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?


Advertiser Moves Into Penthouse at Boston Globe

March 8, 2017

Metaphorically speaking, that is.

The hardreading staff’s memory isn’t what it used to be, but we can’t recall the Boston Globe ever selling the top of Page One to an advertiser.

Until yesterday.

 

 

Oddly enough, there’s no Boston Medical Center ad inside yesterday’s edition, the way you’d normally expect. Then again, the front-page banner might be just a teaser. (We’re writing this around midnight on Tuesday, so we’ll update in the AM.)

Coincidentally, yesterday the Wall Street Journal sold the same Page One real estate to another medical facility, NewYork-Presbyterian.

 

 

Again, we admit that we’re fast approaching our dotage, but we also don’t remember the Journal ever turning its top floor into a sort of Adbnb.

The monetization of newspaper front pages has evolved from Shabbat notices on Page One of the New York Times to full-fledged takeovers of front pages to whatever this new phase is.

Not for nothing, but NewYork-Presbyterian could only rent the basement at today’s Times.

 

A whole new version of Upstairs/Downstairs, eh?

P.S. No Boston Medical Center ad in today’s Globe. Huh.


Boston Herald Whiffs on Liz Warren Tiff Riff

December 16, 2016

Let’s start from the start.

On Tuesday, the New York Times ran this Andrew Ross Sorkin piece.

Elizabeth Warren Condemns the Wrong Man

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Senator Elizabeth Warren, furious about President-elect Donald J. Trump’s appointments of finance industry insiders, took to Facebook a little over a week ago to fire off a message to her nearly 2.5 million followers.

She took aim at an individual she described as a “hedge fund billionaire” who is “thrilled by Donald Trump’s economic team of Wall Street insiders.”

The hedge fund manager she condemned was Whitney Tilson, who runs Kase Capital. Ms. Warren — the fiery Massachusetts Democrat who is known for her stern mistrust of Wall Street — called him out by saying, “Tilson knows that, despite all the stunts and rhetoric, Donald Trump isn’t going to change the economic system.” Then she added, “The next four years are going to be a bonanza for the Whitney Tilsons of the world.”

 

Except . . .

Ms. Warren appears to be suffering from the same affliction that Mr. Trump’s critics accuse of him: a knee-jerk, fact-free reaction to something she had read in the news.

In this case, Ms. Warren seems to have come across a Bloomberg News article that includes some quotations from Mr. Tilson. But she didn’t read to the bottom or dismissed it before firing off her zingers.

 

Turns out “Mr. Tilson’s wife, Susan Blackman Tilson, was one of the students in the first Harvard Law School bankruptcy class that Ms. Warren taught, in fall 1992. The student has remained loyal to her professor; Mrs. Tilson wrote in a letter to Ms. Warren last week that she had been ‘cheering from the sidelines as you rose to national attention for your excellent work on behalf of consumers.'”

Oops.

On Wednesday, both Boston dailies picked up on the Times scoop.

Victoria McGrane’s piece in the Boston Globe.

In Warren, some are seeing shades of Trump’s antics

WASHINGTON — A little over a week ago, a powerful politician read something disagreeable in a news article, logged on to social media, wrote a post blasting a private citizen, and sent it to millions of loyal followers.

The politician wasn’t Donald Trump. It was Elizabeth Warren.

And the private citizen, a wealthy hedge fund manager named Whitney Tilson, is going public with his belief that Warren misunderstood the comments he made to a Bloomberg News reporter that prompted the Facebook denunciation from the liberal Massachusetts senator.

 

Wednesday’s Boston Herald had this op-ed from Colin Reed, executive director of America Rising, a Republican communications Super PAC.

Liz losing her grip after Dems’ losses

Foolish Facebook tirade hits at . . . one of own donors

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is coming unglued. Maybe it’s the looming inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. Or maybe it’s the realization that had she — rather than a 75-year old socialist — challenged Hillary screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-1-45-11-amClinton in the Democratic presidential primary season, her party could have had a different nominee.

Whatever the reason, the post-election weeks have not been kind to the former Harvard professor. Consider the most recent head-scratcher. On Monday night, The New York Times published a lengthy story about the Massachusetts senator taking to Facebook to blast a “hedge fund billionaire” who she accused of being “thrilled by Donald Trump’s economic team of Wall Street insiders.”

As the Times noted, there are several major problems with this attack. First, the target of her ire, Whitney Tilson, is not a billionaire. Second, he was not a Trump supporter. He’s actually a longtime and extremely generous donor to the Democratic National Committee and such candidates as Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and, you guessed it, Elizabeth Warren.

 

Yesterday, however, only the Globe had Warren’s predictable moonwalk, via this Yvonne Abraham front-page piece.

Her post went too far, senator says

Elizabeth Warren is still mad as hell at the Wall Street takeover of the next White House. But she’s also a little mad at herself.

That Facebook excoriation of hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson? She shouldn’t have done it, the senator said in an interview Wednesday afternoon. Afterward, she called Tilson to tell him so.

“I think I took it too far,” Warren said.

 

Yesterday’s Herald, on the other hand, had nothing.

Which brings us to today’s edition of the whiffy local tabloid.

Still nothing.

Then again, the Heraldniks have never been all that good at corrections and clarifications, have they?