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.


Boston Herald Contracts a Mild Case of the Merchies

February 4, 2022

As the splendid readers of this blog well know, the Boston Herald’s print circulation has been circling the drain for quite some time now.

A year ago, according to the redoubtable Don Seiffert at the Boston Business Journal (subscription required), numbers filed with the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) indicated that the Herald’s average weekday circulation had fallen to 22,032, which is roughly equivalent to the number of iced coffees your local Dunkin serves every day.

Knee-buckling graphic from the BBJ.

Consequently, it’s no surprise that the thirsty local tabloid has looked to sources other than its actual news gathering to bolster the bottom line.

Enter the Boston Herald Store.

This week the flailing local tabloid has run full-page and quarter-page ads promoting its Newsroom Collection, urging readers to “Show your support for local journalism with Boston Herald apparel and mugs.”

 

Here’s the store’s full inventory.

 

Really, Heraldniks? That’s the best you got?

No GlobeBusters baseball caps?

No Howie (American) Carrnage bomber jackets?

And where’s the I Get It in the Morning. That’s Right: The Herald replica of the paper’s vintage 1970s t-shirt?

(UPDATE: The Missus reliably informs me that it was actually a sweatshirt. She had one when she worked at the paper in 1975. On the front it said I Get it Every Morning . . . and on the back That’s Right. The Herald. At the time, the flashy local tabloid was a broadsheet with a daily circulation north of 350,000.)

The hardreading staff knows that it’s tough putting out a daily paper with a newsroom that can barely field a parks and rec soccer squad.

But maybe the Herald’s puppet management could prevail on the vampire capital hedge fund sucking the lifeblood out of the paper to at least send it off with some decent valedictory merchandise at its sad little online store.

Or is that too much to ask in a world of death by a thousand paper cuts?


Boston Herald Eyes Looming Mass. ‘Spudpocalypse’

January 24, 2022

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.”

We recommend you read Cotter’s entire piece, as it’s stuffed with puns both tasty and otherwise. Here’s the spot he mentioned, which has been viewed by 1386 YouTubers.

 

 

Sounds pretty drastic. And what has the Boston Globe done about the pending potato famine? Nothing. The Globeniks have totally frittered away the chance to alert the public. Some would say they need to be whipped – into shape, that is. If anyone finds that notion ap-peeling.


Might John Henry Sell STAT to the New York Times?

January 7, 2022

Boston GlobeSox owner John Henry’s sports shopping spree is apparently not over yet.

His Fenway Sports Group – which includes the Boston Red Sox, the Liverpool Football Club, Fenway Sports Management,50% of RFK Racing, and 80% of NESN – added the Pittsburgh Penguins to that roster last month. Now Henry is looking to drop an NBA franchise into his cart, as Justin Leger reported at NBC Sports Boston back in November.

John Henry and Tom Werner hope to add an NBA team to their sports investment empire, according to a report posted by Axios . . . The news comes just days after it was revealed the Boston Red Sox ownership group was nearing a deal to buy the NHL’s Penguins for roughly $875 million.

It is not yet known which NBA teams Fenway Sports Group has on its radar, but Axios states that it is expected to seek out a target sometime in 2022.

Coincidentally, the New York Times is also in an acquisitive mood; the Grey Lady is coughing up $550 million – in cash – for subscription sports site The Athletic. And the Times is not stopping there, according to this CNBC report by Lauren Feiner and Alex Sherman.

The Athletic signals a potential future acquisition strategy by the NYT to target niche, community-based journalism enterprises with high-interest audiences willing to pay subscription fees for reporting. Sites that specialize in science, tech, and other specific interests are likely future targets for the Times, said the source who spoke with CNBC.

So let’s think this through: John Henry wants to buy an NBA franchise (average value: $2.4 billion). The Times wants to buy verticals such as, oh, STAT – the medical and biotech site Henry launched in 2015. According to Rick Edmunds at Poynter, STAT has seen its traffic grow fivefold and its staff increase by 50% since the start of the pandemic.

Sounds like a natural. The harddealing staff should get 10% if it goes through, don’t you think?


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 Herald Publisher Moonlights at Hartford Daily

November 19, 2021

Kevin Corrado is the publisher of the Boston Herald, as the feisty local tabloid duly – and daily – notes on its masthead.

 

 

But now Corrado, who in his spare time is also Regional Publisher at MediaNews Group: Northeast Cluster: Massachusetts & New York, is expanding that expansive portfolio to include the Nutmeg State.

According to Stephen Singer’s piece in the Hartford Courant, its publisher and editor-in-chief Andrew Julien – a 30-year veteran of the paper – is switching teams to become executive editor of Tribune Publishing’s New York Daily News.

Meanwhile . . .

MediaNews Group Regional Publisher Kevin Corrado will take over business operations at the Courant on an interim basis and begin the search for a new editor in Hartford.

“Andrew has been a wonderful steward for the Courant, and while we’re sorry to see him go, our loss is New York’s gain,” Corrado said.

