Boston Herald Advertises Result of Its Brutal Layoffs

October 7, 2018

Our kissin’ cousins at One-Daily Town noted this the other day, but it bears repeating in this space: Since Digital Fist – sorry, First – Media bought the shaky local tabloid, the paper has gone from 225 employees to roughly 100, with the newsroom barely able to field a softball team.

And the lost jobs are not being outsourced as much as insourced – moved to other parts of the Digital First conglomerate.

So, for instance, the Herald’s copy editing is now done in Denver, as the Boston Globe’s Jon Chesto noted on Friday.

Much of the copy editing work heads to DFM employees in Denver, and ad sales increasingly will be handled out of Lowell, where DFM owns the Lowell Sun.

 

Some of the ad sales, however, are migrating to another DFM division – Denver-based Adtaxi – as this house ad indicates.

 

 

Adtaxi is a clearinghouse for ad placement and describes itself with gobbledygook like this:

“Taking an omnichannel approach, Adtaxi offers a true full-funnel solution powered by our intelligent optimization technology, Quantum, that drives performance to the conversion metrics that matter most to your business.”

 

As the sadreading staff at One-Daily Town said, “A Herald sales rep wouldn’t be caught dead talking like that. But a dead paper walking? Sure.”

Two postscripts:

1) From our Irony Deficient Herald desk

Yesterday’s shrinky local tabloid not only ran the Adtaxi ad, but also featured this AP story: “Jobless rate lowest since ’69.”

Except at the Herald, of course.

2) Also from our Irony Deficient Herald desk

The sketchy local tabloid has been running this small house ad almost every day for the past few weeks.

 

 

Except at the Herald, of course.

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AP Corrects Michael Herr Obit; Boston Globe Doesn’t

June 26, 2016

As the hardreading staff has noted, yesterday’s Boston Globe ran this Associated Press obituary of the great Vietnam War chronicler Michael Herr.

 

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As we also noted, Dispatches is not a novel – it’s a splendid example of the literary non-fiction/New Journalism of the ’60s and ’70s. The AP has apparently recognized that, because here’s their obit as picked up by today’s Boston Herald.

 

 

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Oddest thing, though: The Herald’s online version has it both ways.

 

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“Non-fiction novel,” eh? That’s new.

Meanwhile, the Globe still hasn’t amended its online version of the obit.  A novel approach to corrections, eh?


Hey, Boston Globe: ‘Dispatches’ Is NOT a Novel

June 25, 2016

Michael Herr, widely regarded as the premier chronicler of the Vietnam War, died on Thursday at the age of 76.

Today’s Boston Globe includes this Associated Press obituary. Lede:

 

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Noooo . . . not a novel, but “the seminal work of new journalism about the Vietnam War,” as Emmett Rensin wrote in Vox. It took Herr ten years to produce Dispatches, after suffering a nervous breakdown upon his return from Vietnam and not writing anything for five years.

Rensin also noted this quote by Hunter S. Thompson: “We have all spent 10 years trying to explain what happened to our heads and our lives in the decade we finally survived . . . but Michael Herr’s Dispatches puts all the rest of us in the shade.”

The end of the AP obit notes that “[Herr’s] other books included ‘Walter Winchell,’ a 1990 novel about the powerful and irascible gossip columnist.” Actually, that is a novel, so the AP went one-for-two on the book front.

No correction attached to the Globe pickup, though. So they’re oh-for-one.


Boston Herald Has Good Trolley Karma

October 6, 2015

The feisty local tabloid has two MBTA-related stories pretty much to itself today.

First, Kimberly Atkins’ column on an advertising rumpus that’s shadowed the T for two years now.

T ad issue may merit court’s consideration

Free-speech dispute on Supreme’s radar

WASHINGTON — A free-speech dispute over political ads in MBTA buses, trains and stations is likely headed for the U.S. Supreme Court and could have far-reaching effects on Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.35.04 PMpaid messages on public property.

The case stems from 2013, when the MBTA agreed to post paid ads from pro-Palestinian group Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine that read: “4.7 million Palestinians are classified by the U.N. as refugees.” But the T then rejected the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s ad, submitted in response, which read: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

 

So far, as Atkins reports, “[t]wo federal courts had backed the MBTA’s decision to reject the AFDI ad, under its policy barring ‘disparaging’ or ‘demeaning’ messages.”

Prior to those two decisions, the MBTA’s batting average in ad dustups was well below the Mendoza Line, as the hardreading staff noted two years ago. And Atkins also writes that “[i]n New York and Philadelphia, by contrast, courts have ordered transit agencies to run paid ads they had rejected, including one that claimed Muslims believe ‘killing Jews is worship.'”

