Juul’s Vape-and-Switch of Boston Herald in Ad Blitz

June 12, 2019

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, Juul Labs  – the company that owns 75% of the e-cigarette market – has locally run ads like these exclusively in the Boston Herald.

 

 

 

Now, though, faced with numerous lawsuits, Juul Labs is in Defcon 2 as our kissin’ cousins at Campaign Outsider have deftly noted, not to mention this piece by Lachlan Markay and Sam Stein in The Daily Beast.

Juul Spins Vaping as ‘Criminal Justice’ Issue for Black Lawmakers

The company has embarked on a massive lobbying campaign designed to reach the Congressional Black Caucus.

The vaping industry’s unrivaled leader, Juul, is making a huge push to ingratiate itself with America’s communities of color, hoping that doing so will win it critical allies within the Democratic Party who can help it navigate a high-stakes legislative and regulatory minefield.

The company has hired lobbyists and consultants with deep ties to prominent black and Latino lawmakers, steered money to congressional black and Hispanic caucuses, and made overtures to leading civil rights groups. It has enlisted the services of a former head of the NAACP, a board member of the Congressional Black Caucus’s political arm, and the Obama White House’s top civil rights liaison. And it’s sought the support of National Action Network chief Rev. Al Sharpton.

 

Two Daily Town rule of thumb (pat. pending): Whenever Al Sharpton is involved, kindly walk – do not run – to the nearest exit.

Given all that, Juul has now embarked on a full court press of full-page ads in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Boston Globe.

But not the Boston Herald.

Your condolences for the thirsty local tabloid go here.


Two-Daily Town Goes All Digital (And Slightly Mental)

May 23, 2019

For more than two decades the hardreading staff has proudly been one of the 17 home subscribers to the Boston Herald.

But the plopping of four daily newspapers on our doorstep every morning (Boston Herald, Boston Globe, New York Times, Wall Street Journal) has become too much to bear in this, our dotage. So we decided to pare down our print publications.

Ave atque vale, Globe and Herald print editions.

But, of course, it wasn’t that easy.

The Herald, feistily, told us that we’d have to wait for a month to convert our print subscription to a digital-only one – a sort of tabloid quarantine that seems totally self-defeating.

The Globe, on the other hand, welcomed our shift from print to digital, as it has with many others according to this piece from the estimable Don Seiffert in the Boston Business Journal,

The Boston Globe now has more online subscribers than print ones

The Boston Globe reached a milestone earlier this year when the number of its digital subscribers surpassed that of its weekday print subscribers for the first time — likely the only traditional, regional daily in the U.S. to have done so.

Filings the Globe submitted in the past week to the Alliance for Audited Media show that the inflection point occurred sometime in the first three months of the year. During that time, the number of weekday print subscribers fell from 108,719 to 98,978, an 11 percent decline year-over-year. That’s about on par with industry-wide rates of decline.

During the same time, the filing indicates that digital subscriptions — as measured by a category called “restricted digital access”— went from 107,902 to 112,241 as of March 31. While the Globe doesn’t specify exactly how it counts the number of online subscribers, restricted digital access seems to be a good approximation, and the paper’s director of consumer revenue, Tom Brown, confirmed this week that its number of online subscribers now stands at 112,700.

 

Handy circulation chart:

Except the BBJ piece kind of glossed over the economics of the Globe subscription shift.

Let’s take the hardreading staff, for example. Previously, we paid about $850 a year (!) for our Globe print subscription (digital access included). That’s roughly eight times what we pay for the Times or the Journal, and twice what we now pay for the Globe’s Sunday print edition and digital access.

Two-Daily Town Calculator (pat. pending):

For every lost print subscriber and gained digital subscriber, the Boston Globe loses roughly $400 per annum. Not to mention, according the the BBJ report, the Globe this past year lost 10,000 print subscribers and gained 5,000 digital ones.

Totally not sure how that makes the Boston Globe more financially viable.

But, as the big time reporters say, time will tell.


Stop & Shop to Boston Herald: Eat Your Heart Out

April 14, 2019

Now that the Teamsters have gone out in sympathy with the nearly 31,000 Stop & Shop workers who went on strike three days ago, management is apparently looking for some sympathy of its own. Thus, this full-page ad in today’s Boston Globe.

 

Here’s their website if you want more of management’s side. One thing they do not address is why they didn’t run the ad in the Boston Herald.

Afraid the readership is too union-friendly and an ad addressed to them would be a waste of money? Or just oblivious to the thirsty local tabloid, like so many others in this town.

Whatever, let’s hope those readers stop shopping at Stop & Shop. For good.


Boston Globe Redacts Redactions in Wynn Lawsuit

March 15, 2019

From our One Town, Two Different Worlds desk

The Boston Globe is shooting blanks on the Steve Wynn/Massachusetts Gaming Commission rumpus, which involves a lawsuit over documents that the disgraced casino mogul says are covered by attorney-client privilege.

Here’s how the stately local broadsheet handled the story in today’s edition.

It’s not until the 13th graf that the piece even mentions this fact: “The meeting minutes included substantial redactions, something [commission chairwoman Cathy] Judd-Stein said was necessary because the sessions included ‘a significant amount of attorney-client privileged communications.’”

No longer crosstown at the Boston Herald, Page One says it all.

 

 

Inside, the story gets the deluxe double-truck treatment.

