Boston Globe Still Not Disclosing Citgo $ign Conflict

March 16, 2017

During the past year the hardreading staff has painstakingly noted what must be hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Citgo ads like this one that have run in the Boston Globe.

 

 

And yet . . .

Never once in its coverage has the $tately local broadsheet mentioned the paper’s financial interest in the survival of the Kenmore Square icon.

Including today’s Page One piece.

A new lease on life for beacon of Boston

Deal reached to keep Citgo sign in place

The Citgo sign will remain atop its longtime home in Kenmore Square after the petroleum company reached a deal with its new landlord Wednesday, ending a months-long standoff that had threatened one of the most recognized landmarks of the Boston skyline.

The fate of the rooftop sign had been in question since last year, when the building that hosts it was sold by Boston University to Related Beal, a New York-based development company.

 

(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, the piece by Adam Vaccaro and Tim Logan does include a sort of drive-by disclosure:

The controversy emerged last fall soon after Related Beal bought a total of nine buildings in Kenmore Square from BU for $134 million. Believing its old lease terms of $250,000 to be far below current market rates, the new landlord had wanted Citgo to pay as much as 10 times that amount.

Citgo had previously countered with an offer to pay $500,000, and had launched a public campaign to rally support behind the sign.

 

Pretty limp, Globeniks. And pretty sad you’re not willing to do the right thing and disclose your financial interest in this story.

But maybe that’s consistent with what editor Brian McGrory said about another recent adberation, which he labeled “part of a larger campaign that is important to the ad client and significant to the Globe.”

Make that $ignificant to the Globe, yeah?


Boston Globe Still Pump$ CITGO Sign Sans Disclosure

March 13, 2017

As the hardreading staff has relentlessly noted for the past year, the Boston Globe is playing financial footsie with Citgo over the Venezuelan oil company’s  quest to obtain landmark status for its iconic Kenmore Square sign.

The $tately local broadsheet has run numerous news reports on the sign’s endangered status and numerous Citgo-purchased ads like this one pleading for the sign’s protection.

 

 

(The hardcounting staff previously estimated that Citgo has spent five figures on Globe ads. We’re a moron. It’s probably more like $200,000.)

Saturday’s Globe featured a slightly mixed reaction from readers in the paper’s latest Citgo-no-go editorial offering.

 

 

 

Then, as night follows day, Sunday’s Globe featured this full-throated Citgo ad.

 

 

The Globe’s resolute refusal to disclose its financial interest in the Citgo sign rumpus is just one more sign of the paper’s increasingly questionable efforts to generate new revenues.

We totally get the Globe’s need to find new sources of revenue to keep the paper afloat.

What we don’t get is its willingness to risk editorial integrity to achieve that goal.

P.S. Citgo has run exactly zero ads in the Boston Herald so far. Maybe the thirsty local tabloid needs to sign up its newsroom, eh?


Boston Globe Still Won’t Admit Citgo $ign Conflict

March 6, 2017

From yesterday’s $tately local broadsheet:

 

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As the hardreading staff has dutifully noted for the past year, the Boston Globe has entirely omitted from its extensive coverage of the Citgo sign rumpus any mention that the paper has gleaned at least $25,000 from Save the Sign ads like this one.

 

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(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, $25,000 is lunch money at the John Henry Gazette, but it’s lunch money the paper should disclose whenever it moans about the Citgo sign’s ultimate fate.

(To be clear graf goes here)

To be clear, it’s not the fault of Globe reporter Tim Logan that his many Citgo sign pieces have lacked disclosure. The fault lies with the Globe’s editors.

Regardless, given the latest assault on the Kenmore Square icon, it’s not unreasonable to expect there will be more ads forthcoming from the Boston’s Sign campaign. Oh, wait – like this full-page ad that coincidentally appeared in yesterday’s Globe.

 

screen-shot-2017-03-06-at-1-44-39-am

 

Here’s something else that’s not unreasonable: To expect the Globe to disclose its financial interest in the Citgo sign whenever the paper covers that story.

But don’t hold your breath.


Globe Fails to Disclose Financial Interest in Citgo Sign

July 13, 2016

As the hardreading staff recently noted, the Boston Globe has been less than forthcoming in its coverage of the quest for giving landmark status to the renowned Citgo sign.

That’s because the Globe has not disclosed that the paper has profited nicely from Citgo’s campaign to save the Kenmore Square icon.