 

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

Memo to the few, the proud, the remaining Heraldniks: Think of the whole thing this way – it’ll be that many fewer hours Corrado can work on strip-mining the shrinky local tabloid for the last few dollars he can squeeze out of it.

One hopes.


Essaibi George Plays the Hub Card in Her Herald Ad

October 23, 2021

Annissa Essaibi George is apparently undaunted by the flak she took a few weeks ago (see Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham for the receipts) after painting her mayoral opponent Michelle Wu as an outsider not “born and raised” in Boston.

That “native Bostonian” yardstick is not just old – it’s outdated, as Nik DeCosta-Kilpa noted at boston.com.

[T]he contention that growing up in Boston was “relevant” in a city where 57 percent of residents were born outside Massachusetts elicited online criticism from Wu supporters accusing Essaibi George of the type of nativism that was once endemic to Boston’s politics.

Regardless, Essaibi George took to the pages of the Boston Herald today to play the same tune.

Here’s Page One.

 

Here’s page 3.

 

The body copy features endorsements from the Massachusetts Nurses Association, IBEW Local 2222, and Sheet Metal Workers Local 17. Sharp-eyed readers will also note the presence of former Boston Police Commissioner William G. Gross, who is listed as the Chair of Real Progress Boston Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee.

According to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Financing, the group spent $600,250 supporting Essaibi George from 8/31/21 through 9/20/21; $495,000 of it contributed by New Balance Chairperson Jim Davis, who has also cut a six-figure check for Donald J. Trump.

Other top contributors, according to the ad, are local car magnate Herb Chambers, Boston real estate mogul Oleg Uritsky, and New England general contractor J. Derenzo Co.

Your conclusions go here.


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.


Pas de D’oh! Boston Dailies Skip Local Ballet Scandal

August 2, 2021

Saturday’s New York Times featured a pretty explosive story by reporter Julia Jacobs about a former Boston Ballet principal dancer and her husband.

Mitchell Taylor Button was accused of abuse, and his wife, Dusty Button, a dancer with a large Instagram following, was accused of participating in some of it but not named as a defendant.

A pair of professional dancers filed a lawsuit on Wednesday accusing a former dance teacher of sexually assaulting and abusing them, and accusing his wife — an internet-famous ballerina who has danced with the Boston Ballet — of participating in some of that abuse.

The former teacher — who has been known by several names, but is called Mitchell Taylor Button in the suit — is married to Dusty Button, who was a principal dancer with the Boston Ballet and who has amassed more than 300,000 Instagram followers and several corporate sponsorships with viral photos and videos of her dancing.

Locally, WBUR’s Amelia Mason also had the story over the weekend.

One of the plaintiffs, Sage Humphries, is currently a dancer with the Boston Ballet. In 2017, she was a member of Boston Ballet II, the company’s apprenticeship program. The suit says that Dusty Button, then a principal dancer with the Boston Ballet, lured Humphries into an increasingly abusive and controlling relationship with herself and her husband. According to the suit, Mitchell Taylor Button sexually assaulted Humphries on a regular basis over the course of some months and performed violent sex acts on her without her consent. It says that on several occasions, Dusty Button held Humphries down while her husband sexually assaulted the young dancer. The lawsuit also accuses Mitchell Taylor Button of verbal and physical abuse.

The Boston Ballet has released this statement in support of Sara Humphries.

Who we haven’t heard from (just before 6 pm on Monday) are the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. Talk about being a step behind . . .


Two Buck Shuck: Boston Herald Touts ‘Premium Plus’

July 28, 2021

Well the hardrreading staff opened up the old emailbag yesterday and here’s what poured out.

According to the Herald’s Digital Subscription Frequently Asked Questions, a regular digital subscription includes:

  • Unlimited, exclusive journalism from our reporters and photographers.
  • Opinions and reviews from columnists and critics.
  • Daily access to the Digital Replica edition, an exact replica of what we print and produce each day.

So your two bucks is basically buying you a) No Pop-up or Video Ads, and b) 2x Faster Page Loads for the next  six months. Which is all good. Except . .

1) You’ll pay $4 per week for Premium Plus after that, and

2) That whole “trusted news, analysis, and interviews” thing has been gutted like a sea bass by the Herald’s bloodsucking hedge fund owner, Alden Global Capital.

The Herald newsroom – which, again thanks to the paper’s vulture-capital owners, has been forced to shack up with its kissin’ cousins at the Lowell Sun – can barely field a soccer team at this point. It’s gotten so bad at the scrawny local tabloid that executive editor Joe Dwinell has been known to write two or three pieces in a day for the paper.

Go ask the Boston Globe’s Brian McGrory how often he hits send on a story about, say, a Martha’s Vineyard porn lawsuit.

The hardreading staff – despite our often gimlet eye – has long been #TeamHerald, if only to keep the stately local broadsheet a bit less overbearing. But we wonder how long the flimsy local tabloid can keep offering less content for more money, as Alden relentlessly strip mines it like West Virginia coal country.

Maybe a “Premium Minus” Go Fund Me page is in order right about now.