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.


More Slop on the John Henry/Marty Walsh Hand-Holding in the Boston Globe

June 30, 2014

So, to recap for the umpteenth- hell, just see here.

The question is this: How did Marty’s Mash Note to the Boston Public Schools wind up as a full-page ad in last Wednesday’s Boston Globe?

 

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On Friday, CommonWealth Magazine (which came late – but smart – to the party) reported the issue thusly:

THE BOSTON GLOBE FOUNDATION donated a full-page ad in Wednesday’s newspaper to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh so he could thank the staff of the Boston Public Schools at the close of the school year.

Ellen Clegg, who heads the foundation, said the mayor personally asked Globe CEO Mike Sheehan for the ad space and the foundation provided it because the message was in keeping with the organization’s focus on education and literacy.

 

But Ms. Clegg had previously told the hardreading staff this:

The Globe Foundation donated the ad to the Boston Public Schools pro bono, as a public service. When we get a request for support from organizations that fit the Foundation’s mission, we work with the Globe’s advertising department to donate pro bono print ads in space that would normally go to unpaid “house ads.” It’s a great way to engage with the community. Other recent examples of pro bono ads include the One Fund and the MLK Summer Scholars Program, which the Foundation co-sponsors with John Hancock.

 

C’mon – “[donating] an ad to the Boston Public Schools pro bono” and kowtowing to the mayor of Boston aren’t even in the same zip code.

Regardless, Ms. Clegg perpetuated the split decision yesterday in these post-CommonWealth answers to our pre-CommonWealth questions, which took her initial explanation at face value:

• When you donated the ad to the Boston Public Schools, did you know it would take the form of a letter from Mayor Walsh?

Yes.

• Who did the creative/production of the ad?

The Globe’s advertising department.

• Given the ad’s content, did you have any concerns that it would appear you donated the ad to Mayor Walsh, raising questions about the appearance of compromising the Globe’s arm’s-length relationship with him?

The Globe’s newsroom is independent from the business side of the organization, and from the Globe Foundation, and had no involvement here.

I’m sure you’ve seen the newsroom’s recent scrub of Mayor Walsh’s hiring record (link below). I have confidence that our journalists will continue to scrutinize public officials and powerful institutions, including City Hall.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/06/09/mayor-martin-walsh-full-time-hires-are-predominantly-male-and-most-are-white/iJMJu3tzDjsXUCrpBgvOVO/story.html

 

Frankly, we’re more interested in scrubbing Ms. Clegg’s record of telling the hardreading staff one thing and CommonWealth another.

From the start of John Henry’s dual ownership of the Boston GlobeSox, the paper pretty consistently ignored conflicts of interest in his business dealings with the Menino administration (see here and here). If Henry is now dancing to Marty Walsh’s tune, he should own up to that, too.


Wait! Boston GlobeSox Owner John Henry IS Gettin’ Cozier with Marty Walsh

June 29, 2014

To recap one more time again:

Last Wednesday, this full-page ad appeared in the Boston Globe:

 

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That got the headscratching staff to wondering who paid for Marty’s Mash Note to the Boston Public Schools. So we sent a note to the Boston Globe Foundation (see lower left in the ad) asking just that: Did Mayor Walsh (read: Boston taxpayers) foot the bill? Did the Globe Foundation? Did no one?

And here’s what Globe lifer Ellen Clegg replied:

The Globe Foundation donated the ad to the Boston Public Schools pro bono, as a public service. When we get a request for support from organizations that fit the Foundation’s mission, we work with the Globe’s advertising department to donate pro bono print ads in space that would normally go to unpaid “house ads.” It’s a great way to engage with the community. Other recent examples of pro bono ads include the One Fund and the MLK Summer Scholars Program, which the Foundation co-sponsors with John Hancock.

 

(The hardquizzing staff followed up with an email that asked Ms. Clegg these questions: 1) When you donated the ad to the Boston Public Schools, did you know it would take the form of a letter from Mayor Walsh? 2) Who did the creative/production of the ad? 3) Given the ad’s content, did you have any concerns that it would look like you donated the ad not to the BPS but to Mayor Walsh, appearing to compromise the Globe’s arm’s-length relationship with him?

(We have yet to hear back.)

Meanwhile, as the redoubtable Dan Kennedy pointed out to us, the redoubtable Dan Kennedy pointed us to this piece in Commonwealth Magazine, where it seems to us Ms. Clegg told a very different story to CommonWealth Magazine (which, frankly, came late to the party):

Globe Foundation gives full-page ad to Walsh

Mayor approached CEO Sheehan for space

THE BOSTON GLOBE FOUNDATION donated a full-page ad in Wednesday’s newspaper to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh so he could thank the staff of the Boston Public Schools at the close of the school year.