So who knows if it even gets to the Supremes, and who knows how they’ll lean.

But we’re guessing the MBTA loses this one too.

Elsewhere in today’s Herald, there’s this news from the T’s Ghost of Winter Past.

Scott bows out of bid for NTSB post

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President Obama has withdrawn his nomination of former MBTA chief Beverly Scott to the National Transportation Safety Board, abruptly ending her controversial bid to the $155,000-a-year post, the Herald has learned.

Obama officially rescinded her nomination yesterday, according to a White House document viewed by the Herald. A White House spokesman said last night Scott requested that her nomination be withdrawn “due to personal reasons related to her family.”

Efforts to reach Scott were unsuccessful.

 

That’s a surprise, eh?

(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, today’s Boston Globe does have a squib (via the State House News Service) about Scott, although it tells a slightly different story.

 

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Huh. Maybe we need Scott herself to come forward as the tiebreaker.

Yeah – that’s coming just like a Riverside train.


Boston Globe ‘Biden’ Its Time on Touchy-Feelygate?

February 18, 2015

From our One Town, Two Different Worlds desk

The Boston dailies continue to reside in parallel universes. Page One of today’s Boston Herald:

 

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Hillary Chabot’s column provides the details of the Washington Maul.

Hey Joe: Try being a little less hands-on going forward

Perhaps Joe Biden is already breaking out the charm offensive he’s honed for the 2016 presidential trail and he’s code named it: Joe Biden,  Stephanie CarterLady Killer.

The notoriously inappropriate vice president breached one woman’s personal boundaries yesterday as he swore in Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in the Roosevelt Room.

The gaffe-prone VP put his hands on Carter’s wife’s shoulders from behind for a long time, leaned over and whispered something into her ear, creating an Internet sensation that rippled far throughout the presidential primary battlefield.

 

Plug “Joe Biden” into the Googletron and you get a taste of said Internet sensation.

 

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And that’s not even counting all the tweets that hit the fan.

Crosstown, meanwhile, the Boston Globe has nothing in today’s print edition and just this AP piece up on the web.

New defense secretary vows to protect troops’ safety, dignity

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Ash Carter, sworn in Tuesday as President Barack Obama’s fourth secretary of defense, pledged to offer his most candid strategic advice and carefully consider decisions about sending troops into harm’s way.

Vice President Joe Biden issued the oath of office from the White House, on a Bible held by Carter’s wife, while most of the federal government was closed because of snow. Biden said Carter faces ‘‘many tough missions,’’ ranging from battling Islamic State militants and strengthening the NATO alliance, to technological advancements and budget cuts.

‘‘This is the guy that fits the job,’’ Biden said, calling Carter a ‘‘profoundly capable manager.’’

 

Just not capable of protecting his wife’s dignity, eh?


Pope or Dope on Boston Front Pages

January 18, 2014

A nifty little criss-cross has religion and politics switching places in the local dailies today.

Boston Herald front page:

 

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Inside the story gets two pages: a news report that seems to be mostly AP material, and his ‘n’ her columns from Ray Flynn and Margery Eagan.

On page 3 of the feisty local broadsheet, there’s this piece:

Mitt aide rues blocking doc

Right off the top, the documentary “Mitt” shows a defeated Mitt Romney teary-eyed and searching for help in crafting a concession 011614mitt001speech — and the personal number for President Obama.

“By the way, someone have a number for the president?” a dejected Romney asks on election night Nov. 6, 2012, in his hotel suite in Boston.

“What do you say in a concession speech?” he adds.

 

Seriously? Anyway, the point of the piece is this: “[A] top Romney adviser and friend admitted the campaign blew it by repeatedly opposing the release of the documentary, which could have helped Romney shed his stiff, robotic image.”

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, Romney moves up to the front page.

 

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This “Mitt” piece has Romney’s son Tagg doing the lamenting:

“I was frustrated that we were not able to get an accurate portrayal of who my dad was out there,” Tagg said in an interview Friday, as he discussed the film. “The campaign team wanted to present a very controlled image. . . . The movie shows a very real human being: a flawed person with weaknesses but someone who is much more real and understandable.”

 

Meanwhile, it’s the Pope who gets page 3 in the stately local broadsheet, also via the AP.

Pope said to defrock 400 priests in 2 years

VATICAN CITY — A document shows Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over two years for sexually molesting children.