 

 

Hey, Globeniks, you taking notes?

(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, the web version of the Globe piece does have a visual component.

(To be clear graf goes here)

To be clear, though, it’s a photo of the almost-finished Encore casino, not any of the redacted documents.

Score one for the snappy local tabloid.


Boston Herald: Most of the Hub a Red Light District

March 7, 2019

The hardreading staff has long held that the traffic lights in Boston must have been timed by Joe Cocker.

Unlike a real city such as New York – where one can routinely drive up, say, Madison Avenue for 10, 20, 30 blocks without stopping – making two consecutive lights in this town qualifies as a Dear Diary day.

The Boston Herald certainly gets that, as today’s front page attests.

 

 

Driving drivers nuts graf in the piece by Sean Philip Cotter and Meghan Ottolini:

“You have three lights in 50 yards, and the middle one will be green and the other two won’t. Then the opposite. No one’s going anywhere,” Uber driver Felipe Rios told the Herald last week, voicing a common gripe about constant stops and starts that he and other drivers see as unnecessary.

 

The gridlock grid extends from most of Mass. Ave to stretches of road on both sides of the Greenway to roads around TD Garden and Congress Street, according to this handy chart.

 

 

Sadly, unsticking those points doesn’t seem to be a top priority for city officials.

A recent national study found Boston has the worst congestion in the country, worse than even Los Angeles. But [City transportation chief Gina] Fiandaca said making traffic in Boston move faster isn’t her top concern.

“Our pedestrian safety programs are our No. 1 priority,” Fiandaca said, citing concerns that synced lights lead to speeding and put pedestrians and cyclists in danger.

 

It’s worth checking out the whole report, including this video and even some whining by Uber drivers.

If you’re in your car, of course, only at red lights.


MA Treasurer Didn’t Stiff Herald on Lost Property List

March 4, 2019

As the hardreading staff pawed through yesterday’s Boston Globe, we came upon this “Notice of Names of Persons Appearing to be Owners of Unclaimed Property” – a 54-page free standing insert produced by the Office of the State Treasurer and Receiver General.

It’s the state’s semi-annual list of tens of thousands of people who might have unclaimed funds in the possession of the Massachusetts Treasury.

 

 

Not to get technical about it, but that’s no Amy – as far as we can tell it’s the very talented local actress Celeste Oliva, about whom our kissin’ cousins at Campaign Outsider have written several times.

Regardless, imagine our total lack of surprise when we turned to the Boston Herald and found – no unclaimed property list in the thirsty local tabloid. Free standing insult.

So we called the office of Treasurer Deborah Goldberg to ask why she skipped the Herald, whose readers are for the most part a) Massachusetts residents, and b) easily as forgetful as Globe readers.

Deputy communications director Emma Sands was kind enough to straighten us out: The insert will run in the Herald this coming Sunday; this is the second time the Treasurer has run the insert in the two Boston dailies on consecutive Sundays; and the insert will run in a variety of regional papers in the coming weeks.

Office of the Treasurer: An equal-opportunity advertiser.

P.S. The hardsearching staff did not find its name on the list, alas.


Jed Gottlieb Is Last Pop Music Critic at a Boston Daily

March 1, 2019

When I first arrived in Boston in the fall of 1974 (“Hey, people, what’s with the forced busing? Are you meshugge?”), you couldn’t spit without hitting a music magazine. Pop Top, Rock Around the World, Night Life, Musicians Guide, Nightfall – they were all over town.

And there were so many music critics, even I was one, writing for all of the above under severel variations of my name.

Representative samples:

 

 

If you didn’t pay close attention at the time, you almost wouldn’t notice I knew virtually nothing about music.

Now comes the Boston Herald’s Jed Gottlieb – the last pop music critic at a major Boston newspaper – to survey the wreckage of local music coverage in a piece for Fast Company headlined “The web is killing newspaper arts critics like me. Why that matters.”

This is nuts graf:

The vast majority of daily papers cover a fraction of the concerts, albums, films, TV shows, theater productions, and gallery and museum exhibits than they did 10 years ago. A quick look at the rolls of professional organizations–the American Theatre Critics Association, the Jazz Journalists Association, the National Society of Film Critics–shows less than 10% of members holding full-time jobs at papers, down from approximately 50%, depending on the organization, around 2000.

 

Gottlieb says the internet – which has played a major role in the decline of newspapers over all – is no substitute for what it has muscled out. “Online arts outlets, from full-fledged magazines to blogs run by a single person . . . produce vital, smart, passionate work, but they can’t replace the loss of arts coverage at papers.”

Or the beneficial side effects of newspaper arts coverage.

Arts writers provide a historical record of their beat like any other reporter. When holes start appearing in that historical record (or when it is abandoned completely), arts organizations can suffer. Newspaper coverage serves as promotion for community theater companies, small galleries, unknown rock bands, and others without PR or advertising budgets. Both authors and musicians have told me print reviews spark interest from publishers and record labels, even when sales lag.

 

In the end, Gottlieb says, what is lost goes beyond the “stumble-upon effect” of newspapers, in which readers encounter arts coverage on their way to, say, the sports pages. It’s also this: “Every piece of good arts writing dips, if ever so slightly, into the human experience, into what it means to be alive. No piece of fantasy football draft advice or gossip item about [Miley] Cyrus’s marriage can do that.”

Check out the whole piece. It’s good arts writing.