Boston Globe Not Wholly Owned Subsidiary of UMass

March 23, 2015

Over the past months, the hardreading staff has repeatedly noted the increasing presence of lucrative – and corrosive –  advertising by the University of Massachusetts in the Boston Globe, from co-opting the paper’s front page to bugging its banners to mimicking its editorial content.

But then came this from yesterday’s Boston Sunday Globe:

 

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It’s a tough piece that raises tough questions about the fiscal fitness of UMass.

(To be sure graf goes here.)

To be sure, the hardreading staff never said the Globe was in the tank for UMass. We just questioned the appearance of so many financial ties between the stately local broadsheet and the state’s higher-education system. Those ties didn’t seem to matter in yesterday’s instance.

So, to recap: UMass 3, Boston Globe 1.

The hardscoring staff will keep you posted.

P.S. Undaunted, UMass ran this full-page ad in yesterday’s Globe.

 

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Here for a reason indeed: To outshout any editorial coverage of UMass in the Globe. That’s show biz, eh?

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Another Advertising UMassage at the Boston Globe

March 19, 2015

As the hardreading staff has repeatedly noted, the University of Massachusetts has slowly been colonizing the Boston Globe, stamping itself on the stately local broadsheet like Marty Walsh on City of Boston signage.

Today’s bit of UMasstery:

 

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If it feels a little unseemly how much UMass and the Globe are joined at the hip pocket, Erin Smith’s Boston Herald piece today only makes it unseemlier.

Institute contractors hit up for Globe mag

UMass PR firm solicited ads for Ted K tribute

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The public relations company representing the University of Massachusetts Building Authority, which hired firms to build the new Kennedy Institute, has acknowledged it solicited those contractors for pricey ads in an upcoming Boston Globe commemorative magazine section.

Julie Kahn, an executive with Regan Communications, said she used a list of vendors provided by the institute, named for the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, to make the sales calls for the ads, which started at $15,000 for a half-page.

 

So. Regan Communications has as clients: 1) the UMass Building Authority, a public agency that “financed and oversaw construction of the Kennedy Institute on the UMass Boston campus;” and 2) the Boston Globe, which is publishing “a special section to mark the opening of the Institute.”

So. Regan Communications gets from one client a list of companies involved in the construction of the Institute and uses it on behalf of its other client to solicit paid ads to celebrate said building.

How convenient.

But . . . how appropriate?

Kahn to the Herald: “It went out to everyone they did business with — everyone who profited. I don’t see a conflict. I was just given a list by the EMK Institute that they wanted me to contact. When you do a roast or someone retires, you call all your vendors to give back. This is very common in this business.”

In the PR business, yes. The question here is about the journalism business.

More of Kahn’s defense:

“A lot of contractors were on that list and most of them said, ‘No, we can’t afford it,’ ” she said. “A handful said yes and 80 or 90 percent said no. If there was pressure, I think we would have had a lot more success.”

 

Fine, but that doesn’t speak to propriety either. Competence, maybe, but not propriety.

(To be sure graf goes here.)

To be sure, the headscratching staff hasn’t settled on whether this mishegoss is the stuff of misdemeanor or felony. We lean toward the former, though. Certainly, it doesn’t sink to the level of the Los Angeles Times/Staples Center train wreck back in 1999.

Even so, given how much the Globe and UMass are playing footsie these days, it really doesn’t look – or smell – all that good for the mately local broadsheet.


Boston Globe Goes Full Money – er, Monty – for UMass

February 20, 2015

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, the Boston Globe and UMass are likethis lately.

Pick One: Boston Globe Majors in (U)Mass Marketing or, Boston Globe Pimps Out Page One

The Boston Globe is having quite a financial fling with the University of Massachusetts these days. First it was this “Special Supplement to the Boston Globe” that ran [last fall].

 

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As the hardreading staff noted, that’s “Special” as in “Advertising,” which the Globe would have stated explicitly if it cared to be honest with its readers.

