David M. Jrolf Fondly Remembered in Boston Dailies

December 29, 2016

It’s a rare thing when the local dailies actually align, but yesterday’s lovely crosstown sendoff of David M. Jrolf was one of them.

He was, as the unsigned Boston Herald obit stated, “a respected journalist and beloved editor at the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald.”

 

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Bryan Marquand’s Boston Globe obit was equally generous.

 

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The Herald:

Boston Herald Managing Editor for Production James Potter said Mr. Jrolf was “the consummate professional as the Herald’s Page One editor and head of the news copy desk” in the early 1990s.

“He was a hard-driving boss who pushed everyone on the copy desk to be better,” Potter said. “He had a presence that commanded attention. He knew the stories inside and out. We called him ‘The Giant Newsman,’ which was a moniker not only for his size, but for his great ability to stay up on all news, local, national and international.

“He demanded that we immerse ourselves in the news and it made us all better journalists,” Potter said.

 

The Globe:

The night Princess Diana died in Paris in 1997, Mr. Jrolf had left to go home just before the news broke late one Saturday. Michael Larkin, the Globe’s former deputy managing editor for news operations, was on the phone trying to get reporters to Paris “when I looked up and Dave was walking back into the room. I don’t know whether he heard it on the radio or what. He knew everyone would be needed, and he was there.

“He sat down, turned on his computer and worked with me until 4 o’clock Sunday morning,” Larkin added. “I’ll never forget it. That was one of the most magnanimous gestures. But that was Dave. He wanted to be in on the big stories. He just loved journalism.”

 

And, clearly, journalists loved him.

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Globe Columnist Ignores Herald’s Ayla Brown Scoop

December 26, 2016

TO: Boston Globe columnist Renée Graham

FROM: The hardreading staff

RE: Your Sunday op-ed

First, we hasten to stipulate that we yield to no man in our professional respect for Boston Globe chinstroker Renée Graham.

However . . .

We must needs take issue with her latest piece in the Boston Sunday Globe.

Musicians lead the resistance

Nobody wants to play with Donald Trump.

Or, to be more precise, no one wants to play for Trump. Less than a month before his inauguration, the president-elect and his minions are flapping about trying to convince somebody — anybody — to perform at his various inaugural events. Last week, pop-opera tenor Andrea Bocelli declined Trump’s invitation after some of the singer’s fans threatened to boycott his concerts and albums if he sang a single note at the inauguration.

Bocelli’s refusal joins snubs from Elton John, Garth Brooks, and Celine Dion. So far, no A-list performers are willing to do anything that might suggest support for Trump, especially on a day he likely views more as a coronation than a swearing-in. Mark the moment: This is the first perceptible proof of life for an anti-Trump resistance that has been more bark than bite since Election Day. This is a silent but effective protest from artists usually thrilled to make a joyful noise.

 

Graham adds this: “So far, Trump has booked Jackie Evancho, a 16-year-old former “America’s Got Talent” runner-up, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the latter somehow feeling like yet another swipe at Mitt Romney.”

That’s all well and good.

But what Ms. Graham fails to note is Saturday’s Boston Herald front page.

 

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Ayla, of course, is the daughter of former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Scott Brown), who is currently jockeying to head the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(We’ll pass over in silence that every other candidate for the post is far more qualified than Brown.)

Regardless, an offer from a 2006 American Idol round-of-16er is something the Trump inauguration team – or Renée Graham – should hardly ignore.

In our humble opinion.


Herald Gets Top Billing in Globe Re: ‘Patriots Day’

December 22, 2016

Patriots Day, the latest production from the Wahlberg-industrial complex, is turning into the ultimate Boston Rorschach test.

Exhibit Umpteen: This tweet from the estimable David Bernstein.

