Do Globe Layoffs Have ‘Your Worried’? It’s Too Late

December 2, 2018

As the hardreading staff worked its way through Saturday’s local dailies, we encountered this headline on Hiawatha Bray’s latest tech column in the Boston Globe.

 

 

Of course the headline should have read “have you worried.”

Then again, grammatical glitches in the shrinky local broadsheet are no surprise, given that the Globe is shedding editorial staff like a Corgi in spring.

Which should have your worried, no?

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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.


Hark! The Herald! (Useless Print Edition Edition)

March 22, 2018

Umpteenth in our never-ending series

On numerous occasions the hardreading staff has referred to a Boston Herald subscription as Biggest. Waste. Ever.

And now we’re back.

Page 3 of today’s selfie local tabloid is entirely devoted to this piece bylined “Herald Staff,” the designation routinely employed in passing off press releases as actual news.

Herald moves print production to Providence Journal

The Boston Herald is now being printed in Providence, which means our loyal customers can look forward to a more reader-friendly paper.

Beginning this week, the Herald is being printed at the The Providence Journal’s flexographic newspaper printing facility, which was North America’s first entirely flexographic printing facility when it opened in 1987. The Journal selected the flexo process because it creates a paper with vibrant color reproduction and uses an environmentally friendly, water-based ink that won’t have the paper rubbing off on your hands.

 

More reader-friendly?

Here’s what this reader got on today’s Scoreboard pages.

The redoubtable Dan Kennedy at Media Nation called this one several days ago: “I’m hearing reports from inside the Herald that the switch will require deadlines so early that evening sports stories may not make the print edition.”

Bingo.

(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, the Herald at times gave readers the same short shrift when the Boston Globe printed it.

(Two be sure graf goes here)

Also to be sure, the e-Edition of the spotty local tabloid did have yesterday’s results.

But we’re shelling out good money for the print edition while getting less news for the buck all the time.

So, Heraldniks, we say this as you celebrate your new printing setup: Not a providential beginning. Not by a long shot.


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.

 


Boston Globe Still Won’t Disclose Total Wine Intere$t

June 1, 2017

As the hardreading staff noted earlier this week, the Boston Globe is raking in ad revenue from Total Wine & More while also reporting on the disruptive liquor retailer’s attempts to change state alcohol rules nationwide.

But the Globe has at the same time failed to acknowledge its financial relationship with Total Wine, which has spent tens of thousands of dollars on advertising in the $tately local broadsheet.

Latest example: Yesterday’s Page One piece on the pushback to relaxing alcohol regulations. Buried in the final grafs was this:

Businesses, meanwhile, are prepared to spend handsomely to push measures that benefit them. The Total Wine & More chain, for example, just launched a large public relations campaign urging the task force and the Legislature to allow alcohol retailers to issue coupons and loyalty cards.

 

At that point you’d think the Globe might mention this ad that ran three pages later.

 

 

But no.

Then again, not everyone finds the Globe’s non-disclosure problematic. After our initial post, the redoubtable Dan Kennedy sent us this message.

 

 

We yield to no man in our respect for Mr. Media Nation, but . . .

 

 

One final note: Before you pooh-pooh the hardtsking staff, consider the Globe’s totally egregious pom-pom reporting of the recent Citgo sign rumpus, during which the paper raked in easily a hundred thousand dollars in feel-good ads for the Kenmore Square icon without disclosing its financial interest in the matter.

But no matter?

Respectfully, we think not.


Boston Herald Still the Thirsty Local Tabloid for Ads

May 4, 2016

From our Local Dailies DisADvantage desk

The Boston Herald has long been the venue of last resort for full-page ads of the advocacy/corporate image/memorial sort.

As it was yesterday, when the Herald was bypassed by two ads that ran in the Boston Globe.

First, this Boston suck-up ad from GE (which in this town stands for Got Everything.)

 

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Then, this Boston Ad Club full-page backpat honoring diversity in a town that has long hampered diversity.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 12.48.43 AM

 

(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, yesterday’s Herald did feature this full-page bank ad.

 

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As well as this half-page Massachusetts tax amnesty ad.

 

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Neither of which ran in yesterday’s Globe.

Still, there’s no question that the Herald is an afterthought in the eyes of local advertisers.

Which makes it all the more interesting that the feisty local tabloid seems to enjoy better fiscal fitness than the stately local broadsheet, which is now desperately downsizing (tip o’ the pixel to the redoubtable Dan Kennedy at Media Nation) as it moves from its sprawling Morrissey Boulevard home to cramped quarters in Boston’s financial district.

So who’s really at a disadvantage, eh?


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.