Now comes this doozie in [the 11/13/14] edition of the $tately local broadsheet (photos courtesy of the Missus).

 

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Okay then. That was last fall, when UMass bought the Boston Globe for a day.

Now comes this trifecta in yesterday’s edition of the $tately local broadsheet.

First, the Business section banner:

 

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Then, the bottom of Page One:

 

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Then, the back page:

 

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That pretty much makes yesterday’s Globe Business section a wholly owned subsidiary of UMass.

Ugh.


New School of Advertising: UMass Boston(Globe)

December 18, 2014

As we’ve previously noted, the Boston Globe has been rather – how shall we put it? – ad-aptable lately with UMass, from a special supplement masquerading as editorial content to, most notably, the pimping out of the Globe banner last month.

A splendid reader now sends this to the tsktsking staff:

[H]ave you noticed recently the UMass-Branded Business section in the Globe? I know they’re doing a lot (a lot!) of advertising in the Globe, but the UMass logo placement next to the “Business” banner on the front page of the new section makes it seem almost like a paid advertising section. I saw it there yesterday, and again today. I believe 2-3 times more in the last 10 days.

 

Here’s the one from today:

 

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The splendid reader is correct: The bug also appeared in yesterday’s edition, as well as last Wednesday through Friday. Oddly, on none of those days did UMass run an actual, old-fashioned ad.

And the splendid reader is likewise correct that the bug makes the Globe’s Business section look like a partly owned subsidiary of the Massachusetts higher ed system.

In fairness, though, the Boston Herald looks like a totally owned subsidiary of Suffolk University. So maybe this is just Business as usual.


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 Has Latest Example of Regan-omics

February 15, 2016

The hits from the Suffolk You! rumpus just keep on coming.

From Laura Krantz’s piece in the Boston Sunday Globe:

Connected PR firm soon to lose another college contract

After Suffolk cancellation, UMass authority won’t renew Regan Communications pact

Public relations firm Regan Communications Group, whose contract with Suffolk University was canceled last week, stands to soon lose another lucrative deal with the UMass Building Authority — an agreement originally executed by an authority leader who is also a Suffolk trustee.

The building authority, responsible for construction and renovation projects for the five-campus system, has paid Regan’s firm a $10,000 monthly retainer since 2011, contracts show.

 

Not to get technical about it, but it’s apparently unclear 1) why exactly the UMass Building Authority needs a PR firm, and 2) what exactly the ten grand a month retainer covered. According to Krantz, “[t]he two-page contract’s wording is vague. It says Regan Communications agrees to provide ‘services in the field of public relations as it may deem appropriate and as directed by [the building authority].'”

In other words, bill us for . . . whatever.

That’s so Regan!

Any predictions on the next shoe to drop on the centipedal PR poobah? These things do tend to come in threes, don’t they.

UPDATE: We have a winner!

From Adrian Walker’s column in today’s Globe: “The last shoe may not have dropped, either. UMass Online has a $3,500-a-month contract with Regan that may be under review, too.”

George Regan as barefoot boy, with cheek of tan (or orange)?

We can dream, can’t we?


Local Bank Is Embed With The Boston Globe

November 17, 2015

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, these are banner days for advertisers at the stately local broad$heet, which is providing lots of flexibility in selling ad space.

Even more notable, ads are literally In the news at the Globe nowadays.

From today’s front page:

 

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It’s not like the Globe hasn’t leased out this space before, as we painstakingly chronicled last year. But at least in the case of the Citizens Bank embeds, the paper had the decency – sporadically – to label it an advertisement.

With one day:

 

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Without the next day:

 

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Withever.

The Rockland Trust arrangement is different, though. Citizens Bank accompanied its embeds – embads? – with a traditional ad at the bottom of Page One. Rockland Trust’s ad runs alongside the Talking Points column in the Globe’s Business section.

 

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But wait . . . there’s more . . .

