Digital First Media Pumps Out More Xerox Journalism

January 14, 2019

As the hardreading staff noted earlier today, Digital First Media –  the hedge-fund-fueled conglomerate that strips newspapers like cars left overnight on the Cross Bronx Expressway – has stepped up its news sharing among the chain’s Massachusetts dailies.

Yesterday it was Lowell Sun reporter Rick Sobey’s heart-rending front-page story of Anna Aslanian’s taking her own life to escape bullying. That piece wound up on Page One of the Boston Herald as well.

 

 

Today the papers criss-crossed: Herald reporter Alexi Cohan’s Special Report on bullying and the nine-year anniversary of South Hadley High student Phoebe Prince’s suicide migrated from the splicey local tabloid to the Sun’s front page.

 

 

Cohan’s reporting also appeared in Fitchburg’s Sentinel & Enterprise, another DFM kissin’ cousin.

Given Digital First Media’s neutron bombing of its newsrooms and recent consolidation of its “Northeast Cluster” under a Regional Editor in Chief, it’s fair to assume that we’ll be seeing a lot more of this carbon copycatting in the future.

Not sure, however, that we’ll keep our subscription to the Eastern Massachusetts Herald-Sun-Sentinel.


Parent Company Sharing Economy Hits Boston Herald

January 14, 2019

This was bound to happen.

Last month Digital Worst – sorry, First – Media, the hedge-fund-fueled conglomerate that strips newspapers like cars left overnight on the Cross Bronx Expressway, made this announcement.

Herald editor named head of Digital First Media’s Northeast region

Boston Herald Editor in Chief Joe Sciacca has been named to oversee the editorial operations of seven daily newspapers in Digital First Media’s Northeast Cluster, the media company announced today.

As Regional Editor in Chief, Sciacca will oversee DFM’s papers in Massachusetts and New York. Those papers include the Boston Herald; The Lowell Sun; Sentinel & Enterprise of Fitchburg; the Daily Freeman in Kingston, The Record of Troy, The Saratogian of Saratoga Springs and Oneida Daily Dispatch.

 

Logical conclusion?

Mixmaster!

Cue the Lowell Sun’s front page yesterday, which featured the heart-rending story of Anna Aslanian’s taking her own life to escape bullying.

 

 

Then cut to the splicey local tabloid’s Page One piggyback on that same story.

 

 

Clearly, this is the wave of the future for “Digital First Media’s Northeast Cluster.”

Sort of a cluster buck, no?


Shrinky Local Tabloid Now Slightly Less Shrinky

November 7, 2018

After months of neutron bombing its sports department (see coverage from our kissin’ cousins at One Daily Town), the Boston Herald has actually hired a sports columnist to fill the void in its Toy Department.

Tom Keegan joins Herald

Award-winning columnist latest addition to sports staff

Boston has a new voice for sports.

Tom Keegan, an award-winning columnist, editor and radio personality who has plied his trade in the Los Angeles, Chicago and New York markets, will join the Herald as sports columnist covering Boston’s championship-winning teams beginning Monday.

“Toughest teams on the planet, liveliest sportswriters and most colorful sports nuts in the country. Cool city,” Keegan said about Boston — to which he has family ties. “My trips to Fenway Park felt more like I was covering an event than a game. Wild intensity. Good times. Can’t wait to resume writing for the back page.”

 

Welcome to Boston, Tom.

Hope you don’t get folded, spindled, or mutilated by your Digital Fist – sorry, First – Media handlers.


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.


Boston Herald Is Shaking Down Its Home Subscribers

September 14, 2018

As one of the up to several Boston Herald home subscribers, the hardreading staff just received a letter telling us that the costly local tabloid will very soon be even costlier.

Increase-their-nut graf:

The Boston Herald appreciates your readership and hopes you have been enjoying your subscription. This letter will serve as notice that effective 2018-10-04, your new weekly rate will be $11.00 for the subscription term you have selected. As a home delivery subscriber, your subscription includes access to our website and E-edition replica.

 

Quibble #1: The Boston Herald website is free to all.

Quibble #2: Even by our admittedly calcified mathematical skills, the new weekly rate equals $572 per annum. At said Herald website, anyone can subscribe to the print and digital editions for about $250 less.

 

 

Quibble #3: This particular paragraph in the letter.

