Boston Herald Auctions Off More Editorial Content

October 10, 2018

As the hardreading staff has noted on numerous occasions, the Boston Herald has routinely employed its kissin’ cousin, Boston Herald Radio, as a launching pad for stealth marketing. The digital broadcast platform, which boasts up to several listeners daily, is a convenient venue to interview advertisers, providing content that the Herald has reprinted with diminishing disclosure.

Representative sample from earlier this year:



It’s no accident that you can barely read the “Sponsored Content” disclaimer at the top of the page. That’s how stealth marketing works best.

Now, however, the sneaky local tabloid has gone one step further with its ads in sheep’s clothing, as evidenced by page 3 of today’s edition.



(To be clear graf goes here)

To be clear, both sides of that page are advertisements, despite this attempt to make the left-hand side seem just like  a regular interview.

The Center for Wellbeing clinical director Dr. Jeffrey Donatello joined Boston Herald Radio’s “The Rundown” program yesterday to talk about his company’s use of stem cells in Portsmouth, N.H., to help with arthritis. Here are excerpts . . .



(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, the web version of the adterview is labeled “Sponsored Content.”



But that doesn’t excuse the lack of disclosure in the print edition, which a lot more people will see.

Moral of the story: When it comes to the stealthy local tabloid, caveat reader.

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.

Boston Herald Plants Advertising Deeper Into News

February 3, 2018

The sneaky local tabloid just keeps getting sneakier.

As the hardreading staff has noted on multiple occasions, the Boston Herald’s publication of stealth marketing (a.k.a. “sponsored content”) has steadily become more and more – ah – stealthy, as the labeling of same grows smaller and smaller.

(Pop quiz: Is that an oxymoron, or are we?)

For example, here’s how sponsored content for intimate apparel retailer Rigby & Peller was labeled in March of 2016.



Then there’s this advertorial for the Massachusetts State Lottery from a year ago.



And now comes this from yesterday’s edition of the stealthy local tabloid. (Inexplicable Little Green 1 at no extra charge.)



Do we detect a pattern emerging here?

All of those ads in sheep’s clothing originated in interviews on Boston Herald Radio, which has up to several listeners but which more importantly provides the Herald with a steady stream of stealth marketing opportunities.

Given the Local Dailies DisADvantage the thirsty local tabloid labors under, that just might be the best it can do.

Boston Herald Shrinks Re: Stealth Marketing Disclose

February 3, 2017

As the hardreading staff has noted previously, the Boston Herald has never been overfastidious about distinctions between marketing and news. But the stealthy local tabloid has just gotten one level sneakier.

Today’s edition features this page topped by “sponsored content” touting special Massachusetts Lottery scratch tickets for the Patriots and other New England sports teams. (Inexplicable Little Green Number sold separately.)




Even closer up, the disclosure is pretty minimal.




That’s clearly a step down from the Herald’s previous perfunctory labeling.




Of course, native advertising works best when it labels itself least. The more you think it’s editorial content, the better for the marketer.

And the better for the sneaky local tabloid too.

Boston Herald Hoodwinks Readers with Ad-itorial

March 9, 2016

The Boston Herald has never been shy about mixing promotion and news content, as the hardreading staff has routinely noted. But the stealthy local tabloid is getting bolder and sneakier about it at the same time.

Page 10 of today’s edition:


Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 12.54.45 PM


Notice especially what’s discretely tucked away upper left.


Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 12.55.18 PM


Obviously, U.K.-based intimate apparel retailer Rigby & Peller bought a twofer from the Herald: that print piece and an interview on Boston Herald Radio, a streaming audio service that up to dozens of people hear each day.

(The dicey local tabloid did much the same for the Massachusetts State Lottery last month, renting out both radio and print for a Frosty Cashword promotion.)

(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, the Q&A is labeled Sponsored Content, as is the website version. But . . . on the Herald homepage it is not labeled.


Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 11.12.43 AM


We’re guessing the radio interview wasn’t tagged as a paid promotion either. So awkward.

Not to mention convenient.

Boston Herald Joins Globe in Editorial Bake Sale

December 18, 2015

As the hardreading staff has noted in detail, the Boston Globe has of late been leasing out editorial content to paymates of various stripes, from Rockland Trust to Suffolk University to Steward Health Care System.

And now, not surprisingly, the stealthy local tabloid wants in on the auction – in this case via Boston Herald Radio, the streaming audio service that up to dozens of people listen to.

