Another Advertising UMassage at the Boston Globe

March 19, 2015

As the hardreading staff has repeatedly noted, the University of Massachusetts has slowly been colonizing the Boston Globe, stamping itself on the stately local broadsheet like Marty Walsh on City of Boston signage.

Today’s bit of UMasstery:

 

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If it feels a little unseemly how much UMass and the Globe are joined at the hip pocket, Erin Smith’s Boston Herald piece today only makes it unseemlier.

Institute contractors hit up for Globe mag

UMass PR firm solicited ads for Ted K tribute

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The public relations company representing the University of Massachusetts Building Authority, which hired firms to build the new Kennedy Institute, has acknowledged it solicited those contractors for pricey ads in an upcoming Boston Globe commemorative magazine section.

Julie Kahn, an executive with Regan Communications, said she used a list of vendors provided by the institute, named for the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, to make the sales calls for the ads, which started at $15,000 for a half-page.

 

So. Regan Communications has as clients: 1) the UMass Building Authority, a public agency that “financed and oversaw construction of the Kennedy Institute on the UMass Boston campus;” and 2) the Boston Globe, which is publishing “a special section to mark the opening of the Institute.”

So. Regan Communications gets from one client a list of companies involved in the construction of the Institute and uses it on behalf of its other client to solicit paid ads to celebrate said building.

How convenient.

But . . . how appropriate?

Kahn to the Herald: “It went out to everyone they did business with — everyone who profited. I don’t see a conflict. I was just given a list by the EMK Institute that they wanted me to contact. When you do a roast or someone retires, you call all your vendors to give back. This is very common in this business.”

In the PR business, yes. The question here is about the journalism business.

More of Kahn’s defense:

“A lot of contractors were on that list and most of them said, ‘No, we can’t afford it,’ ” she said. “A handful said yes and 80 or 90 percent said no. If there was pressure, I think we would have had a lot more success.”

 

Fine, but that doesn’t speak to propriety either. Competence, maybe, but not propriety.

(To be sure graf goes here.)

To be sure, the headscratching staff hasn’t settled on whether this mishegoss is the stuff of misdemeanor or felony. We lean toward the former, though. Certainly, it doesn’t sink to the level of the Los Angeles Times/Staples Center train wreck back in 1999.

Even so, given how much the Globe and UMass are playing footsie these days, it really doesn’t look – or smell – all that good for the mately local broadsheet.


Defending Vicki Kennedy Edition

July 24, 2012

Yesterday the hardreading staff noted the Sunday Boston Globe piece detailing trouble in Kennedyville, with Patrick and Ted K Jr. complaining that Vicki is pushing them around – and out – in the development of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate.

The already frayed relationship between Vicki Kennedy and her late husband’s children is at the breaking point, with the two sons growing increasingly convinced that she is jeopardizing the senator’s legacy and mishandling the creation of the $71 million institute that bears his name.

Much of the conflict centers around the construction and governance of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate, a project that faces potential cost overruns, according to a close family friend who was authorized by some family members to speak on their behalf, but who declined to be named.

Just like a hitman, wanting to remain anonymous.

But today Boston Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld rode to Vicki’s rescue in this piece:

Brat boys’ attack on Vicki Kennedy means family name is . . . 

Tarnished by silver spoons

Ted Kennedy engaged in his share of political mudslinging, but nothing as bad as the smear campaign being waged by his spiteful sons against his still grieving widow.

The anonymous, cowardly attacks against Vicki Kennedy are a new low, even for politics. If Patrick Kennedy and Ted Kennedy Jr. want to whine about their stepmother, they should at least have the guts to do it on their own — not through an unnamed friend.

Fair enough, if a bit overwrought.

For a tiebreker, maybe someone could check in with Hub ubermacher Peter Meade, who resigned as president of the Institute last year. As the Globe reported at the time:

Shortly after construction begins on the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate this spring, its president — handpicked by the senator just before his death — plans to make his exit.

The unexpected resignation of Peter Meade, combined with the recent departure of the chief executive of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, is fueling a growing sense in Boston’s political circles that there is confusion and conflict behind the scenes among the keepers of the vaunted Kennedy legacy.

In an interview, Meade, a longtime team player with the Kennedy family and one of Boston’s leading civic figures, confirmed he is leaving the institute, but insisted his departure is amicable.

Unlikely the politic Meade would say more now, but it’s worth a try, eh?


Feuding Kennedys Edition

July 23, 2012

Say, that was some scoop the Sunday Boston Globe got about the fussin’ and fightin’ among the Kennedy clan over the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate, yeah?

A RARITY IN CAMELOT: A PUBLIC FAMILY FEUD

Late senator’s sons at odds with widow

The already frayed relationship between Vicki Kennedy and her late husband’s children is at the breaking point, with the two sons growing increasingly convinced that she is jeopardizing the senator’s legacy and mishandling the creation of the $71 million institute that bears his name.

Much of the conflict centers around the construction and governance of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate, a project that faces potential cost overruns, according to a close family friend who was authorized by some family members to speak on their behalf, but who declined to be named.

At issue: “Edward M. Kennedy Jr. and Patrick Kennedy, the senator’s children, believe their father’s widow is badly bungling the efforts to create what their father had hoped would be a monument to his storied career in the US Senate, said the friend, whose account was confirmed by another close family associate.”

Also problematic:

Hard feelings have developed over the institute’s presence in the Kennedy family’s Hyannis Port compound. The institute, which earlier this year took possession of the original mansion and the sprawling lawn, is now charging a rental fee to the remaining family members who own property there if they want to gather on or in some way use the lawn that is the central part of the 2.4-acre waterfront lot.

The institute has also made the main house, which has been virtually unused since the senator’s death in 2009, out of bounds for use by the family.

Allowing the family to freely use the property and the house “would jeopardize [the Institute’s] nonprofit status,” according to Institute officials.

So how did Globe gumshoe Frank Phillips get this story when the Boston Herald didn’t?

Neither son would comment publicly. But their decision to authorize a friend to share their concerns about their stepmother’s leadership role in the institute is a highly unusual public breach within the famous political family, which has traditionally strived to avoid the public airing of internal disagreements and spats.

In other words, Little Ed and Patches picked the Boston Globe to be their House (of Kennedy) Organ.

The Globe didn’t get this story. It came to them.

Keep that in mind when you read it.