In Boston Herald Sale, Employees Are the Wishbone

January 3, 2018

Full disclosure: The hardreading staff forgot to get an MBA, so we might be off in this analysis. But the two bids to buy the Boston Herald clearly have very different interests at heart.

Start with the new offer from Revolution Capital Group, as described today by Herald reporter Brian Dowling.

Second potential buyer makes offer for Boston Herald

A Los Angeles investment group is pledging a $5.75 million bid for the Boston Herald, the second public bid for the tabloid since it filed for bankruptcy in December.

Revolution Capital Group filed its bid yesterday with the federal bankruptcy court in Delaware. The company previously offered to buy the Herald in 2013.

Components of Revolution’s bid add up to more than the $5 million offer that newspaper giant GateHouse Media made last month.

 

But it’s not just more – it’s who gets more. “Revolution is offering $3 million cash for the company, agreeing to honor $750,000 of paid time off for employees who join the company, and is pledging to pay out $2 million in severance.”

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, Jon Chesto reminds us what the deal is with GateHouse.

GateHouse proposed paying $4.5 million in cash, as well as at least $500,000 in assumed liabilities, including paid time off owed to employees.

 

Unless our math skills fail us, that means Herald owner Pat Purcell gets $1.5 million less from a sale to Revolution, while employees at the shaky local tabloid get $2.25 million more.

Maybe that’s why “[the] new bid drew immediate praise from the Communications Workers of America, which represents more than 100 unionized workers at the Herald,” according to Chesto.

But Poynter Institute media business analyst Rick Edmonds points to Revolution’s acquisition of the Tampa Tribune in 2012, which it then sold to Poynter, owner of the Tampa Tribune, four years later. Edmonds told Chesto he thinks Revolution would likewise flip the Herald in a few years.

Long-term, Edmonds said, “[GateHouse does] make cuts themselves, and they have profit targets that they’re trying to hit. [But] they have a body of resources and competence that I don’t think Revolution Capital has.”

It’ll be interesting to see how the bankruptcy judge sorts that out.

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Boston Globe Can’t Stop Pumping for Citgo $ign

March 17, 2017

As the hardreading staff has noted in vain for the past year, the Boston Globe has reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars in Save the Citgo Sign ads. But its coverage of the rumpus over the Kenmore Square icon has never disclosed the paper’s financial interest in the outcome.

Exhibit Umpteen:  Today’s Business section story by Jon Chesto about Boston Signage Syndrome.

On Boston’s skyline, signs can be a tricky business

Jeff Immelt wanted a headquarters sign that could be seen from Mars.

Or at least that’s what the General Electric CEO jokingly told a crowd of local business leaders when he came to Boston a year ago to celebrate the company’s decision to relocate here.

Good luck with that, Jeff. The Boston Planning & Development Agency is reviewing the company’s new sign as part of broader construction plans for its future Fort Point office, and the rooftop logo will have more earthly dimensions, maybe 35 feet in diameter.

Still, the approval of a tower sign in Boston remains a rare gift, one bestowed upon a select few.

 

Among them – yes – the Globe’s own gas light.

The Citgo sign in Kenmore Square probably would never get approved today, and yet it has become a beloved landmark, one that Walsh helped save this week by refereeing lease negotiations.

 

Still, no disclosure.

Hey, Boston media watchers – don’t any of you want a piece of this?

Seriously?


Extra! Boston Herald Credits Globe Twice in One Day!

April 25, 2016

From our Credit Where Credit’s Due desk

In the course of covering local events, the Boston dailies often piggyback on one another’s stories, most often without acknowledging that the rival paper got there first. (See, for example, the Boston Globe’s routine drafting off the Boston Herald’s Grand Prix of Boston coverage.)

But sometimes one of the dailies does the right thing. Spoiler alert: It isn’t the Globe.

Page One of yesterday’s Boston Sunday Globe featured this piece about Mayor Martin J. Wiretap.

Walsh is drawn into federal labor probe

Before he was mayor, when Walsh was a labor leader, he was heard on a wiretap saying he had warned a developer using non-union workers. Walsh denies it.

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A sweeping federal investigation into allegations of strong-arm tactics by unions has triggered a wave of subpoenas to union leaders, developers, and Boston City Hall staff, bringing scrutiny to Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration and his work as a labor leader before taking office in 2014, according to people familiar with the inquiry.

At issue in the investigation is whether labor officials threatened developers and business people who hired nonunion workers on their projects. Walsh, though apparently not an early focus of the probe, became drawn into it through wiretaps on which he was recorded in 2012, saying he had told a development company it would face permitting problems on a planned Boston high-rise unless it used union labor at another project in Somerville, according to people familiar with the tapes.

 

Well that’s a big story and you knew right off it would be in the Herald today and sure enough it gets a two-page spread.

 

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Nothing unusual there. But what does stand out are the two times the Globe is credited with breaking the story, first in Hillary Chabot’s piece:

Walsh yesterday shook off suggestions that a federal inquiry into labor strong-arming has any connection to his work as mayor. The Boston Globe reported that Walsh as the head of Boston Building Trades Council was heard on a wiretap in 2012 saying he had warned a developer to get union workers on a Somerville project or risk losing Boston permits.

 

Then a second time in this piece by Jack Encarnacao and Laurel Sweet:

The wiretapped statement was captured during a conversation between Walsh, then-head of the Boston Building and Construction Trades Council, and Laborers Local 22 leader Anthony Perrone, the Boston Globe reported yesterday citing unnamed sources.

 

Good for you, Heraldniks!

And, hey, you Morrissey Boulevardiers: Take a lesson, wouldja?


Boston Globe Eats Herald’s Dust on IndyCar Coverage

April 24, 2016

From our No Credit Where Credit’s Due desk

Once again the Boston Globe has slipstreamed the Boston Herald’s coverage of the sputtering Grand Prix of Boston, which hopes to take place this Labor Day weekend.

Joe Battenfeld’s Friday Herald piece:

Race Hits Roadblock

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In another potentially serious setback to the Boston Grand Prix, a little-known city commission has blocked IndyCar race promoters from building parts of the course because of new climate change rules that require them to get a wetlands permit.

The 4-1 vote by the city’s Conservation Commission is the latest unexpected roadblock to the race, which has faced tough scrutiny from residents and a monthslong review from the city and state that put the Labor Day event in jeopardy.

 

Evan Allen and Jon Chesto’s Saturday Globe piece:

Conservation panel says Grand Prix needs more permits

Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Friday that he is optimistic IndyCar race organizers would be able to hold their event in South Boston in September, despite new environmental concerns raised by the Boston Conservation Commission.

“I’m hoping to see it here Labor Day weekend,” Walsh told reporters at a morning event. “I think there’s a process now they can follow, and I think they have to follow that process and make their case.”

In a 4-to-1 vote this week, the commission, which has responsibility for protecting wetlands in the city, concluded that the route planned for the race travels through a 100-year flood zone, and that organizers had to apply for permits that consider the potential environmental impact of any construction.

 

Nowhere does the Globe piece acknowledge that the Herald drove there first.

And this isn’t the only time the lately local broadsheet has drafted off the firsty local tabloid.

C’mon, Globeniks: Be a mensch, eh?