Today’s Herald, page 17:


Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 4.19.45 PM


Upper right:


Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 4.20.34 PM


The frosty (cashword) local tabloid has often run excerpts from BHR interviews alongside its daily promotional ad. But this is the first time the interview is “Sponsored Content” – that is to say, an ad itself.

We get it that newspapers have to come up with creative ways to generate revenue, which is one reason all this sponsored content is suddenly popping up.

We’re just wondering if there’s any bottom to that well.

Boston Globe Lends Capital to Suffolk University

December 4, 2015

It wasn’t that long ago that the Boston Herald served as a sort of satellite campus for Suffolk University, teaming up on everything from polling to webcasts to editorial content.

But now Day Hop U has transferred out of the flunky local tabloid and enrolled in the Boston Globe’s Capital section.

Page One of today’s $tately local broadsheet (see bottom).


Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 12.23.19 PM


And Page One of the Capital section (see top and bottom).


Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 12.24.45 PM



Inside, readers get a fuller picture of the Globe/Suffolk collaboration, especially the Suffolk Solutions – what to call it? – marketing initiative that also include Globe reporter Joshua Miller’s Political Happy Hour (which now features a Suffolk University logo). The ad on page 3:


Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 12.26.46 PM


For the body copy-impaired:


Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 12.38.17 PM


If you go to the Suffolk Solutions site embedded in, you find this “Sponsored” home page:


Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 12.44.13 PM

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 12.44.58 PM


And here’s the video, which features Rachel Cobb, associate professor and chair of Suffolk University’s Department of Government, who’s also featured in the print ad.



Don’t be surprised if Dr. Cobb also finds her way into some of the Globe’s editorial coverage of local politics.

The Suffolk alliance is the second of these sponsorships the Globe has recently unveiled (the hardreading staff noted this one with Rockland Trust in the Business section last month).

But – wait – there’s yet a third, comfortably nestled in the Globe’s front-page News in brief column:


Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 12.24.20 PM


Yes, apparently the $tately local broadsheet has also auctioned off James Pindell’s Ground Game vertical covering the presidential primaries. The highest bidder? Steward Health Care System.


Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 1.01.21 PM


We look forward to further leasing out of the Boston Globe’s editorial content. Your suggestions go here . . .

Ask John Henry: What Exactly Does a Globe ‘Sponsor’ Get?

January 13, 2014

As the hardwalking staff set out on its post-prandial promenade last night, we happened upon WBUR’s rebroadcast of Boston Red Sox/Boston Globe owner John Henry’s address to the local Chamber of Commerce last week. Most news reports mentioned that the Globe would explore new ways of attracting advertisers and sponsors to help build its revenue base, but the Boston Business Journal was a bit more forthcoming:

[Henry] heralded the Globe’s ongoing roll-out of a new, sponsored sports product — The Score — while saying little about how the new section will differ from the newspaper’s traditional sports coverage or why advertisers might direct their marketing dollars toward one option versus the other.


Question #1: Where is the sponsored content in The Score? We’re looking at Sunday’s edition of the “sponsored sports product” and all we see is an ad for Sullivan Tire, an ad for Jaguar Woburn, and a whole lot of nothing else.

Question #2: What exactly will Globe sponsors – assuming there are any – get for their money?


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Who Approved This Message: A Look at Campaign Ads (10/21/10)

Campaign Ads Invade Mass. Homes (9/29/10)

Boston Mayoral Election (10/26/09)


‘The Newsroom,’ Season 2: HBO Journodrama Jumps the Snark (7/16/13)

‘Mad Men’: The Redemption of Don Draper? (6/25/13)

Why Sponsored Content Is Bad For Journalism (3/19/13)

Sex, Violence And Goats Eating Chips: Super Bowl Ads (1/24/13)

Facebook Announcements Can Be Confusing. Let Us Explain (12/6/12)

Reality A No-Show In 2012 (9/5/12)


U.S. Senate Media (11/3/09)

U.S. Senate Advertising (10/2/09)

Gates-gate Media (7/28/09)

It’s Good to Live in a Two-Newspaper Town (7/21/09)

Times Wants “Clean” Globe for Sale (6/16/09)

FDA Smoke and Mirrors (6/12/09)

Paper Shredding At the Globe (6/5/09)

Eye on BI (5/20/09)

Boston Mayoral Ads (5/15/09)

Globe Preaches to Wrong Choir (4/24/09)

Massachusetts Tourism Campaign (4/17/09)

Globe Documents Own Dismantling (4/10/09)


John Carroll’s Take (2007/2008)


Moderator: Wendell Potter, Deadly Spin  (11/30/10)