Why Hasn’t the Boston Globe Hired a New Art Critic?

April 5, 2018

As the hardreading staff relentlessly chronicled, the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer-Prize winning art critic Sebastian Smee decamped to the Washington Post last fall, finally landing on the job in early January. Right before that, the Globe posted this ad on multiple media outlets, including ZipRecruiter.

The ad doesn’t specify compensation, but according to the website Glassdoor, “the typical The Boston Globe Art Critic salary is $124,353 . . . based upon 4 The Boston Globe Art Critic salary report(s) provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods.”

Nice neighborhood.

(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, three months isn’t an overlong time when you’re looking for a six-figure art maven, but the Globeniks might want to step on it a bit, given that the Boston Museum of Fine Arts awarded this scoop to the New York Times rather than the stately local broadsheet, as our kissin’ cousins at Campaign Outsider noted yesterday.

Cracking a Cold Case

The F.B.I. extracts DNA from a severed head to help a Boston museum identify a 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummy.

In 1915, a team of American archaeologists excavating the ancient Egyptian necropolis of Deir el-Bersha blasted into a hidden tomb. Inside the cramped limestone chamber, they were greeted by a gruesome sight: a mummy’s severed head perched on a cedar coffin.

The room, which the researchers labeled Tomb 10A, was the final resting place for a governor named Djehutynakht (pronounced “juh-HOO-tuh-knocked”) and his wife . . .

The archaeologists went on to recover painted coffins and wooden figurines that survived the raid and sent them to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1921. Most of the collection stayed in storage until 2009 when the museum exhibited them. Though the torso remained in Egypt, the decapitated head became the star of the showcase. With its painted-on eyebrows, somber expression and wavy brown hair peeking through its tattered bandages, the mummy’s noggin brought viewers face-to-face with a mystery.

 

Namely, his head or hers?

What’s less of a mystery, of course, is why the MFA would have shipped the story out of town.

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Sebastian Smee Jumps From Boston Globe to WaPo

November 22, 2017

Well, the hardreading staff kind of saw this coming.

Back in June, we posed the question Is Sebastian Smee Jumping to the New York Times? based on this piece that the estimable art critic wrote for the Times Arts section.

 

 

Turns out we got the jump part right, just didn’t stick the landing.

From the Washington Post’s PR Blog (tip o’ the pixel to The FlatsOnD Apartments Daily):

Sebastian Smee joins The Post’s Features team

From Features Editor Liz Seymour, Deputy Features Editor David Malitz and Deputy Features Editor Mitch Rubin: 

We are delighted to announce that Sebastian Smee, the art critic of The Boston Globe, will be joining The Post in January as an art critic.

Hiring Sebastian represents an expansion of The Post’s fine arts coverage. He will team with Philip Kennicott to review major exhibits nationwide and report engagingly on the art world for a wide audience. Phil becomes the senior art and architecture critic and will also continue to write cultural criticism.

 

According to the Post’s press release, Smee will work for the paper from Boston starting January 8.

Here’s another date to consider: November 8. That’s the dateline for the Post announcement. But there’s been no mention locally of Smee’s move – which is major, both for the Globe and the Post – until now (it first appeared in a tweet from @FortPointer on Sunday).

Huh.

P.S. Smee still has this profile on his Twitter feed.

Double huh.


Is Sebastian Smee Jumping to the NYT (Part 2)

June 15, 2017

As you splendid readers might recall, the other day we noted this New York Times piece by Boston Globe art critic Sebastian Smee.

 

And we wondered whether Smee – whose Twitter profile describes him as “Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic for the Boston Globe, on leave in Australia for all of 2017” – was just having a summer fling with the Good Grey Lady or was perhaps setting up housekeeping with her.

So we tweeted him thusly:

 

 

We have yet to hear back from the redoubtable Mr. Smee, but we hasten to point out that his Twitter feed conspicuously features the New York Times review of his book, The Art of Rivalry.

 

 

Not Michael Upchurch’s Boston Globe review.

Draw, as it were, your own conclusions.


Is Sebastian Smee Jumping to the New York Times?

June 14, 2017

As the hardreading staff perused our costly print version of the New York Times yesterday, we came across this piece on Page One of the Arts section.

Wait – is that the byline of the Hub’s own Sebastian Smee, Boston Globe Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic?

Indeed it is.

Which got us to wondering: 1) where in the world is Sebastian Smee, given that his last byline in the Globe was back in December; and 2) has he abandoned Boston for the Big Town.

Smee’s Twitter profile seems to answer both questions.

 

 

Regardless, we’ve tweeted the redoubtable Mr. Smee to ask if he has permanently fallen under the spell of the Good Grey Lady.

We will, as always, keep you posted.


