Boston Globe Print Circulation Sinks 11% to 68,806

June 28, 2022

From our Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts desk

For the past few years, the hardreading staff has unhappily tracked the knee-buckling declines in the Boston Globe’s daily print circulation, while the Boston Business Journal’s redoubtable Don Seiffert has chronicled the Globe’s halting digital subscriptions.

But we were totally unprepared for William Turvill’s piece the other day in the UK’s Press Gazette.

Top 25 US newspaper circulations: Print sales fall another 12% in 2022

Our top 25 ranking, based on figures shared by the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM), shows that The Wall Street Journal and New York Times retain the largest daily print circulations in the US.

Gannett’s USA Today keeps third place, but is close to seeing its print circulation fall below Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post.

Here’s the top part of AAM’s newspaper circulation chart.

Boston Globeniks: We’re Number 14! We’re Number 14!

Everyone else: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

All due respect.


Do MGB’s Boston Globe Ads Really Have ‘The Facts’?

March 21, 2022

From our kissin’ cousins at Ask Doctor Ads

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and working my way through the Boston Sunday Globe, when I came across this full-page ad for Mass General Brigham touting the healthcare system’s proposed expansion.

The ad’s subhed claims that “The capacity problem is preventing us from caring for the patients who need us the most.”

As you know, Doc, advertising quite often is entirely fact-free, so should we take this campaign at face value? Or what?

– Mess General

Dear Mess,

First, let’s look at the ad’s body copy.

Okay – so according to Mass General Brigham, demand has outstripped supply at the hospital for the past three years.

Except, according to this piece a few weeks ago by Boston Globe reporterJessica Bartlett, the expansion could simply be a naked power grab by the healthcare behemoth . . .

Read the rest here.


Boston Globe Finally Gets Off The Potato Couch

February 10, 2022

As the hardreading staff duly noted a few weeks ago, the Boston Herald was first to eye a looming potato famine for spud-loving locals.

The feisty local tabloid’s Sean Philip Cotter has done area residents a potato solid with this story in today’s edition of the paper.

An impending ‘Spudpocalyspe’

Could Canadian crackdown keep US shelves bare?

A new advertising campaign warns of an impending “spudpocalypse,” chipping into potato supplies and driving price spikes in Massachusetts as Prince Edward Island tubers are hit with a moratorium on exports.

“Shelves will soon be bare … help us stop the spudpocalypse,” blares a video clip for the ad campaign’s new website — spudpocalypse.com. The spot that also features a hand labeled “USDA” swatting away cartoon potatoes as a crunchy rock guitar grooves.

The campaign, from the PEI Potato Board — an industry group for the Canadian province’s spud growers — is meant to gin up public pressure here in potato-hungry Massachusetts after Canadian and U.S. food safety authorities cut the export of potatoes from Prince Edward Island over fears of “potato wart.”

 

As often happens in a no credit where credit’s due newspaper town, the broadsheet-come-lately Boston Globe published this potato mashup yesterday.

A ‘spudpocalypse’ could threaten Mass. french fries and hash browns

Consider yourself warned: The “spudpocalypse” is here.

A Canadian industry group named the PEI Potato Board recently launched an aggressive social media campaign warning of shortages of french fries and hash browns in Massachusetts. Your wedges, tots, and potato skins? All in danger, they claim, because the United States has halted shipments of potatoes from a Canadian isle 600 miles north.

“Prices are rising,” the board cautioned in a video. “Shelves will soon be bare. . . . The USDA is blocking our potatoes.”

 

(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, Diti Kohli’s Globe piece did peel the potato shortage more closely.

Approximately 30 percent of PEI potatoes go fresh to market and retail. Sixty percent are destined for processing, in part to ease a french fry shortage amid the COVID-era strain on the international potato supply. And 10 percent are grown to seed additional harvests.

Still, only 5 percent of potatoes in the United States come from Canada. And Western Massachusetts is home to a few potato farms of its own.

“I don’t think that there’ll be major supply constraints in the future,” Quarles said. Domestic producers “will fill the gaps.”

 

We’ll see if the local dailies will do the same in terms of coverage.


Wait – Boston Globe Readers Don’t Smoke Weed?

January 3, 2022

As the hardreading staff was perusing the local dailies today, we came across this full-page Boston Herald ad for a new marijuana store just down the block from the Lyric Little Bandbox.

We especially liked the jaunty tone of its pitch to become text buddies with the cannabis retailer: “Get updates on exciting products, brands, events, and more sent directly to your phone. Or maybe we’ll just check in, see how you’re doing. Who knows? New relationships are exciting.”

According to this piece by Forbes senior contributor Javier Hasse, MedMen needs all the new relationships it can get.

Publicly traded cannabis company MedMen has had a turbulent year, having had to deal with management shakeups, the ousting of its co-founders and lawsuits. And, although the stock is still up about 16% year-to-date, it has fallen considerably from the $1.29 per share value it reached in February – it’s now under $0.20.

Under the circumstances, we figured there would be a similar Grand Opening ad in the Boston Globe. But . . . nothing. Which is strange given that the stately local broadsheet actually has a Bong Bureau, ably manned by cannabis reporter Dan Adams, who also writes the This Week in Weed newsletter.