All home delivery subscriptions will include up to 4 SPECIAL EDITIONS annually. Each SPECIAL EDITION will be between $1.75 to $9.99 depending on the SPECIAL EDITION. If you prefer not to receive these SPECIAL EDITIONS, you must call Customer Service at the number above to OPT OUT. If you do not OPT OUT, the SPECIAL EDITIONS will be automatically billed to your account and your SUBSCRIPTION TERM will be shortened. Subscribers will be charged Sunday rates for Thanksgiving Day home delivery.

 

Smart move, considering that “[r]esearchers have learned that options and services too often falter because they’re designed to depend on people taking some kind of action. Studies show that relying on inaction yields better results,” according to this Association for Psychological Science report.

As our kissin’ cousins at One-Daily Town have diligently chronicled, the Boston Herald’s owner, Digital First Media, is determined to strip the Herald like a car left overnight on the Cross Bronx Expressway.

Apparently, Digital First feels the same way about Herald subscribers.


Boston Herald’s Inside Track ‘Throne’ for a Loop

February 22, 2018

Well, this is not encouraging.

In today’s Boston Herald, Inside Track gal Olivia Vanni dishes about author Andrew Morton’s appearance at the Boston Public Library last night to flog his new book about Wallis Simpson, Wallis in Love.

In the course of the evening, Morton’s attention turned to the subject of his next book: Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s fiancée.

As it appeared in the print edition:

Really? “Gave up the thrown”? Twice?

Earlier today it was the same in the online version.

“Edward gave up the thrown. Meghan’s given up ‘The Tig,’ ” said Morton, who spoke at the Boston Public Library about his newly released book, “Wallis in Love: The Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman Who Changed the Monarchy” last night.

“In this modern age, that’s quite the sacrifice,” he jokingly added. “The king giving up the thrown was a mere bauble compared to her voluntarily giving up her Instagram account.”

 

But now it’s been fixed.

“Edward gave up the throne. Meghan’s given up ‘The Tig,’ ” said Morton, who spoke at the Boston Public Library about his newly released book, “Wallis in Love: The Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman Who Changed the Monarchy” last night.

“In this modern age, that’s quite the sacrifice,” he jokingly added. “The king giving up the throne was a mere bauble compared to her voluntarily giving up her Instagram account.”

 

(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, it’s just one little mistake, so why make a federal case out of it, right?

It does make one wonder, though: Can the shaky local tabloid really afford to lose 25% of its already skeletal staff, as new owner Digital First Media plans to do?

Feels like not.


Boston Globe Scoops the Herald on Herald Sale

February 15, 2018

For the past several months, the Boston Globe has been playing catch-up to the Herald in covering the sale of the feisty local tabloid.

Today the Globe caught up.

Under the unusual byline “Globe Staff,” the stately local broadsheet reported the details of yesterday’s bake sale.

Bidding for Herald jumped by millions at auction

Digital First Media is poised to become the new owner of the Boston Herald after besting competitors with multiple higher bids during a bankruptcy auction Tuesday that netted nearly $12 million, according to newly filed court documents.

A transcript of the auction held in the office of Herald law firm Brown Rudnick revealed that Digital First opened with a bid valued at around $7.6 million — higher than the offers already in place from two other competitors, GateHouse Media and Revolution Capital Group.

After GateHouse countered Digital First with a slightly higher offer, Revolution Capital dropped out, leaving the two competitors to trade bids several times until Digital First’s final offer proved too rich for GateHouse, according to a transcript of the auction filed with bankruptcy court in Delaware.

 

And Digital’s final offer? “The Denver-based company, which owns daily and weekly newspapers in Colorado, California, Massachusetts, and several other states, prevailed with a final offer of $9.6 million in cash, $1 million in accrued paid time off to employees, and another $1.4 million in assumed liabilities.”

Crosstown at the Herald, reporter Brian Dowling didn’t have those numbers, but he did spotlight what exactly that breakdown means.

This year, the pension, severance and retirement payments to employees were estimated to reach $3.5 million, according to court papers. The pension, severance and retirement accounts had accrued nearly $25 million in liabilities when the company filed for bankruptcy.

 

Obviously $2.4 million isn’t gonna put much of a dent in that. Dowling also reported that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is “urging Herald ownership to strike a deal to save workers’ pensions.”

All due respect, Mistah Mayah, the corn is off the cob – unless the bankruptcy judge steps in to change the deal. We’ll find out tomorrow.