropped out, leaving the two competitors to trade bids several times until Digital First’s final offer proved too rich for GateHouse, according to a transcript of the auction filed with bankruptcy court in Delaware.


And Digital’s final offer? “The Denver-based company, which owns daily and weekly newspapers in Colorado, California, Massachusetts, and several other states, prevailed with a final offer of $9.6 million in cash, $1 million in accrued paid time off to employees, and another $1.4 million in assumed liabilities.”

Crosstown at the Herald, reporter Brian Dowling didn’t have those numbers, but he did spotlight what exactly that breakdown means.

This year, the pension, severance and retirement payments to employees were estimated to reach $3.5 million, according to court papers. The pension, severance and retirement accounts had accrued nearly $25 million in liabilities when the company filed for bankruptcy.


Obviously $2.4 million isn’t gonna put much of a dent in that. Dowling also reported that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is “urging Herald ownership to strike a deal to save workers’ pensions.”

All due respect, Mistah Mayah, the corn is off the cob – unless the bankruptcy judge steps in to change the deal. We’ll find out tomorrow.

Who Knew the Boston Herald Was Worth $12 Million?

February 14, 2018

Eat your heart out, Mort Zuckerman.

Back in September, the real estate magnate sold the legendary New York Daily News to Tronc (rhymes with bonk) for exactly $1 – 50¢ less than the price of the paper’s Sunday edition.

(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, Tronc did assume $30 million in operational and pension liabilities, but hey – a dollar’s a dollar, yeah?

Boston Herald owner Pat Purcell, on the other hand, scooped up a helluva lot more in yesterday’s bake sale of the shaky local tabloid.

From Brian Dowling’s piece in today’s edition of the soldy local tabloid:

Digital First Media enters $11.9M top bid for Boston Herald

Digital First Media won the Boston Herald in a 5-hour bankruptcy auction with a top $11.9 million bid that all but settles who will carry the news organization into the next chapter of the city’s media history.

The newspaper company, which operates as Media News Group and owns hundreds of publications across the country, including the Denver Post, bested two other suitors — GateHouse Media and Revolution Capital. Digital First also owns the Lowell Sun and the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise in Massachusetts.


But that doesn’t mean it’s all roses and lollipops at Fargo Street. As the Boston Globe’s Jon Chesto reports, Digital First Media “has earned a reputation for relentless cost-cutting” – not a good omen for the Herald rank and file.

And, as our kissin’ cousins at One-Daily Town recently noted, Digital First just ditched the Sentinel & Enterprise’s brick-and-mortar home for a “virtual newsroom.”

So maybe you Heraldniks might want to bring some of your personal items home.

Tom Brady’s TAG Heuer Ad Yesterday Was Bad Timing

February 6, 2018

From our Late to the Party Pooper desk

Despite the Boston Globe’s delivery discombobulation yesterday, the hardreading staff was nonetheless remiss in failing to point out this ad in the lately local broadsheet’s Sports section.




Oddly enough, #DontCrackUnderPressure contained exactly zero tweets about Brady’s, well, cracking in Super Bowl LII.

Which says something about either 1) the effectiveness of Tom Brady’s PR machine, or 2) the lack of effectiveness of newspaper ads.

Or maybe both.

Boston Globe Joins Herald in Running Sneak Adtacks

February 5, 2018

As the hardreading staff noted the other day, the Boston Herald has of late increased the amount of its “sponsored content” while decreasing the legibility of its disclosure.

Now the Boston Globe apparently wants to join the stealthy local tabloid in profiting from ads in sheep’s clothing, running this on A12 of today’s edition. (Here’s the digital version on the Globe website.)



(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, sharp-eyed observers will pick up that it’s actually an ad, but not everyone is as perceptive as you, splendid reader. For some, anything with a headline and a byline qualifies as editorial content. Which is exactly what stealth marketing counts on.

Regardless, we’re guessing that the revenue-impaired Globe and the bankrupt Herald will increasingly turn toward this sleight-of-ad as time goes on.

We hope, of course, to be proven wrong.

Globe Duracell Ad Commits Battery on Bill Belichick

February 4, 2018

As the hardreading staff thumbed through its Boston Sunday Globe this morning, we couldn’t help but notice this double-truck ad in a special section called The Greater Debate, subhead “Who’s more responsible for this Patriots dynasty: Brady or Belichick?”



Here’s the body copy:



Notice that nowhere in the ad do the words “Bill Belichick” appear. But he’s there in every line, right? (Clever, that “Foxborough-hole,” eh?)

Which got the headscratching staff to thinking – are they paying Belichick? Or is this just an end-around?

So we hied ourselves to the Googletron and learned that this campaign has been in the news for several days now, both the print campaign and this TV spot.



That ad will air just before kickoff tonight. As far as we can tell, Belichick is not being paid.

Is he happy about this? Is he upset? Is he amused at the creativity displayed by ad agency Wieden + Kennedy?

Would he like us to stop asking questions now?

Who cares?  We want answers.