Memo to MedMen: Don’t bogart that ad, my friend – pass it over to the Globe.


Boston Globe Lets Doonesbury Strip Kind of . . . Lie

October 11, 2021

First, a disclaimer: The hardreading staff believes that the new Texas vigilante abortion law is an abomination, given that it essentially outlaws abortions in the One Star State.

Accent on essentially, since the bounty-hunting law technically bans abortions after six weeks.

But that’s not what the Boston Globe allowed Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau to charge in its Sunday comics page.

Here’s the problematic panel.

 

 

That’s flat out false.

If the left wants to hold the right accountable for misleading – or lying – to the voting public, the reverse has got to be true as well.

Not to mention Trudeau.


Labor Unions Blast Boston Globe in Boston Globe Ad

June 4, 2021

Contract negotiations between Boston GlobeSox owners John/Linda Henry and the Boston Newspaper Guild (the employee union for The Boston Globe) have been limping along for two-plus years, thanks in no small part to the hardball tactics employed by law firm Jones Day, which is to unions what bowling balls are to tenpins.

As a result, three local unions – the Greater Boston Labor Council, the Greater Boston Building Trade Unions, and the Communication Workers of America – joined forces to run this full-page ad in yesterday’s edition of the $tately local broadsheet.

 

 

Those who venture to DearGlobeReaders.org find this right off the top.

 

 

The website also features press releases about the paper’s proposed outsourcing and elimination of “just cause” protections against arbitrary firings or suspensions. In addition, there’s this accusation: “Behind closed doors, subscriber money is being squandered on attacks against the journalists who bring you the news each day, as many of us put our own safety on the line to do so.”

Those personal stories are reflected in the Boston Newspaper Guild’s Twitter feed as well.

 

 

Sorry to be the skunk at the garden party for the umpteenth time, but if past is prologue, this protest is destined to go pretty much nowhere. None of the NewsGuild’s previous efforts to generate public pressure on the Globe seem to have moved the needle at all.

We’re a long way from the days when average Americans got exercised over the corporate looting of local newspapers the way the good citizens of Atlanta did in the 1980s, which was chronicled in the documentary Fear and Favor in the Newsroom.

When muckraking Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor Bill Kovach resigned in 1988 over “irreconcilable differences” with the management of the Cox media chain, several hundred readers and employees of the AJC draped themselves in black and marched to the paper’s headquarters, where they deposited a newsprint-stuffed coffin labeled “Here lies the truth.”

 

 

But here lies the new truth: That is something you will likely never see in Boston. Or much of anywhere else in the U.S. for that matter. It really is a shame.


Boston Globe Looks for Subscribers . . . in the Herald

April 9, 2021

Well the hardreading staff was clicking through the Boston Herald’s E-Edition at our usual brisk pace when what should we come across but this.

 

 

Wait, what? The stately local broadsheet has taken to the feisty local tabloid to goose its circulation?

Get. Out.

The Globe’s virtual slumming comes at an interesting crisscross(road) for the paper, as illustrated by this graph from the Boston Business Journal.

As the BBJ’s crack managing editor Don Seiffert wrote last winter, it’s always smart to follow the money.

The Globe’s digital circulation has been the envy of regional daily newspapers nationwide in the past couple of years. It was one of the first papers in the nation to have more online subscribers than print ones last year.

The Globe has also raised its print prices to as much as $1,300 a year for some weekday subscribers, which may have accelerated the switch from print to digital. Some have even speculated that forcing readers to switch to online-only, thereby saving the business money, may be an intentional strategy.

Here’s a question, though: How does it make sense to trade a (potentially) $1300 a year print subscriber for a $360 a year digital subscriber? Not to mention, those departing print subscribers mean reduced print ad revenue as well.

Asking for a friend.

Meanwhile, the redoubtable Dan Kennedy at Media Nation provided this update on the Globe’s Fall 2020 circulation numbers, which included roughly 220,000 digital-only subscribers.

Paid print Friday circulation was down to 81,579 as of early September, lower than the 12-month average by about 1,500. A similar slide was reported in the publisher’s statement that appeared on Sunday: print circulation was 139,307 as of Sept. 6, down nearly 10,000 from the 12-month average.

But, Kennedy also notes, “Like many papers, the Globe has been signing up new subscribers at a steep discount. The challenge will be holding onto them once they are asked to re-up at the full rate of $30 a month.”

Which, as best we can tell, is the highest digital subscription rate – by far – of any major metro newspaper in the country.

That’s a whole nother challenge.

Meanwhile, the thirsty local tabloid is downright parched these days, as the BBJ’s Don Seiffert noted several months ago.

The Herald, owned by Denver-based MediaNews Group since March 2018, said in a filing with the Alliance for Audited Media that its total weekday print circulation over the six months from April to September [of 2020] averaged 24,540 per day. That’s down from 34,219 in the same six month span in 2019 — a 28% drop in a single year.

Even more knee-buckling: “Over the six months from April to September [of 2020], single-copy sales of the Herald averaged 12,619 per day, according to the filing. Last year, the average from April to September was 21,331 — a 41% drop.”

