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?


Subsidized Critic Makes Big $plash in Boston Globe

November 25, 2016

As both the Boston Globe and the New York Times noted several weeks ago, Zoë Madonna has started a 10-month gig as classical music critic for the Globe, which is receiving financial support from the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation (details on the SCFM pilot program here).

Madonna filed what seems to be her maiden piece on November 10 (hard to know for sure because the Globe’s search engine is a total trainwreck), but today she got the whole Names page.

 

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In the Globe story announcing Madonna’s arrival, editor Brian McGrory had this to say:

“We could not be more delighted to participate in this novel experiment with such worthy partners. We are excited about the benefit to our industry, to some of the great cultural institutions of Boston, and most especially to our readership, which will very much appreciate the proven talents of this young critic.”

 

The Times piece, on the other hand, addressed the part that might not be so beneficial: “[T]he new Globe arrangement raises journalistic questions, since some of the nonprofits that will help foot the bill for its critic come from the very music world Ms. Madonna will assess.

McGrory told the Times the Globe “would be on the lookout for potential conflicts and work to avoid them.”

The hardreading staff has no reason to doubt the purity of the Globe’s intentions or the integrity of Ms. Madonna’s work. We wish them both good luck in keeping the camels out.


Chipotle to Boston Herald: Eat Me (Ad-Free Edition)

September 22, 2016

From our Local Dailies DisADvantage desk

Yesterday’s Boston Globe featured this full-page ad from Chipotle, which is desperately seeking eaters after multiple food-borne illness outbreaks.

 

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Whatever.

No such advertisement, however, appeared in yesterday’s spicy local tabloid (although it did run in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal).

Memo to Chipotle’s marketing nudniks:

Boston Herald readers eat crappy food too.

Smarten up, eh?


NYT Stiffs Boston Globe on Dershowitz Sextlement

April 13, 2016

As the hardreading staff noted several days ago, the Boston Globe broke the story of Alan (Claus von Bugle) Dershowitz’s settlement of allegations that he had sex with a minor.

Sex allegations against Dershowitz called mistake

 

Two plaintiffs’ lawyers admitted Friday that they made “a mistake” when they accused famed attorney Alan Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 12.07.50 PMDershowitz of having sex with their client when she was a minor.

The admission came in a joint statement released by the lawyers, Paul G. Cassell and Bradley J. Edwards, and Dershowitz to settle defamation suits the two sides filed against one another in state court in Florida.

“Edwards and Cassell acknowledge that it was a mistake to have filed sexual misconduct accusations against Dershowitz,” the statement said. “[A]nd the sexual misconduct accusations made in all public filings … are hereby withdrawn. Dershowitz also withdraws his accusations that Edwards and Cassell acted unethically.”

 

Now comes yesterday’s New York Times piece about the same.

Dershowitz and Two Other Lawyers Settle Legal Fight

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The noted defense lawyer Alan M. Dershowitz and two lawyers who had sued him claiming defamation have dropped court actions against each side, ending a prominent dispute that included accusations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Dershowitz.

The settlement, announced on Friday, included a financial arrangement. But a lawyer involved in the case would not say who had paid.

 

And the Times piece would not say who had the story first.

Hey, Timesniks: We know you got shortchanged when you sold the Globe. But bad form to short them back.