Kevin ‘Cullen’ It in Today’s Column About the Herald

January 12, 2018

So, to recap:

On Wednesday, Boston Herald reporter Brian Dowling had this piece in the selfie local tabloid.

Herald execs’ pay disclosed in bankruptcy filings

Premium salaries as bankruptcy neared

The Herald paid substantial salaries to its publisher and top executive as the newspaper’s finances grew dire and management directed the company to a bankruptcy sale, according to court papers.

Patrick J. Purcell, the Herald’s publisher, took home $970,092 in the year prior to the company’s Chapter 11 filing in Delaware on Dec. 8, according to papers in the ongoing bankruptcy case. His compensation included fringe benefits of a golf membership and use of a company vehicle.

 

Among others, Jeff Jacoby, late of the shaky local tabloid, applauded the paper for running the story (tip o’ the pixel to the redoubtable Dan Kennedy’s Media Nation).

 

 

Now comes today’s piece by the Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen, in which he whacks Purcell and waxes nostalgic about the feisty local tabloid.

Herald mogul takes a hit

It was the perfect Boston Herald story: Greedy entrepreneur runs business into the ground, walks away to his myriad mansions with pockets lined with millions while working stiffs are left holding the bag.

Remarkably, that story, which ran in Wednesday’s Herald pretty much straight, without typical tabloid excess, was about the publisher of the Boston Herald, Pat Purcell. It noted that in the year leading up to the Herald filing for bankruptcy and being put up for sale, Purcell was paying himself an annual salary of almost a million dollars, while doling out some $265,000 in salaries among his three daughters.

If you ask me, the best argument for wanting the Herald to survive was on robust display when reporter Brian Dowling wrote that story and the Herald courageously printed it.

 

(Spoiler alert: Purcell does not come across as a sympathetic character in the piece. But Herald staffers do.)

Cullen’s column a far cry from this mash note Globe owner John Henry published when Purcell first announced the sale last month.

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Pat Purcell’s service to Boston

Patrick J. Purcell, longtime owner and publisher of the Boston Herald, is someone who has spent most of his adult life tending to one of the most essential tasks of our democracy: leading civic conversations that are sometimes contentious but are invariably important. While his efforts on behalf of journalism for the city are well known, the personal impact he has had on so many over decades isn’t as well known.

Boston knows Pat as the driven media executive who long ago bought the Herald from Rupert Murdoch and infused it with a very strong vision for his adopted city. But he is also unfailingly described as a loyal friend and devoted family man, who landed here after a colorful career in New York and became a Bostonian to the core.

 

Which, apparently, means greedy and heartless.

 

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John Henry Held Hostage by Boston Herald, Day One

December 14, 2017

From our Hark! The Herald! desk

It’s always entertaining – and sometimes enlightening – when the Boston Herald covers itself, and this story in today’s edition is no exception.

Judge approves Herald to continue business as usual

The Herald’s lights will stay on and it can pay most of its bills during the bankruptcy process, a Delaware judge ruled, as the newspaper enters Chapter 11 bankruptcy eyeing a late February sale to GateHouse Media.

Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein yesterday gave interim approval for business at the Herald to continue mostly as usual, including paying for utilities, payroll and insurance policies, as lawyers piece through the newspaper’s bankruptcy filing and GateHouse’s $4.5 million offer.

 

But not to pay the selfie local tabloid’s printer. “Herald bankruptcy attorney Bill Baldiga said the judge delayed approving payments to The Boston Globe for amounts owed for printing, delivery, inserts and paper returns, given uncertainty about the totals.”

What’s absolutely certain, though, is that the Herald owes the Globe “an estimated $600,000,” according to the former’s bankruptcy filing reproduced in the Boston Business Journal.

So it might not be a coincidence that Globe publisher John Henry wrote this mash note atop today’s editorial page.

Pat Purcell’s service to Boston

Patrick J. Purcell, longtime owner and publisher of the Boston Herald, is someone who has spent most of his adult life tending to the most essential task of our democracy: leading civic conversations in Boston that are sometimes contentious but are invariably important. While his efforts on behalf of journalism for the city are very well known, the personal impact he has had on so many over decades isn’t as familiar.