The statistics for 2011 and 2012 show a dramatic increase over the 171 priests removed in 2008 and 2009, when the Vatican first provided details on the number of priests who have been defrocked. Before that, it had only revealed the number of alleged cases of abuse it had received and the number of trials it had authorized.

While it’s not clear why the numbers spiked in 2011, it could be because 2010 saw a explosion in the number of cases reported in the media in Europe and beyond.

 

Here endeth the criss-cross.

 


MBTA = Money Being Thrown Away? Again?

November 8, 2013

From our Or You Could Just Set Your Money on Fire desk

DownloadedFileIt’s been a good ten years since there was a serious legal rumpus over the MBTA’s rejection of an ad campaign. But from all preliminary indications, we’ve got a doozie in the works right now.

First, some background. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has a long history of a) banning controversial transit ads (everything from abortion rights to animal cruelty), b) winding up in court, and c) losing. A 2002 Boston Globe piece (via – hide the kids! – Cannabis News) called the roll:

Since 1974, the T has lost three federal suits brought by advertisers: Preterm Inc., an abortion clinic, in 1974; Citizens to End Animal Suffering and Exploitation, in 1992; and the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, in 1994.

 

Add a fourth loss in 2002: Change the Climate sued over the MBTA’s refusal to run the group’s pro-marijuana ads. At which point the MBTA instituted what T spokesman Joe Pesaturo told us were “court-approved guidelines [that] haven’t been challenged.”

Until now.

This latest scuffle has a prologue: Two weeks ago, the T played peek-a-boo with an ad campaign placed by a pro-Palestinian advocacy group, The Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine. From Boston magazine’s Boston Daily blog:

 

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After receiving multiple complaints about large signs depicting a shrinking Palestinian landscape, which were put up around the MBTA system, the T’s advertising partner, Titan, pulled them down.

The ads went up around the transit system on Monday, and were paid for by The Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine, a group that describes itself as “a diverse, community-based group dedicated to organizing activities and educational events that advance the cause of peace and justice for both Palestinians and Israelis.”

 

But almost as quickly the ads reappeared. An MBTA official said, “The ads are going back up. Their removal was the result of a miscommunication between the MBTA and its contractor, Titan. There was a breakdown in our established procedures for handling complaints about specific ads.”

Now we have the flipside to the Incredible Shrinking Palestine ads: An ad campaign from an “anti-Islamist advocacy group” that the MBTA has refused to accept.

From today’s Boston Globe:

Pro-Israel group sues MBTA over proposed ads

An anti-Islamist advocacy group is suing the MBTA after the transit agency rejected a proposed subway advertisement on the grounds that it was “demeaning or disparaging.”D.C.BusAd

The ad, funded by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a New York-based organization that seeks to combat a purported spread of Islamism in the United States, reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel; defeat Jihad.”

MBTA officials rejected the ad Monday on the basis that it violated their advertising guidelines, and today said they would be willing to change their stance if the activist group modifies the ad.

But lawyers for the organization say they have received no overtures from the MBTA, and wouldn’t be willing to change the advertisement anyway.

 

 

(The Boston Herald had nothing in today’s print edition, belatedly slapping an AP story on its website.)

The MBTA’s statement in response to the lawsuit:

The MBTA has reached out to the plaintiff in an attempt to resolve this matter.  The MBTA is asking that the message be modified to meet the requirements of the MBTA’s advertising standards.  The MBTA is not opposed to groups expressing their points-of-view, but it must be done in a respectful manner that recognizes and appreciates the cultural diversity of a public transit environment.

 

And spokesman Pesaturo kindly sent us the “court-approved ad guidelines” as he referred to them. Relevant section:

Advertising Standards

(a)        The MBTA intends that its facilities constitute nonpublic forums that are subject to the viewpoint-neutral restrictions set forth below. Certain forms of paid and unpaid advertising will not be permitted for placement or display on or in MBTA facilities.

(b)       The MBTA shall not display or maintain any advertisement that falls within one or more of the following categories:

(i)         Demeaning or disparaging. The advertisement contains material that demeans or disparages an individual or group of individuals. For purposes of determining whether an advertisement contains such material, the MBTA will determine whether a reasonably prudent person, knowledgeable of the MBTA’s ridership and using prevailing community standards, would believe that the advertisement contains material that ridicules or mocks, is abusive or hostile to, or debases the dignity or stature of, an individual or group of individuals.

 

Of course the thing about “court-approved” is which one? Might not be the court you land in this time.

So, to recap: Is the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority about to get involved in yet another money-pit defense of its pick-and-choose advertising policies? The T says it won’t lose this time.

Time will tell.