Boston Globe Fails to Disclo$e Total Wine Ad Conflict

May 29, 2017

As the hardreading staff perused yesterday’s Boston Sunday Globe, we happened upon this full-page A3 ad.

 

 

That called to mind the Globe’s recent Page One piece about Total Wine’s “total war against alcohol regulations.”

Total Wine uncorks new front in its war on rules

Big-box alcohol retailer targets Mass. regulations

Total Wine & More is waging total war on the nation’s alcohol laws — and Massachusetts is the new front line.

The largest retailer of beer, wine, and liquor in the country, Total Wine has successfully challenged longstanding alcohol laws in numerous states, tilting the marketplace to its advantage through a mix of litigation, lobbying, and rallying support from customers . . .

In Massachusetts, Total Wine has sued to invalidate a state regulation that prevents retailers from selling alcohol below cost, a common practice in other industries. The company is also about to launch a public relations campaign here challenging a state rule prohibiting alcohol retailers from issuing discount coupons and loyalty cards. It has submitted the proposed changes to a task force convened by Treasurer Deborah Goldberg to streamline the state’s alcohol laws.

 

Here’s the interesting part: Nowhere in the Globe piece is there any mention of the tens of thousands of dollars the $tately local broadsheet has raked in from Total Wine ads over the past few months.

That’s very much like the Globe’s recent non-disclosure of its financial interest while covering the rumpus over the fabled Citgo sign; the paper raked in more than a hundred thousand dollars in ads touting the Kenmore Square icon but never mentioned them in their coverage.

Memo to Globe editor Brian McGrory: We know you need the advertising revenue. But c’mon – at least be honest about it.

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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?


Boston Globe Still Not Disclosing Citgo $ign Conflict

March 16, 2017

During the past year the hardreading staff has painstakingly noted what must be hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Citgo ads like this one that have run in the Boston Globe.

 

 

And yet . . .

Never once in its coverage has the $tately local broadsheet mentioned the paper’s financial interest in the survival of the Kenmore Square icon.

Including today’s Page One piece.

A new lease on life for beacon of Boston

Deal reached to keep Citgo sign in place

The Citgo sign will remain atop its longtime home in Kenmore Square after the petroleum company reached a deal with its new landlord Wednesday, ending a months-long standoff that had threatened one of the most recognized landmarks of the Boston skyline.

The fate of the rooftop sign had been in question since last year, when the building that hosts it was sold by Boston University to Related Beal, a New York-based development company.

 

(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, the piece by Adam Vaccaro and Tim Logan does include a sort of drive-by disclosure:

The controversy emerged last fall soon after Related Beal bought a total of nine buildings in Kenmore Square from BU for $134 million. Believing its old lease terms of $250,000 to be far below current market rates, the new landlord had wanted Citgo to pay as much as 10 times that amount.

Citgo had previously countered with an offer to pay $500,000, and had launched a public campaign to rally support behind the sign.

 

Pretty limp, Globeniks. And pretty sad you’re not willing to do the right thing and disclose your financial interest in this story.

But maybe that’s consistent with what editor Brian McGrory said about another recent adberation, which he labeled “part of a larger campaign that is important to the ad client and significant to the Globe.”

Make that $ignificant to the Globe, yeah?


Boston Globe Still Pump$ CITGO Sign Sans Disclosure

March 13, 2017

As the hardreading staff has relentlessly noted for the past year, the Boston Globe is playing financial footsie with Citgo over the Venezuelan oil company’s  quest to obtain landmark status for its iconic Kenmore Square sign.

The $tately local broadsheet has run numerous news reports on the sign’s endangered status and numerous Citgo-purchased ads like this one pleading for the sign’s protection.

 

 

(The hardcounting staff previously estimated that Citgo has spent five figures on Globe ads. We’re a moron. It’s probably more like $200,000.)

Saturday’s Globe featured a slightly mixed reaction from readers in the paper’s latest Citgo-no-go editorial offering.

 

 

 

Then, as night follows day, Sunday’s Globe featured this full-throated Citgo ad.

