Is Anything Not For Sale at the Boston Globe? (II)

March 10, 2017

In response to the hardtsking staff’s post yesterday that the Boston Globe was slowly becoming a sort of Adbnb after pimping out its front page on Tuesday and failing to label an editorial-looking ad on Wednesday, splendid reader Mark Laurence submitted this comment:

I don’t get your point. What is it about the Total Wine ad that doesn’t look like an ad to you? Did the graphics look too nice? There wasn’t a single sentence of text on the whole page, something you’d expect in a news story. If you want to complain about fake ads, how about the occasional Herald “road trips” to Florida or some other place that include advertising slogans and graphics in the middle of their reporter’s copy?

 

Well said, and an excellent opportunity to express some of the things we should have included in the original post.

All reasonable questions, Mark. I know it looks like an ad (although the Total Wine typeface feels kind of similar to Globe section headers), and there’s no text other than merchandise listings, etc.

But . . .

The Globe has traditionally labeled full-page ads that looked a lot more like ads with ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT across the top of the page. Beyond that, newspapers are getting into so many other businesses (e.g. the New York Times: Travel agency, educational institution, retailer, conference center . . . see here for further details), it could easily be the Globe selling wine on that page.

My point is this: Stealth marketing erodes editorial credibility incrementally, not all at once. Sort of the way authoritarianism erodes democracy, except not as serious. I’m more concerned with the Globe’s BMC sellout than any relaxation of ad labeling, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about the latter.

As for the Herald, I’ll keep an eye out for the next time the paper sheds an adificial light on the Sunshine State.

 

That’s all for now. But more, we’re guessing, to come . . .

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Is There Anything Not For Sale at the Boston Globe?

March 9, 2017

As the hardreading staff duly noted, on Tuesday the Boston Globe pimped out – for the first time – its front page to the Boston Medical Center.

 

 

The redoubtable Dan Kennedy had this Broadsheet Confidential report at WGBH News.

Globe Editor McGrory Defends Placement Of Front-Page Boston Medical Center Ad

The print edition of [Tuesday’s] Boston Globe includes a banner advertisement that appears above the nameplate at the very top of the page. The ad, for Boston Medical Center, promotes that institution’s addiction services. The placement is unusual enough to have prompted a message to the staff late Monday night from Globe editor Brian McGrory:

Just a heads up to everyone that we have an unorthodox ad on the front page of tomorrow’s print Globe. There’s a copy of it at the bottom of this email. As you’ll see, it’s the same shape and size as our regular strip ads on the front, but it’s at the top of the page rather than the bottom.

We didn’t permit this lightly. The cause of fighting addiction is a noble and vital one. The institution involved, the Boston Medical Center, plays an important role in our community on this and many other issues. And we don’t intend this to be a regular ad position. This is part of a larger campaign that is important to the ad client and significant to the Globe.

Any issues or questions, feel free to raise or ask. Otherwise, thanks as always for your commitment to great journalism.

Brian

 

So the commitment to great journalism includes accommodating what’s “important to the ad client and significant to the Globe.”

Because they’re both on the side of the angels, right?

Except . . .

Yesterday’s edition of the Globe makes the $tately local broadsheet look like it’s on the side of the angles.

From Wednesday’s Food section, what at first glance looks like a two-page editorial spread:

 

 

Wait – where’s the ADVERTISEMENT   ADVERTISEMENT    ADVERTISEMENT at the top of page G3?

 

 

Apparently in someone’s desk drawer at the Globe.

(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, the hardtsking staff can be a bit over-fastidious at times. But still, you have to wonder: How often will what’s important to the ad client and $ignificant to the Globe now dictate the aditorial content of the paper?

Or is the Globe content merely to be the Adbnb of whatever renters come its way?


Advertiser Moves Into Penthouse at Boston Globe

March 8, 2017

Metaphorically speaking, that is.

The hardreading staff’s memory isn’t what it used to be, but we can’t recall the Boston Globe ever selling the top of Page One to an advertiser.

Until yesterday.

 

 

Oddly enough, there’s no Boston Medical Center ad inside yesterday’s edition, the way you’d normally expect. Then again, the front-page banner might be just a teaser. (We’re writing this around midnight on Tuesday, so we’ll update in the AM.)

Coincidentally, yesterday the Wall Street Journal sold the same Page One real estate to another medical facility, NewYork-Presbyterian.

 

 

Again, we admit that we’re fast approaching our dotage, but we also don’t remember the Journal ever turning its top floor into a sort of Adbnb.

The monetization of newspaper front pages has evolved from Shabbat notices on Page One of the New York Times to full-fledged takeovers of front pages to whatever this new phase is.

Not for nothing, but NewYork-Presbyterian could only rent the basement at today’s Times.

 

A whole new version of Upstairs/Downstairs, eh?

P.S. No Boston Medical Center ad in today’s Globe. Huh.


Boston Globe Still Won’t Admit Citgo $ign Conflict

March 6, 2017

From yesterday’s $tately local broadsheet:

 

screen-shot-2017-03-06-at-12-45-09-am

 

As the hardreading staff has dutifully noted for the past year, the Boston Globe has entirely omitted from its extensive coverage of the Citgo sign rumpus any mention that the paper has gleaned at least $25,000 from Save the Sign ads like this one.

 

screen-shot-2016-04-24-at-4-05-36-pm

 

(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, $25,000 is lunch money at the John Henry Gazette, but it’s lunch money the paper should disclose whenever it moans about the Citgo sign’s ultimate fate.

(To be clear graf goes here)

To be clear, it’s not the fault of Globe reporter Tim Logan that his many Citgo sign pieces have lacked disclosure. The fault lies with the Globe’s editors.

Regardless, given the latest assault on the Kenmore Square icon, it’s not unreasonable to expect there will be more ads forthcoming from the Boston’s Sign campaign. Oh, wait – like this full-page ad that coincidentally appeared in yesterday’s Globe.

 

screen-shot-2017-03-06-at-1-44-39-am

 

Here’s something else that’s not unreasonable: To expect the Globe to disclose its financial interest in the Citgo sign whenever the paper covers that story.

But don’t hold your breath.