 

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The Sean Burns review in NorthShoreMovies David cited includes this:

Before the closing credits roll, “Patriots Day” tacks on almost ten minutes of interview footage from some of the story’s real-life subjects, all of them offering canned aphorisms that sound over-rehearsed. It feels like a pre-emptive bid for exoneration by the filmmakers, proof they got permission to cash in on a city’s still-tender memories in order to massage the ego of their superstar producer. Without this documentary material, the movie would have ended on a shot of David Ortiz shaking Mark Wahlberg’s hand, the real slugger thanking the fake cop for his heroic service.

 

Ouch.

Here’s another pinprick: On G5 of Wednesday’s Boston Globe Food section, there’s this ad for “Patriots Day.”

 

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And check out who gets top billing.

 

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That’s right – the Herald’s Jim Verniere, who wrote in his review that “’Patriots Day’ is a film every American and anyone planning to do us harm should see.”

Crosstown, Globe movie critic Ty Burr – in that same Food section – said something quite different.

Peter Berg’s movie, starring Mark Wahlberg in an invented role, is neither great nor gawdawful. It’s professionally made, slickly heartfelt, and is offered up as an act of civic healing. At best, it’s unnecessary. At worst, it’s vaguely insulting.

 

Roll your own, splendid readers.


Boston Globe Shortens the Weekend

December 16, 2016

Admittedly, the eyes of the hardreading staff are not what they used to be (all that hard reading and whatnot), so we might have missed this previously, but we sure noticed it today: The Boston Globe has trimmed its Friday Weekend section by a half inch in length and width.

From the Globe’s ePaper, here’s the A section, full size (396 x 718).

 

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And here’s the Weekend section, full size (393 x 710).

 

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Doesn’t seem like much difference, but multiply by about 220,000 papers and you’re talking real money. The question is, will the rest of the paper get downsized as well, or is this just a one (lopped) off?

Our guess? The Globe turns smaller all around.


Boston Herald Whiffs on Liz Warren Tiff Riff

December 16, 2016

Let’s start from the start.

On Tuesday, the New York Times ran this Andrew Ross Sorkin piece.

Elizabeth Warren Condemns the Wrong Man

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Senator Elizabeth Warren, furious about President-elect Donald J. Trump’s appointments of finance industry insiders, took to Facebook a little over a week ago to fire off a message to her nearly 2.5 million followers.

She took aim at an individual she described as a “hedge fund billionaire” who is “thrilled by Donald Trump’s economic team of Wall Street insiders.”

The hedge fund manager she condemned was Whitney Tilson, who runs Kase Capital. Ms. Warren — the fiery Massachusetts Democrat who is known for her stern mistrust of Wall Street — called him out by saying, “Tilson knows that, despite all the stunts and rhetoric, Donald Trump isn’t going to change the economic system.” Then she added, “The next four years are going to be a bonanza for the Whitney Tilsons of the world.”

 

Except . . .

Ms. Warren appears to be suffering from the same affliction that Mr. Trump’s critics accuse of him: a knee-jerk, fact-free reaction to something she had read in the news.

In this case, Ms. Warren seems to have come across a Bloomberg News article that includes some quotations from Mr. Tilson. But she didn’t read to the bottom or dismissed it before firing off her zingers.

 

Turns out “Mr. Tilson’s wife, Susan Blackman Tilson, was one of the students in the first Harvard Law School bankruptcy class that Ms. Warren taught, in fall 1992. The student has remained loyal to her professor; Mrs. Tilson wrote in a letter to Ms. Warren last week that she had been ‘cheering from the sidelines as you rose to national attention for your excellent work on behalf of consumers.'”

Oops.

On Wednesday, both Boston dailies picked up on the Times scoop.

Victoria McGrane’s piece in the Boston Globe.

In Warren, some are seeing shades of Trump’s antics

WASHINGTON — A little over a week ago, a powerful politician read something disagreeable in a news article, logged on to social media, wrote a post blasting a private citizen, and sent it to millions of loyal followers.

The politician wasn’t Donald Trump. It was Elizabeth Warren.