 

 

The Globe’s resolute refusal to disclose its financial interest in the Citgo sign rumpus is just one more sign of the paper’s increasingly questionable efforts to generate new revenues.

We totally get the Globe’s need to find new sources of revenue to keep the paper afloat.

What we don’t get is its willingness to risk editorial integrity to achieve that goal.

P.S. Citgo has run exactly zero ads in the Boston Herald so far. Maybe the thirsty local tabloid needs to sign up its newsroom, eh?


Boston Globe Still Won’t Admit Citgo $ign Conflict

March 6, 2017

From yesterday’s $tately local broadsheet:

 

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As the hardreading staff has dutifully noted for the past year, the Boston Globe has entirely omitted from its extensive coverage of the Citgo sign rumpus any mention that the paper has gleaned at least $25,000 from Save the Sign ads like this one.

 

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(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, $25,000 is lunch money at the John Henry Gazette, but it’s lunch money the paper should disclose whenever it moans about the Citgo sign’s ultimate fate.

(To be clear graf goes here)

To be clear, it’s not the fault of Globe reporter Tim Logan that his many Citgo sign pieces have lacked disclosure. The fault lies with the Globe’s editors.

Regardless, given the latest assault on the Kenmore Square icon, it’s not unreasonable to expect there will be more ads forthcoming from the Boston’s Sign campaign. Oh, wait – like this full-page ad that coincidentally appeared in yesterday’s Globe.

 

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Here’s something else that’s not unreasonable: To expect the Globe to disclose its financial interest in the Citgo sign whenever the paper covers that story.

But don’t hold your breath.


Globe Fails to Disclose Financial Interest in Citgo Sign

July 13, 2016

As the hardreading staff recently noted, the Boston Globe has been less than forthcoming in its coverage of the quest for giving landmark status to the renowned Citgo sign.

That’s because the Globe has not disclosed that the paper has profited nicely from Citgo’s campaign to save the Kenmore Square icon.

(Boston University – where the hardreading staff moonlights as a mass communication professor – is looking to sell the Commonwealth Avenue building the Citgo sign sits atop.)

To recap the $tately local broadsheet’s connection:

Citgo has spent tens of thousands of dollars over the past few months running ads such as these in the Globe.

 

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But no Globe stories – including today’s report that “[a] city board voted to launch the process of making the iconic electric sign an official city landmark” – have mentioned the paper’s financial profit from Citgo’s ad campaign.

As we have said before:

Rough estimate: At least eight quarter-page ads costing maybe $20,000.

So you say – $20,000? That’s lunch money at the Boston Globe.

True. But it’s lunch money the Globe should mention whenever it covers the Citgo sign rumpus.

 

And so we say again.


The Boston Globe’s Citgo Sign Conflict of Interest

July 1, 2016

From our Late to the Rescue Party desk

The $tately local broadsheet really needs to get better at full disclosure.

Wednesday’s Boston Globe featured this piece about the impending sale of the Kenmore Square building that the fabled Citgo sign sits upon.

Push to protect the Citgo sign

Commission to consider bid for landmark status

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Despite the Citgo sign’s storied spot on the Boston skyline, there are no city protections to keep it there.

Now, there’s a growing push to change that.

The Boston Landmarks Commission next month will take up a measure that could grant official landmark status to the sign above Kenmore Square. And an online petition supporting that plan received nearly 1,100 signatures in its first four days.

 

Back story: As the hardreading staff has dutifully noted, Boston University plans to sell 660 Beacon Street and several other adjoining buildings, but has has not made keeping the Citgo sign a condition of the sale. So, as the Globe piece reported, the Boston Preservation Alliance has launched a Change.org campaign to save the landmark sign.

But what the Globe piece did not report is that Citgo has run a series of Globe ads extolling the virtues of its sign.

Representative samples:

 

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Rough estimate: At least eight quarter-page ads costing maybe $20,000.

So you say – $20,000? That’s lunch money at the Boston Globe.

True. But it’s lunch money the Globe should mention whenever it covers the Citgo sign rumpus.

Or is that just us.