(Boston University – where the hardreading staff moonlights as a mass communication professor – is looking to sell the Commonwealth Avenue building the Citgo sign sits atop.)

To recap the $tately local broadsheet’s connection:

Citgo has spent tens of thousands of dollars over the past few months running ads such as these in the Globe.

 

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But no Globe stories – including today’s report that “[a] city board voted to launch the process of making the iconic electric sign an official city landmark” – have mentioned the paper’s financial profit from Citgo’s ad campaign.

As we have said before:

Rough estimate: At least eight quarter-page ads costing maybe $20,000.

So you say – $20,000? That’s lunch money at the Boston Globe.

True. But it’s lunch money the Globe should mention whenever it covers the Citgo sign rumpus.

 

And so we say again.


The Boston Globe’s Citgo Sign Conflict of Interest

July 1, 2016

From our Late to the Rescue Party desk

The $tately local broadsheet really needs to get better at full disclosure.

Wednesday’s Boston Globe featured this piece about the impending sale of the Kenmore Square building that the fabled Citgo sign sits upon.

Push to protect the Citgo sign

Commission to consider bid for landmark status

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 12.04.33 AM

Despite the Citgo sign’s storied spot on the Boston skyline, there are no city protections to keep it there.

Now, there’s a growing push to change that.

The Boston Landmarks Commission next month will take up a measure that could grant official landmark status to the sign above Kenmore Square. And an online petition supporting that plan received nearly 1,100 signatures in its first four days.

 

Back story: As the hardreading staff has dutifully noted, Boston University plans to sell 660 Beacon Street and several other adjoining buildings, but has has not made keeping the Citgo sign a condition of the sale. So, as the Globe piece reported, the Boston Preservation Alliance has launched a Change.org campaign to save the landmark sign.

But what the Globe piece did not report is that Citgo has run a series of Globe ads extolling the virtues of its sign.

Representative samples:

 

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Rough estimate: At least eight quarter-page ads costing maybe $20,000.

So you say – $20,000? That’s lunch money at the Boston Globe.

True. But it’s lunch money the Globe should mention whenever it covers the Citgo sign rumpus.

Or is that just us.


Prouty Garden Fight Gets Even More Tangled

February 26, 2016

Children’s Hospital, already engaged in an increasingly public skirmish with advocates fighting to save the medical facility’s Prouty Garden, now faces an even bigger and potentially more damaging battle. From Page One of today’s Boston Globe.

‘I’m very angry,’ teen says of ordeal

Pelletiers sue Children’s Hospital, cite misdeeds

 

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Nearly two years after she returned home in the arms of her father, Justina Pelletier was back in the spotlight Thursday, speaking in a small, slightly shaky voice about the 16 months she spent in state custody, much of it in a locked psychiatric ward.

Justina, whose case drew national attention to the power of medical professionals to override parental rights, said she remains outraged that she was placed in state custody in 2013 after Boston Children’s Hospital accused her parents of interfering with her care.

The 17-year-old Connecticut girl clutched a purple stress ball, fingernails painted turquoise, as she spoke from a wheelchair in front of the State House, where her parents had convened a press conference to discuss the lawsuit they recently filed against Children’s Hospital.

 

Boston Herald columnist Joe Fitzgerald frames it as a jump ball:

[W]hat we’re seeing in the heart-wrenching case of Justina Pelletier is a drama that defies easy answers, a high-stakes confrontation in which what we do not know is infinitely more important than what we do know.

 

There’ll be plenty of headlines to make Children’s officials cringe as this case plays out. Meanwhile, the hits just keep on coming in the Prouty Garden rumpus.

Yesterday there was this front-page piece in the Business section.

Amid backlash, hospital defends expansion plan

When Dr. Sitaram Emani, a cardiac surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital, heard about the baby from Springfield with the failing heart, he knew he could help.

But Emani quickly realized there was no room for the boy at the overcrowded hospital. Under sedation, the boy Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 1.21.18 AMwaited for weeks until Emani could fix the holes in his heart.

It’s a story that doctors and executives at Children’s, the region’s dominant pediatric care center, tell again and again: They don’t have enough beds, surgeries are being delayed, patients are being turned away and sent to other hospitals. And it’s why executives say they need to complete a $1 billion expansion of their Longwood Medical Area campus, a project that would create an 11-story tower with more room for doctors and nurses to treat more patients.

 

Except for those pesky Prouty people.

