Boston Globe Using Slimy Law Firm to Bust Its Union

October 13, 2019

Well the hardreading staff was listening to the latest episode of Slate’s excellent Trumpcast when we heard Above the Law contributor Elie Mystal say this to host Virginia Heffernan.

Jones Day has been basically the legal farm team for the Trump administration. It’s where [former White House counsel Don] McGann comes from. And McGann has brought along a lot of his kind of cronies and partners. It is where I think for something like 17 Jones Day lawyers have either had positions in the Trump administration or been nominated to judgeships by the Trump administration . . . They are being sued right now for some really troubling sexual harassment and hostile work environment allegations of refusing to pay women partners as much as men . . . There was one allegation where a associate of color claims that Jones they doctored her picture on their website to make her look darker . . . and widened her nose and made her look darker with Photoshop to say ‘Look see we got a black one. Leave us alone.’ The thing about Jones  that people need to understand is that this is totally on brand for Jones Day . . . This is a firm that got their start as a big tobacco law firm.

 

Wait – isn’t Jones Day the law firm the Boston Globe hired to negotiate a new contract with its newsroom and business employees?

Yes indeed, as the Boston Business Journal’s estimable Don Seiffert reported last December.

Boston Globe hires law firm known for taking hard line with unions

With the Boston Globe’s contract with newsroom and business employees set to expire at the end of the year, the paper has hired a law firm with a reputation for taking a hard line on media unions when it comes to contract talks.

In a memo to members last week, the Boston Newspaper Guild, which says it represents about 300 workers at the Globe, said the company recently hired law firm Jones Day, saying the firm is “known for union-busting in the media industry.”

 

But it’s not just union-busting on Jones Day’s resume.

Self-styled local paragons John Henry and Linda Pizzuti Henry have hired an allegedly sexist, racist, ethically challenged law firm to represent them in a purportedly good faith labor negotiation with its employees.

As the Globe turns, eh?


Boston Globe Story a Free Ad for Fenway Advertiser

April 6, 2019

From our Boston GlobeSox desk

A sharp-eyed Two-Daily Town reader posted this on Facebook last night.

Wow, the Boston Globe has a story about a Red Sox commercial partner — a casino, no less — entering into a deal to put an ad on the left field wall (I refuse to call the edifice by its brand name.) And it comes with a picture of the new logo. Imagine that. How ever did the team owners convince the region’s dominant media outlet to run a piece on what is essentially a marketing deal that enriches the owners but means nothing to fans. Boy, that’s some pull, huh? ( The Globe, by the way, most recently ran an editorial opposing expanding casino gambling, a move that would hamper the Sox newest partner.  Hmm, wonder if [the] hard reading staff at “It’s Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town” took notice.)

 

Sure enough, this piece was sitting up like tee-ball on the Globe’s website.

Red Sox and MGM Resorts officials reveal additions at Fenway Park

The Green Monster has a new logo, just in time for the Red Sox home opener.

A large advertisement featuring MGM Resorts’ roaring lion trademark was unveiled at Fenway Park Friday, courtesy of a new partnership between the team and the casino giant.

“This is hallowed ground,” said Jim Murren, chief executive officer of MGM Resorts International. “The fact that Fenway Sports is willing to work with us is humbling.”

 

Yeesh.

The story also flacks “an array of new concession snacks, renovations to the press box and player clubhouses, and augmented-reality capabilities for the MLB Ballpark app, which will allow fans to roam the stadium with their phones, scan certain objects, and see them come to life.”

Two things to note:

1) Nowhere in that piece – or in the print version – is it disclosed that the Boston Globe is owned by Red Sox owner John Henry.

2) The piece was written by a Globe correspondent – not a staffer – who is presumably blameless in this matter and so will go unnamed.

But the correspondent’s editors – they’ve got some ‘splaining to do, no?


Boston Globe Is Now the Dollar Store of Dailies

November 22, 2018

Recipients of the latest Boston Globe Weekender newsletter were greeted with this cheery offering from local scribe Michael Andor Brodeur.

From now through what is still for some reason called “Cyber Monday,” Weekenders can score a one-year subscription to the Globe online for just a buck a week for a year. I just did the math on that and it comes out to just $52, which is objectively less than other prices (including the usual $360).

 

Stop the presses!

On second thought, don’t. For several years now the Globeniks have staked their future on expanded digital revenues, as the redoubtable Dan Kennedy noted last month in Media Nation.

[T]he paper is reporting that it has passed the 100,000 level for digital-only subscriptions, a benchmark the paper’s executives had originally hoped to reach by the end of June. Don Seiffert of the Boston Business Journal has the details.

When I interviewed Globe editor Brian McGrory for “The Return of the Moguls” nearly two years ago, he said the paper would start to look like a sustainable business if it could hit 200,000.

 

Not to be the skunk at the garden party, but given that 1) the Globe introduced its paywall in 2011, and 2) it’s taken seven years to get to 100,000 digital-only subscribers, the question remains: Will Globe owner John Henry have the patience to wait until 2025 for the paper “to look like a sustainable business”?

As the BBJ’s Seiffert noted:

[G]etting to the second 100,000 subscriptions will be a heavy lift for a paper like the Globe that’s bound by geography. Rick Edmonds, media business analyst for the Poynter Institute, said in an email interview a couple weeks ago regarding the Globe’s digital progress that “as with print circulation, (digital) growth can be hard to sustain.”

“It takes marketing, a steady effort to convert people to fully paid, keeping renewal rates up and replacing churned subs with new ones at the discounted price,” said Edmonds. “If times are tight and (Globe owner) John Henry is impatient with losses as he has said — I can see the budget for all of that being cut back.”

 

Maybe even cut back to a dollar a week.


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.

 


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:

 

screen-shot-2015-10-03-at-2-08-09-pm

 

And we noted this editor’s note from McGrory.

 

screen-shot-2015-10-03-at-2-09-13-pm

 

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.

 

screen-shot-2017-01-22-at-12-19-55-am

 

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

 

screen-shot-2017-01-22-at-12-20-20-am

 

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.

 

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-11-35-00-am

 

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

 

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-11-38-21-am

 

 

And here are today’s.

 

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-11-35-36-am

 

And the triumphant return of Zippy.

 

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-11-36-02-am

 

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.