Even more knee-buckling: The Herald’s digital subscriptions at the same time were somewhere south of 10,000.

So any advertising revenue is welcome at the scrawny local tabloid – even from the hately local broadsheet.


Boston Globe Bleeds Subscribers for Extra $109/year

January 28, 2021

For the past year or two, the hardreading staff has subscribed to the print edition of the Boston Sunday Globe, which also gets us unlimited digital access to the stately local broadsheet (as well as the print edition of the Saturday Globe, which for some inexplicable reason we started getting for no additional charge).

And then yesterday we got this in our emailbox.

Dear Globe Subscriber,

It’s become a bit clichéd to say that 2020 was a year unlike any other. But there’s no other good way to sum it up. It was a year in which we saw unfathomable death from the global pandemic. We saw so much of our economy collapse. We saw a vital social justice movement. We saw the most important presidential campaign in generations. And we saw an election aftermath unlike any that came before.

We also saw how much journalism mattered . . .

As costs of covering the news have increased, we are increasing the weekly rate by $2.10, effective on your next subscription renewal . . .

Not to get technical about it, but it turns out that by “subscription renewal” the Globe means “your next automatic credit card payment.”

So, starting sort of right now, a hike of $109.20 per annum.

For those of you keeping score at home, Boston Business Journal stalwart Don Seiffert detailed the Globe rate card last year.

The Globe’s subscription rates have historically been considered among the highest of any regional daily in the nation. Its website currently indicates a regular, weekday subscription rate of $21 a week ($1,092 a year), and a Sunday-only rate of $8 a week ($416 per year), after introductory discounts expire . . .

The Globe’s regular online-only subscription rate, before discounts, is $6.93 per week, or $360 annually.

Subscription rates vary widely, but bottom line for us: We could pay $556 to keep what we currently have, or drop the Sunday print edition and save $224 a year.

Which is exactly what we did.

So we gotta ask: Who’s doing the math at the Boston Globe?

As this BBJ chart shows, print subscriptions are cratering at the Globe while online subscriptions rise.

How does replacing departed $1000 print subscribers with (at best) $525 digital subscribers work as a revenue model? Taking a 50% haircut for every lost print subscription hardly seems a recipe for long-term success. (Keep in mind that the Globe’s print circulation in 2013 – when John Henry bought the paper – was 245,572.)

Or are we missing something here?


Boston Globe Ad: German Reunification Is Wunderbar Boston Globe News: Not So Fast

October 5, 2020

Interesting juxtaposition in yesterday’s Boston Sunday Globe.

Item One: This half-page Wunderbar Together ad on A12.

 

 

Body copy:

 

Wunderbar!

Item Two: This pickup on A15 from the New York Times piece by Katrin Bennhold.

 

 

Neo-Nazis go nuts graf:

“Reunification was a huge boost for the far right,” said [Ingo] Hasselbach, who left the neo-Nazi scene years ago and now helps others to do the same. “The neo-Nazis were the first ones to be reunified. We laid the foundation for a party like [Alternative for Germany]. There are things we used to say that have become mainstream today.”

 

Your headscratch goes here.


Boston Globe Whiffs Again on Alex Verdugo’s Past

September 7, 2020

In his Sunday Baseball Notes column, Boston Globe reporter Peter Abraham had this to say in one of his bulleted Red Sox observations.

▪ You can, and should, hate the Betts trade. But Sox fans are clearly warming up to Alex Verdugo.

Verdugo had an .875 OPS through his first 38 games, but it’s much more than that. He plays with passion, and after a few fundamental flubs early in the season has become an excellent outfielder. His seven outfield assists lead the majors. There are 23 teams who don’t have as many.

Verdugo also runs out every ground ball regardless of the score and seems genuinely happy to be playing for the Red Sox. There’s a lot to like.

 

Except, of course, that 2015 business about Verdugo witnessing the assault of a teenage girl by two of his minor league teammates and doing nothing about it. [CORRECTION: It was two women who committed the assault.]

Yesterday’s column was at least the second time that Abraham has put on the pom poms for Verdugo. Here’s what the hardreading staff wrote back in February.

The story has also been all over Twitter this past week. But there was nothing in the stately local broadsheet until this story by Peter Abraham and Alex Speier ran in the Boston Sunday Globe (and was buried on the website).

To call that eyewash is an insult to saline solution everywhere.

 

Especially since it omitted some significant facts, as Jessica Quiroli – who has chronicled the incident in chilling detail on her blog All Heels on Deck – noted on Twitter at the time.

It’s curious that neither one of those pieces by Abraham disclosed John Henry’s dual ownership of the Boston GlobeSox. In fact, very few Globe pieces on the Red Sox include disclosure these days. Even the normally fastidious Dan Shaughnessy, while trashing Red Sox ownership in this piece just up on the web, has dropped disclosure.

And as we’ve previously stated, before you bother pelting us with tweets, a) No, everyone does not know that Henry owns them both, and b) Even if everyone did know, the disclosure should still be in there.

Yes – every single time.