And the private citizen, a wealthy hedge fund manager named Whitney Tilson, is going public with his belief that Warren misunderstood the comments he made to a Bloomberg News reporter that prompted the Facebook denunciation from the liberal Massachusetts senator.

 

Wednesday’s Boston Herald had this op-ed from Colin Reed, executive director of America Rising, a Republican communications Super PAC.

Liz losing her grip after Dems’ losses

Foolish Facebook tirade hits at . . . one of own donors

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is coming unglued. Maybe it’s the looming inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. Or maybe it’s the realization that had she — rather than a 75-year old socialist — challenged Hillary screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-1-45-11-amClinton in the Democratic presidential primary season, her party could have had a different nominee.

Whatever the reason, the post-election weeks have not been kind to the former Harvard professor. Consider the most recent head-scratcher. On Monday night, The New York Times published a lengthy story about the Massachusetts senator taking to Facebook to blast a “hedge fund billionaire” who she accused of being “thrilled by Donald Trump’s economic team of Wall Street insiders.”

As the Times noted, there are several major problems with this attack. First, the target of her ire, Whitney Tilson, is not a billionaire. Second, he was not a Trump supporter. He’s actually a longtime and extremely generous donor to the Democratic National Committee and such candidates as Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and, you guessed it, Elizabeth Warren.

 

Yesterday, however, only the Globe had Warren’s predictable moonwalk, via this Yvonne Abraham front-page piece.

Her post went too far, senator says

Elizabeth Warren is still mad as hell at the Wall Street takeover of the next White House. But she’s also a little mad at herself.

That Facebook excoriation of hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson? She shouldn’t have done it, the senator said in an interview Wednesday afternoon. Afterward, she called Tilson to tell him so.

“I think I took it too far,” Warren said.

 

Yesterday’s Herald, on the other hand, had nothing.

Which brings us to today’s edition of the whiffy local tabloid.

Still nothing.

Then again, the Heraldniks have never been all that good at corrections and clarifications, have they?


Is Adriana ‘Cohen Away’ from the Boston Herald?

December 6, 2016

Sharp-eyed readers of the feisty local tabloid might have noticed a few changes this week at Boston Herald Radio.

First, though, here’s what the lineup looked like as recently as last Friday.

 

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And here’s the new one.

 

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The change that jumped out at the hardreading staff was the shifting of Herald columnist Adriana Cohen from the daily 6 to 9 morning slot to an hourlong Wednesday gig at noon.

As Ernie Boch Jr. might say, step on down!

But the more we thought about it, the more we started to wonder if this might be a transitional move while Cohen waits for a spot in the Trump administration.

After all, Yo Adriana was one of the most reliable of Trumpkins during the 2016 presidential campaign, although she tragically failed to make The Daily Beast’s All-Star roster of “The Donald’s Army of Media-Hungry Cable News Boosters.”

Which doesn’t seem right since Cohen was willing to do stuff like this (starting around 1:22):

 

 

But that kind of smashmouth politics is just what Trump tends to reward, so don’t be surprised if Cohen drifts down to D.C. sometime after the first of the year.

(Hey – maybe she and Trump coatholder Howie Carr could room together!)


Boston Globe Pinheads Bring Back Zippy!

December 5, 2016

As the hardreading staff painstakingly chronicled, the Boston Globe dropped Bill Griffith’s Zippy the Pinhead comic strip last August. At the time of the Zipectomy, we had this to say about the management at the stately local broadsheet:

 

Boston Globe editor Brian (Hey – let’s reimagine the paper! We can use John Henry’s garage!) McGrory has now become a first-ballot entry into the Comic Strip Hall of Shame.

 

Well, we officially take that back, because Zippy himself is back. McGrory’s media culpa appears on page 2 of today’s Globe.

 

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From our Before ‘n’ After desk, here are Saturday’s comics pages.

 

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And here are today’s.

 

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And the triumphant return of Zippy.

 

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We’d like to think we had something to do with the Globe’s coming to its senses, but we doubt that’s the case. Still, live and let learn, that’s our slogan.