Yet the hospital’s message has been undercut recently by a group opposed to the proposal for reasons that have nothing to do with surgeries or beds. They object to the plan to build the tower over the Prouty Garden, a tranquil refuge for countless sick and dying children and their families. And many have emotional stories to tell.

 

But it’s the hospital’s story that’s mostly told in the Globe piece, which includes this:

 

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Advantage: Children’s.

Then there’s the paid portion of the $tately local broadsheet’s edition yesterday: this full-page ad on A12.

 

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(To be sure graf goes here.)

To be sure, there’s no reason to say that the Globe’s financial interest play into the paper’s coverage. It’s just that they sometimes do seem intertwined.

Regardless, the Prouty dustup is back in the Globe headlines today with this front-page Business piece.

Opponents lobby to keep Prouty

Opponents of Boston Children’s Hospital’s proposed $1.5 billion expansion asked the hospital to disclose all the alternative locations it considered before settling on a plan to build an 11-story tower on the site of the beloved Prouty Garden.Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 1.46.00 PM

They asked state public health officials to deny Children’s application, arguing that hospital executives have not met the state requirements for proving cost effectiveness, particularly regarding poorer patients.

The expansion project, which would add a pediatric heart center, neonatal intensive care unit, and private rooms, has attracted opposition from some patients’ families and doctors, including renowned pediatrician Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, who say that the half-acre garden has served as an oasis for families struggling with serious illness.

 

Maybe even the Pelletiers, eh?


Boston Globe Argues with Itself Over Prouty Garden

February 24, 2016

The Prouty Garden debate continues in the news today, with the Boston Globe of two minds over the planned demolition of the beloved oasis at Children’s Hospital to make way for a 500,000 square foot state-of-the-art intensive care unit for infants, a pediatric heart center, and additional operating rooms.

A Globe editorial makes the case for pursuing the greater good in this case. Under the headline “Children’s has the right vision for Prouty Garden,” the editors say this:

Children’s has demonstrated its willingness to work with the City of Boston, the Prouty family, and others to create spaces that can serve as a respite for families with sick children. [Children’s chief operating officer Dr. Kevin] Churchwell says the hospital recognizes “green space is part of the healing process.” Next year, a new garden is scheduled to open on the roof of Children’s main building. The expansion plans also call for a smaller outdoor garden (about half the size of Prouty), and indoor spaces that can be visited by patients who are unable to go outside. As hospital officials have pointed out, Prouty often isn’t usable by anyone during cold weather months.

 

Then again, “Jim McManus, a consultant working with Friends of the Prouty Garden — a group that has mobilized support for keeping Prouty intact — isn’t impressed. Rooftop gardens are typically windswept, unwelcoming, and devoid of wildlife, he says, and indoor green spaces are too hot in summer. Children’s can grow ‘without trashing Prouty,’ McManus says. ‘If you put a building there, it’s irreversible.'”

Just what that means in human terms is illustrated in Thomas Farragher’s Metro column today. Farragher tells the story of David Horton, a 13-year-old New Jersey boy who died of a brain tumor in 1973 after 13 operations at Children’s. His family spent untold hours with David in the Prouty Garden. “It was the only place in the hospital where you could breathe fresh air and get outside,’’ Elizabeth Richter, David’s sister, told Farragher. “And it was the only way we could see David. We’d spend hours there.’’

And when David died, his family decided he should spend eternity there.

[T]hey wrapped him in a blanket, placed him the backseat of a Volkswagen Beetle, and drove through a snowstorm from New Jersey to Boston for an autopsy. “My Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 12.44.15 PMparents hoped something could be learned for the future treatment of kids with similar condition,’’ Richter said. “They were determined to do that. They wanted his life and death to be a benefit to others.’’

And then they wanted peace for their son. David was cremated, and on a cold February evening, the Horton family assembled for the last time in the garden David loved.

 

And scattered his ashes in the Prouty Garden.

Farragher concludes:

How can state officials calculate the worth of the land consecrated with the ashes of David Horton? How can Boston Children’s Hospital assess the cost of abandoning its promise — made 60 years ago — that the Prouty Garden would be a refuge for its little patients for as long as the hospital was working to heal them?

How can anyone place a value on something like that? They can’t. It’s immeasurable.

Immeasurable. It’s a good word for the loss that will be absorbed if bulldozers are allowed to plow under David Horton’s final resting place.

 

The Massachusetts Department of Public health will hold a hearing tomorrow on the expansion proposed by Children’s Hospital. You can bet the Friends of the Prouty Garden – and of David Horton – will be out in full force.