John Henry to Boston Herald: Drop Dead

October 3, 2016

Sure, David Ortiz’s Fenway Swan Song turned out to be (Not So) Sweet Caroline as the Sox lost five of their last six, but at least Big Papi got a sweet sendoff in the local dailies.

Sunday’s papers were a Papipalooza of congratulatory ads, with both the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald publishing special Commemorative Sections.

Their front pages gave you a good idea of who was going to win the advertising sweepstakes in the Farewell to Big Arms.

 

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Notice that the Globe section is sponsored by Xfinity, while the Herald section is sponsored by nobody.

And notice the advertisers in the thirsty local tabloid: Catholic Memorial High School, Aria Trattoria, Sullivan Tire, Central Auto Team, Parker Professional Driving School, Modell’s Sporting Goods, and – our personal favorite – The Hamilton Collection.

 

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Nothing like a Laser-Etched Glass Sculpture to keep the the memories alive.

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, there was a different class of commemorative ads: New Balance, Mohegan Sun, University of Massachusetts, and – remarkably – the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

 

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Not to mention ads from Herb Chambers, Dunkin’ Donuts, Sleepy’s, Miltons, Granite City, and, of course, Xfinity.

No surprise there: That high/low advertising split runs pretty much true to form for the local dailies.

But here’s where it gets interesting:

Boston GlobeSox owner John Henry ran this ad in Sunday’s Globe Sports section.

 

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Close-up for the copy-impaired:

 

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The thing is, Henry did not run the same ad in the Herald, even though that would have been the right (and inexpensive) thing to do.

Bad form, Mr. GlobeSox. Bad form.

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Boston Globe Won’t Reveal Groups That Got Free Ads

March 8, 2016

As the hardreading staff noted the other day, the Boston Globe’s GRANT program, which is headed by Boston GlobeSox owner John Henry’s wife Linda Pizzuti and which “enables readers to support New England’s non-profits by choosing which ones are given free advertising space in The Boston Globe,” has always struck us as more sizzle than steak.

After its launch two years ago, the program pretty much dropped off our radar screen – until last week, when Thursday’s edition of the Globe featured this ad for Boston Catholic Appeal (which ranks #160 on the GRANT Nonprofit Leaderboard with a whopping $255 in GRANT Vouchers – hardly enough to pay for the two column (3.79″) x 3″ ad).

 

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It struck us that we hadn’t really seen many GRANT ads over the past two years, so we wrote to the GRANT folks and asked if there might be a list of groups who received free Globe advertising in exchange for their vouchers.

Today we received this reply from a marketing coordinator in the Globe’s Circulation department:

Thanks for reaching out to us here at GRANT! If you would like information about a certain non-profit, then please let me know. I am not at liberty to send a list of all the organizations, dates and examples. Thanks.

 

Always loved that “not at liberty” formulation; we’ve used it ourselves on more than one occasion.

Regardless, in this case it means mind your own business.

In our research travels checking the GRANT program out, we did notice a couple of non-profits – the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and Project Bread – that had issued pleas to their members to participate in the voucher system. (No doubt there are others who did the same – those are just the two we saw.)

They’re our next stop on this madcap adventure. As always, we’ll keep you posted.


The Boston Globe’s Come-to-Jesus GRANT Grant

March 6, 2016

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, there’s something hinkey about the Boston Globe’s GRANT program.

GRANT – which stands for Globe Readers And Non-profits Together – “enables readers to support New England’s non-profits by choosing which ones are given free advertising space in The Boston Globe.”

The initiative debuted two years ago with this full-page ad in the stately local broadsheet.

 

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That would be Linda Pizzuti Henry, wife of Boston GlobeSox owner John Henry.

Whatever.

From FAQs:

How does it work?
1. If you are a Globe subscriber, you will receive a GRANT voucher via mail or email.
2. Select a New-England-based 501(c)(3) you are passionate about. Click here to view last year’s selected charities.
3. Go to BostonGlobe.com/GRANT by April 30, 2016 to submit your voucher on behalf of your favorite non-profit organization. (You will need your Subscriber Number.)
If you received a mailed voucher: Write the name and address of your charity on your voucher and mail it to The Boston Globe using the envelope provided by April 30, 2016
4. Stay up-to-date on all non-profits that were selected by visiting our 2016 Leaderboard

 

The GRANT grants resurfaced a few days ago with this pitseleh ad in the Globe’s Thursday edition (see middle left).

 

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For the pitseleh-impaired:

 

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Interesting, since Boston Catholic Appeal comes in at #160 on the GRANT Nonprofit Leaderboard with a whopping $255 in GRANT Vouchers.

 

 

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By the way, 2 Corinthians 9:7 says this:

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

 

Clearly, the Boston Globe loves a cheerful giver as well.