Boston Herald Jacks Up Newsstand Price by 33%

May 8, 2017

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, we’re one of roughly 17 home subscribers to the Boston Herald, which means that virtually all of the feisty local tabloid’s dwindling print circulation comes from newsstand sales.

So it’s no surprise that this Notice appeared on page 2 of today’s edition. (Note the reverse typeface, which is harder to read, especially for us elderly folk.)

 

 

Close-up (sort of):

 

 

The sneaky local tabloid does say that the price increase “will not affect home-delivered copies of  the Boston Herald,” which has up to tens of subscribers issuing a sigh of relief.

Still, that’s a one-third newsstand hike from Saturday . . .

 

 

. . . to today.

 

 

Which means the pricey local tabloid now costs the same as the Boston Globe.

 

 

The Herald’s newsstand price is also now double that of the New York tabloids, which, to be fair, are constantly waging price wars. Rising above the fray, the New York Times newsstand price is $2.50.

Two and a half times more for the broadsheet? That seems closer to the natural order of things, no?


Is Anything Not For Sale at the Boston Globe? (II)

March 10, 2017

In response to the hardtsking staff’s post yesterday that the Boston Globe was slowly becoming a sort of Adbnb after pimping out its front page on Tuesday and failing to label an editorial-looking ad on Wednesday, splendid reader Mark Laurence submitted this comment:

I don’t get your point. What is it about the Total Wine ad that doesn’t look like an ad to you? Did the graphics look too nice? There wasn’t a single sentence of text on the whole page, something you’d expect in a news story. If you want to complain about fake ads, how about the occasional Herald “road trips” to Florida or some other place that include advertising slogans and graphics in the middle of their reporter’s copy?

 

Well said, and an excellent opportunity to express some of the things we should have included in the original post.

All reasonable questions, Mark. I know it looks like an ad (although the Total Wine typeface feels kind of similar to Globe section headers), and there’s no text other than merchandise listings, etc.

But . . .

The Globe has traditionally labeled full-page ads that looked a lot more like ads with ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT across the top of the page. Beyond that, newspapers are getting into so many other businesses (e.g. the New York Times: Travel agency, educational institution, retailer, conference center . . . see here for further details), it could easily be the Globe selling wine on that page.

My point is this: Stealth marketing erodes editorial credibility incrementally, not all at once. Sort of the way authoritarianism erodes democracy, except not as serious. I’m more concerned with the Globe’s BMC sellout than any relaxation of ad labeling, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about the latter.

As for the Herald, I’ll keep an eye out for the next time the paper sheds an adificial light on the Sunshine State.

 

That’s all for now. But more, we’re guessing, to come . . .


Is There Anything Not For Sale at the Boston Globe?

March 9, 2017

As the hardreading staff duly noted, on Tuesday the Boston Globe pimped out – for the first time – its front page to the Boston Medical Center.

 

 

The redoubtable Dan Kennedy had this Broadsheet Confidential report at WGBH News.

Globe Editor McGrory Defends Placement Of Front-Page Boston Medical Center Ad

The print edition of [Tuesday’s] Boston Globe includes a banner advertisement that appears above the nameplate at the very top of the page. The ad, for Boston Medical Center, promotes that institution’s addiction services. The placement is unusual enough to have prompted a message to the staff late Monday night from Globe editor Brian McGrory:

Just a heads up to everyone that we have an unorthodox ad on the front page of tomorrow’s print Globe. There’s a copy of it at the bottom of this email. As you’ll see, it’s the same shape and size as our regular strip ads on the front, but it’s at the top of the page rather than the bottom.

We didn’t permit this lightly. The cause of fighting addiction is a noble and vital one. The institution involved, the Boston Medical Center, plays an important role in our community on this and many other issues. And we don’t intend this to be a regular ad position. This is part of a larger campaign that is important to the ad client and significant to the Globe.

Any issues or questions, feel free to raise or ask. Otherwise, thanks as always for your commitment to great journalism.

Brian

 

So the commitment to great journalism includes accommodating what’s “important to the ad client and significant to the Globe.”

Because they’re both on the side of the angels, right?

Except . . .

Yesterday’s edition of the Globe makes the $tately local broadsheet look like it’s on the side of the angles.

From Wednesday’s Food section, what at first glance looks like a two-page editorial spread:

 

 

Wait – where’s the ADVERTISEMENT   ADVERTISEMENT    ADVERTISEMENT at the top of page G3?

 

 

Apparently in someone’s desk drawer at the Globe.

(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, the hardtsking staff can be a bit over-fastidious at times. But still, you have to wonder: How often will what’s important to the ad client and $ignificant to the Globe now dictate the aditorial content of the paper?

Or is the Globe content merely to be the Adbnb of whatever renters come its way?