Ellen Clegg, who heads the foundation, said the mayor personally asked Globe CEO Mike Sheehan for the ad space and the foundation provided it because the message was in keeping with the organization’s focus on education and literacy.

 

Yes, well, Ms. Clegg might want to focus on her own message(s). Clearly, she gave us a mere bag of shells.

Wish you hadn’t done that, Ms. Clegg. Makes a fella lose all faith in himself. (See 4:45)

 

 

The hardreading staff will call Ms. Clegg tomorrow and try to clarify all this, because turning your newspaper into a mayoral Make a Wish fund is a lot different from “donating an ad to the Boston Public Schools.”

But don’t hold your breath.


Is Boston GlobeSox Owner John Henry Gettin’ Cozier with Marty Walsh? (Globe Response Edition)

June 27, 2014

To recap:

On Wednesday, this full-page ad appeared in the Boston Globe:

 

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That got the headscratching staff to wonder, Who picked up the tab for Marty’s Mash Note to the Boston Public Schools?

So we sent a note to the Boston Globe Foundation, whose logo appears lower left, asking if they could tell us if Mayor Walsh (read: Boston taxpayers) paid for the ad space or the Globe Foundation did or if any money changed hands at all.

And here’s the reply we received from Globe stalwart Ellen Clegg:

The Globe Foundation donated the ad to the Boston Public Schools pro bono, as a public service. When we get a request for support from organizations that fit the Foundation’s mission, we work with the Globe’s advertising department to donate pro bono print ads in space that would normally go to unpaid “house ads.” It’s a great way to engage with the community. Other recent examples of pro bono ads include the One Fund and the MLK Summer Scholars Program, which the Foundation co-sponsors with John Hancock.

 

Ms. Clegg graciously offered to talk with the hardquizzing staff and we have a call in to her.

As always, we’ll keep you posted.


Is Boston GlobeSox Owner John Henry Gettin’ Cozier with Marty Walsh?

June 26, 2014

As the hardreading staff has noted on numerous occasions, the relationship between Boston Globe/Red Sox owner John Henry and the City of Boston (read: Tom Menino) over the past several years became increasingly – and profitably – chummy, from Landsdowne Street air rights to Fenway Franks.

But this is something else entirely.

Yesterday, we posted this:

Marty Walsh Hates the Herald

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has always struck the hardreading staff as deep-down a Boston Herald kind of guy. But you can’t tell by looking at the local dailies today.

Boston Globe, Page 9:

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Boston Herald: Nada thing.

Of course this logo lower left in the ad might explain that.

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Subsequently, the headscratching staff sent this email to the Boston Globe Foundation:

I produce the website It’s Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town and I read with interest Mayor Walsh’s full-page ad in today’s Globe. I also noticed that the Boston Globe Foundation logo was included lower left.

Can you tell me if Mayor Walsh paid for the ad space? Or if the Boston Globe Foundation did? Or if any money changed hands at all?

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
John R. Carroll

 

So far, we haven’t heard back from the Boston Globe Foundation.

But we do know it’s headed by Linda Pizzuti, a.k.a. John Henry’s Missus.

From Jason Schwartz’s The John Henry Emails in Boston Magazine:

When I got to chat briefly with Linda [Pizzuti, Henry’s wife] after the Chamber breakfast, she described her role at the paper as “evolving.” Is there any greater sense of what exactly her role will be yet?

Linda is fully engaged working on important issues for the Boston Globe. She is leading initiatives to activate our subscriber base connecting the Globe to the community. She is heading up the Boston Globe Foundation. And she serves on a number of internal committees that deal with real estate, circulation, social media and other business issues.

She was the driving force behind our recently launched Globe GRANT program, which gave our subscribers vouchers they are assigning to non-profit organizations for advertising space in the Boston Globe. This program has been very warmly received by charitable organizations and subscribers.

 

(Henry also writes in the exchange, “Mike [Barnicle] knows everyone worth knowing.” Huh.)

Anyway, we’re hoping to hear from the stately local broadsheet’s stately local do-gooders.

Did Marty Walsh (read: Boston taxpayers) pay for yesterday’s full-page ad? Did Linda Pizzuti? Mike Barnicle? Nobody?

Anyone at the Globe want to say?


Boston Globe Promotions Bleed into Boston Globe Editorial

March 2, 2014

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, Mrs. John Henry (a.k.a. Linda Pizutti) is heading up the John-Henry-owned Boston Globe’s GRANT program, which purports to provide financial assistance to local community programs through Globe-subscriber contributions.

 

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That’s all well and good, but Saturday’s Globe seemed to cross the line with this item in its Business section.

 

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Really, Globeniks: You wanna start using your newshole as a marketing tool?

Isn’t that supposed to be the exclusive province of the Boston Herald?

Just askin’.