At least one of them.

There are hundreds of non-profits listed on the 2016 Leaderboard with “GRANT Vouchers Redeemed” amounts ranging from $8,595 to $25. The rules for redeeming vouchers are these:

What are the redemption rules and restrictions?
• All awarded ads must include a GRANT header/footer (this will be provided).
• Non-profits will be asked to report the impact of their GRANT ads.
• Organizations will have until April 2017 to use awarded ad space.
• GRANT ads may not run with a paid campaign.
• Organizations with smaller redemption amounts will have a dedicated contact who will help them order and (if necessary) write their ad.
• Existing advertisers may not use earned ad space in place of previously scheduled campaigns.
• Paid ads will run first.
• GRANT ads may not appear on the front page, on inserts, or in the Globe Magazine.

 

And this: “Non-profits who have been selected by a minimum of seven subscribers but who have not earned enough to receive a stand-alone ad will appear in a full-page non-profit directory ad.”

Here’s the thing: The hardreading staff gets the Globe every day, and we can’t recall ever seeing a GRANT ad before. Which doesn’t mean none have run. But which does mean we’re gonna ask.

Keep you posted as always.


Useless Boston Herald Still AWOL on Globe Meltdown

January 7, 2016

The hardreading staff has been thoroughly flummoxed by the Boston Herald’s recent abdication of its sacred duty to pummel crosstown rival Boston Globe on any and all occasions.

And what an occasion the stately local broadsheet has presented in its current inability to deliver its print edition to vast swaths of home subscribers.

An inability, by the way, the lately local broadsheet is now kind of hiding.

Start with this now-routine note on the Globe’s homepage.

 

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Click on the ConsumerUpdate link inside the box and you get the Member Center Login. Click on the Note to subscribers above the box and you get this:

 

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Click on that ConsumerUpdate link and you finally get to the tough luck towns du jour.

 

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Today’s unlucky number of “delivery delay” zip codes: 100.

The whole runaround is just lame.

But the fraidy local tabloid is even lamer, because it continues to ignore the Globe delivery meltdown. Not to mention ignoring Boston GlobeSox owner John Henry’s hot little tweet yesterday about a piece by the Unsinkable Emily Rooney at WGBH News (note the Update at bottom).

 

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Don’t think we’ve heard the end of this one yet. But don’t bother checking the Herald about it.


Globe Cries ‘Uncle’, Goes Back to Old Distributor

January 6, 2016

Rule #1: Don’t trust anything Boston Globe executives say these days.

Exhibit A: Here’s what Globe CEO Mike Sheehan said on WGBH’s Greater Boston Monday night:

Mike Sheehan: Part of those options we’re considering are dividing up those [undelivered] areas and bringing in some other distributors to help and getting this solved very very fast.

Jim Braude: You couldn’t undo this and just go back to the prior company?

MS: No – no, ACI is doing a very good job in certain geographies.

 

Then again, there’s this in today’s lately local broadsheet:

Globe splits deliveries between two companies

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After more than a week of confounding problems getting newspapers to subscribers, The Boston Globe has turned to its former distribution partner to handle about half of its home deliveries across the region, Globe chief executive officer Mike Sheehan said on Tuesday.

The deal with Publishers Circulation Fulfillment Inc. follows an unexpectedly difficult rollout for the Globe’s new distribution firm, ACI Media Group Inc., which left tens of thousands of newspapers undelivered in its first week after taking over distribution within the Boston region on Dec. 28.

 

So, to recap: The Globe tore the sheets with former distributor Publishers Circulation Fulfillment in order to hook up with new squeeze (the drivers) ACI Media, but now the Globe and PCF are friends with benefits.

Not to get technical about it, but Mike Sheehan seems to be telling the truth a little bit at a time.

Rule #2: Don’t expect the Boston Herald to tell you anything about the Globe delivery meltdown.

Once again, the fraidy local tabloid is a day late, dolor short. Ignoring a major malfunction by your crosstown rival is not just bad journalism, it’s bad business. But at least they’re consistent.

Rule #3: Don’t expect the Globe’s publisher to stand the gaffe.

After a long hibernation, Boston GlobeSox owner John Henry – finally – weighs in today with this mealy-mouthed Letter From the Publisher.

We apologize to our loyal readers

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The Globe’s responsibility to this community is to bring it the news. I would like to share some news now about why we have failed to meet this objective for many readers over the past 10 days, how we are working to fix the problems, and a bit about the root causes.

First, I want to personally apologize to every Boston Globe subscriber who has been inconvenienced. We recognize that you depend on us, and that we’ve let you down. We’re working around the clock on a variety of fronts to solve this. To that end, I also want to thank everyone at the Globe who pitched in to get some 20,000 Sunday papers delivered last weekend.