Our city knows Purcell as the driven media executive who bought the Herald from Rupert Murdoch in 1994. But he’s also unfailingly described as a loyal friend and devoted family man, who landed here after a colorful career in New York and became a Bostonian to his core.

 

Of course, Henry wouldn’t be so crass as to include an invoice in the editorial, although he did mention the Globe’s printing facility:

“I was giving Pat a tour of the Globe’s new print facility in Taunton about a year ago and as we walked through, people would seek him out just to shake his hand and thank him for things he had quietly done for them personally, or for something he had done to help a family member or associate.”

Guilt . . . guilt . . . guilt . . .

The bankruptcy court will address payments to the Globe on January 4. We’ll see if Henry’s still feeling this collegial after that.


Boston Globe’s ‘Anything Can Happen (Satur)Day’

January 22, 2017

From our As the Globe Turns desk

When Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory recently trumpeted the coming reinvention of the local broadsheet (Hey! We can use John Henry’s garage!), the hardreading staff never imagined it would involve flip-flopping between formats for the paper’s Saturday edition.

A little over a year ago, the Globe introduced a new look on Saturdays, which we immediately labeled WSJr.

The Boston Globe unveiled a new look this morning, one that appears very much like a knockoff of the Weekend Wall Street Journal. (Sorry, no WSJ e-paper, so you’ll have to spring for one yourself, or – god forbid – take our word for it.) [Update: The Journal actually does have an e-paper now, praise God.]

Brave New Globe, Page One:

 

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And we noted this editor’s note from McGrory.

 

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So Metro, Nation, World, Business, and Opinion were all smushed together in the A section, while the new Good Life section was pure Wall Street Journalism.

But . . .

Yesterday, for reasons that went unexplained, the Globe reverted to its former format, with this Page One.

 

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And say hello to the old stand-alone Metro section.

 

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So, to recap:

The Boston Globe has a (relatively) new Saturday format.

Except when it doesn’t.

Okay then.


Boston Globe Pinheads Bring Back Zippy!

December 5, 2016

As the hardreading staff painstakingly chronicled, the Boston Globe dropped Bill Griffith’s Zippy the Pinhead comic strip last August. At the time of the Zipectomy, we had this to say about the management at the stately local broadsheet:

 

Boston Globe editor Brian (Hey – let’s reimagine the paper! We can use John Henry’s garage!) McGrory has now become a first-ballot entry into the Comic Strip Hall of Shame.

 

Well, we officially take that back, because Zippy himself is back. McGrory’s media culpa appears on page 2 of today’s Globe.

 

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From our Before ‘n’ After desk, here are Saturday’s comics pages.

 

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And here are today’s.

 

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And the triumphant return of Zippy.

 

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We’d like to think we had something to do with the Globe’s coming to its senses, but we doubt that’s the case. Still, live and let learn, that’s our slogan.


Fraidy Local Tabloid Won’t Cover the Boston Globe

April 10, 2016

What’s with the Boston Herald?

As the hardreading staff noted last month, the Herald resolutely refused to cover the Boston Globe’s Chernobylesque home delivery meltdown earlier this year. The Globe itself labeled it a “delivery debacle,” which we wrote “should be mother’s milk to the thirsty local tabloid but . . . nothing.”

Now comes the juicy memo from Globe editor Brian McGrory (first reported on Thursday in the redoubtable Dan Kennedy’s Media Nation) announcing a “no-sacred-cows analysis of our newsroom and what the Globe should look like in the future.”

McGrory framed it this way: “If a wealthy individual [who, presumably, is not John Henry] was to give us funding to launch a news organization designed to take on The Boston Globe, what would it look like?”

Regardless, don’t you want to hear the flamey local tabloid’s answer to that question? But over the past few days the Heraldniks have given us . . . bupkis.

Some speculate that the Herald has been laying off the Globe because the Globe prints the Herald. But that deal’s been in effect for three years and didn’t keep Herald columnist Howie Carr from lambasting the Globe for its Tsarnaev brothers coverage.

So why is the feisty local tabloid AWOL now?

All suggestions gladly accepted.


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.