Check out the details in the ad:

 

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See? It’s Business Journalism. There are Events. And there’s Advice. All right here at a native advertising site.

A new level indeed.

Oh, yes – there’s also a native ad on the Globe’s Today’s Paper page (see lower right).

 

 

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Lots of talking points here. Discuss among yourselves.


Boston Globe’s Capital Withdrawal

February 27, 2015

Well the hardreading staff was leafing through the Boston Globe this morning and here’s what we found on Metro Page One:

 

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Sure enough, the former stand-alone section occupied all of four Metro pages that featured – Motheragawd! – exactly zero ads. As one splendid reader pointed out to us, the mainstay of the old Capital’s ad pages – Steward Health Care System – had drifted over to the Business section, formerly a wholly owned subsidiary of UMass. Granted, UMass still has the bug that keeps on bugging nestled in the Business banner, but Steward owns the bottom of the page.

 

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Should be fun to watch the Steward-UMass slap fight in the stately local broadsheet. At least until 2016, when – who knows – Capital might stand on its own two feet again.


Boston Herald Pimps Out Page One

February 13, 2015

It’s not exactly a banner day for the Boston Herald. Here’s the front page that landed at the Global Worldwide Headquarters this morning (photo courtesy of the Missus).

 

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Then again, this isn’t the first time the thirsty local tabloid has sold off its banner. Here’s an example from about 10 years ago that we recently noted (actual front page at left):

 

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The hardreading staff is pretty sure the Herald has done much the same in the intervening decade, but we lack photographic evidence to make the charge stick.

Regardless, one last thing: That Full Paper Inside at upper right of today’s selloff? That depends on what your definition of full is. It’s certainly full of something.


Pick One: Boston Globe Majors in (U)Mass Marketing or, Boston Globe Pimps Out Page One

November 13, 2014

The Boston Globe is having quite a financial fling with the University of Massachusetts these days. First it was this “Special Supplement to the Boston Globe” that ran this past Sunday.

 

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As the hardreading staff noted, that’s “Special” as in “Advertising,” which the Globe would have stated explicitly if it cared to be honest with its readers.

Now comes this doozie in today’s edition of the $tately local broadsheet (photos courtesy of the Missus).

 

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That was followed by this:

 

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Along with this:

 

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And this:

 

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At least they labeled the wraparound “Advertisement,” eh? But it’s the leasing out of the Globe banner that’s the problem here. Funny thing is, ten years ago the Globe rejected that kind of sellout. From the January 19, 2004 Boston Business Journal:

Globe rejected a front-page advertisement for JetBlue

The Boston Globe apparently rejected a proposal by JetBlue Airways Corp. to run the same full front-page advertisement touting the airline’s arrival at Logan International Airport that the Boston Herald published last week amid voluble criticism.
The Boston Herald ended up running the ad on Jan. 7, catching considerable flak for accepting an ad that one source valued at least at $25,000. But a JetBlue official told the Boston Business Journal that the Globe also was approached with the same opportunity.

 

And turned it down, sort of.

Globe spokesman B. Maynard Scarborough said he believed the newspaper’s advertising department discussed selling a “wrap” to JetBlue, but no deal was reached. Such a wrap would not have contained mock editorial content, he said, adding the Globe does not sell Page 1 advertising and has no plans to do so.

 

Well, that’s now “inoperative,” as they say.

Here’s what the Herald did run (via WBUR’s Bob Oakes).

 

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That’s the actual front page on the left, the ad front page on the right.

And while we’re tripping down Memory Lane with local journos, here’s what the redoubtable Dan Kennedy wrote in the Boston Phoenix Media Log back then:

[A]t the very least, the front should have been prominently labeled as an ad. This isn’t just a violation of the traditional wall separating business and editorial – this is an out-and-out demolition.

 

Today at Media Nation, Dan wrote this: “If the Globe hasn’t crossed a line, perhaps it has moved the line past where we always thought it was.”

Fair enough. But to us, they did cross the line.