Getting a daily newspaper to your front door is a complicated exercise in logistics .  . .

 

And blah blah blah . . .

Helpful hint: Wear asbestos glove while reading the comments.

Rule the Last: When the paper you own goes Chernobyl, don’t turtle for 10 days, then tell us how tough your job is. It’s just not manly.

UPDATE: Totally forgot (since it’s become so routine) – no Globe today. The “delivery delay” list is down to 91, but the hardlyreading staff is still on it.


Track Whacks Globe Over Non-Disclose

April 8, 2015

Boston GlobeSox owner John Henry gets batted around in the Boston Herald’s Inside Track today, thanks to this Eric Wilbur piece on boston.com.

Boston is Still a Red Sox Town Even if Tom Brady is King

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Who rules Boston: the Red Sox or Patriots?

Ultimately, there is no clear front-runner in the debate over whether Boston has ultimately become a football town, or if it maintains its long-time status as a bastion of baseball devotees.

The correct answer is both. It’s a Red Sox town. And it’s a Patriots town.

 

And boston.com is a Henry town, although the piece never mentions that. Which led Track Gal Gayle Fee to mention this:

SURPRISE! GLOBE SITE CITES SOX #1

Stop the presses: “Boston is Still a Red Sox Town Even If Tom Brady Is King.”NEL_5931.JPG

That’s according to Boston.
com, the digital arm of the Boston Globe. But nowhere in the commentary by sports blogger Eric Wilbur does he mention that the Red Sox, the Globe and Boston.com are all owned by the same man — John Henry!

Which makes Wilbur’s conclusion — that without Brady, the Patriots would be chopped liver, fanwise — somewhat suspect, don’t cha think???

 

Full disclosure: The hardreading staff believes that any publication owned by Henry should disclose the connection every time it reports on the Boston Red Sox or the Liverpool Football Club or Roush Fenway Racing or Fenway Park or anything Henry has purchased since we started this post. Some people we greatly respect believe we’re over-fastidious in this matter (hi, Dan!), but we’ve learned to live with that.

Then again, some have learned to live without.

Boston.com editor Tim Molloy, who has been on the job just under a month, said he has not even met John Henry, let alone been told what to write by the Sox boss. And Molloy said he saw no problem in Wilbur’s not disclosing the boss’s mutual ownership in the piece.

“I think that’s pretty well known,” he told the Track. “It’s not anything we disguise or try to keep secret. And I’ve had absolutely no contact with Mr. Henry in terms of anything editorial.”

 

That last, of course, is entirely beside the point. Regardless, Molloy told the Track that “if Henry’s ownership of the paper, the website and the team were disclosed in Wilbur’s piece, it should be disclosed ‘every time we write about the Red Sox.'”

Exactly.


Boston.comedy: Boehnheaded Post Is Double Trouble for Globe Media Website

January 15, 2015

Boston Globe Media Partners should launch a new vertical – maybe Clux.com? – to house all their apologies for the Globe’s kissing’ cousin, Boston.com.

You’d think – after the t-shirt hit the fan the other week – there’d be some kind of moratorium on Boston.commentary down at Morrissey Boulevard. No such luck. Yesterday one of the Boston.comics posted a piece with the headline “Would Anyone Have Noticed if Bartender Succeeded in Poisoning John Boehner?”

It included this piece of sparkling wit (via Politico’s Hadas Gold):

The question is: Would anyone have noticed? Stories about Boehner’s drinking have circulated for years. His drinking inspired a blog called DrunkBoehner, and in 2010 he brought booze back to Washington. Had he been poisoned as planned, perhaps his pickled liver could have filtered out the toxins.

 

That led to this media culpa at Boston.com:

Last night, an opinion piece was published on Boston.com that has since been adjusted to what you’ll see below. The original column made references to Speaker Boehner that were off-color and completely inappropriate. It reflected the opinions of one of our writers; what it did not reflect, by any standards, were the site’s collective values. Rather than remove any reference to it or pretend it didn’t happen, we are handling with transparency and self-awareness. We are sorry, and we will do better. –Corey Gottlieb, General Manager, Boston.com

 

Right – “adjusted.” There’s also this: “Editor’s note: A previous version of this article made an unsubstantiated reference to the health of Speaker Boehner.”

Geez – any way they could have been a little vaguer?

Regardless, it was mother’s milk to the frisky local tabloid, which piled on with this high-priced spread (special bonus Inexplicable Green Numbers!):

 

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The Globe, for its part, featured this blandish piece in today’s Metro section.

Look for Boston GlobeSox owner John Henry to lob a neutron bomb at Boston.com. When the dust settles, he might want to consider these recommendations from the redoubtable Dan Kennedy. Just for starters.