For Once Boston Globe Says ‘Suffolk U’ to the Herald

April 14, 2016

Ever since the Margaret McKenna/George Regan rumpus at Suffolk University began several months ago, the Boston Herald – especially columnist Joe Battenfeld – has been out front on virtually every development in the serial dustup. But today’s Boston Globe beats the firsty local tabloid – twice – on the latest mishegoss at Day Hop U.

Start off with this Metro Page One report from Laura Krantz.

Suffolk beset by renewed tension

Storms swirl on accreditation, board of trustees, McKenna

Two months after Suffolk University trustees and president Margaret McKenna reached a truce that seemed to smooth their splintered relationship, a cloud of discord is still looming over the downtown college.Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 4.29.18 PM

A series of recent events raises new questions about the future of the besieged school, and about how long McKenna will lead it.

The college’s board of trustees has hired two attorneys to address personal and professional allegations against McKenna by public relations executive George Regan, who has threatened to sue Suffolk after it canceled his firm’s contract.

In addition, the school faces renewed scrutiny from accreditors, and professors say morale has plummeted.

 

In other words, it’s a mess.

But Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham does her best to stick a smiley face on “the besieged school.”

A plea from Suffolk

You’ve been admitted to Suffolk University, in the heart of beautiful downtown Boston. You’re going to love it here, should you choose to join the class of 2020. And we sure hope you do, since we need your tuition payments to keep us alive.

We have super courses in psychology, political science, marketing, and law, to name a few. There are three libraries and a campus in Madrid. And sparkling new buildings, all steps from the famous Frog Pond.

Please, choose us! And please, pay no mind to the grown-ups acting like vindictive children here on Tremont Street. They just run the place. Nothing to worry about.

 

It just gets snarkier from there, especially about George Regan.

Oh, and here Regan is . . . this week in Commonwealth Magazine, pictured with his adorable dog, making the spurious claim that the board didn’t really want to hire McKenna, saying “that woman” — don’t worry, female freshmen, we’re so enlightened — “has no right being the leader.”

 

Ouch.

Crosstown at the Herald, meanwhile, all’s quiet on the Suffolk front today. We’re assuming that changes tomorrow.

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No Credit Where Credit’s Due from Boston Herald

April 1, 2016

From time to time the hardreading staff issues credit reports on the stories the Boston dailies appropriate from one another. For example, yesterday we noted that Boston Globe reporter Joshua Miller’s Political Happy Hour gave a credit and a link to Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld’s scoop on the latest dustup between Suffolk University trustees and President Margaret McKenna.

We’re dismayed to report, however, that the frosty local tabloid declined to return the favor today in Donna Goodison’s piece about the redevelopment of the Seaport District’s Pier 4.

Pier 4’s peerless design

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Tishman Speyer released new renderings for its Pier 4 project in the Seaport District that will include a nine-story, 100-unit luxury condo building and 13-story office building, both with ground-floor retail and restaurant space.

The New York company plans to demolish the former Anthony’s Pier 4 restaurant next week to make room for a one-acre park and half-acre public plaza as part of its development on the South Boston waterfront.

 

That piece comes in the wake of Tim Logan’s far superior one that appeared in Wednesday’s Globe.

 

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No mention of the Globe’s piece in today’s stingy local tabloid, though.

C’mon, Heraldniks: Be a mensch, eh?

P.S. Boston Magazine’s Kyle Scott Clauss also picked up on the story today, but – to his credit – he did give credit to the Globe.


Herald Has Latest ‘Suffolk U’ to School’s President

March 31, 2016

As the hardreading staff has duly noted, Boston Herald communist Joe Battenfeld has been on Suffolk University’s slow-motion defenestration of President Margaret McKenna like Brown on Williamson.

Exhibit Umpteen: Battenfeld’s piece today on the newest salvo in the McKenna rumpus.

New Suffolk offensive

In a new escalation of the nasty war over control of Suffolk University, the school’s trustees are launching an independent probe into allegations of misspending by Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 3.24.43 PMPresident Margaret McKenna after she balked at cooperating with an internal investigation, sources told the Herald.

The trustees’ decision to investigate came after another attorney engaged by the board concluded the school had to “thoroughly investigate” charges of fiscal impropriety against McKenna brought by public relations maven George Regan after she terminated his longtime contract with Suffolk.

 

Yeah – those lessons in Regan-omics will get you every time. Turns out in this case, McKenna is collateral damage in the PR poobah’s gold rush.

[Board of Trustees Chair Andrew] Meyer told trustees last week that the school’s executive committee sought an outside opinion from a New York attorney, Monica Barrett, on how to respond to Regan’s charges and his demand for compensation for being fired.

Barrett’s advice to conduct a serious investigation prompted trustees to approach McKenna, sources said, but she didn’t immediately give them access to her expense records. But sources close to McKenna strongly deny she’s refusing to cooperate.

 

Crosstown, the Boston Globe had nothing on the story in today’s print edition, but reporter Joshua Miller picked up on it in his Political Happy Hour blog post this afternoon:

UNENDING SUFFOLK U BOARD DRAMA, by Joe Battenfeld on page 3 of today’s Boston Herald: “In a new escalation of the nasty war over control of Suffolk University, the school’s trustees are launching an independent probe into allegations of misspending by President Margaret McKenna after she balked at cooperating with an internal investigation, sources told the Herald. …” http://bit.ly/21UJqyL

 

Hey – a credit and a link?

They must be pretty happy at the firsty local tabloid, eh?


Boston Globe Says ‘Suffolk U’ to Boston Herald

March 5, 2016

The slapfight at Suffolk University between president Margaret McKenna and the school’s board of trustees continues apace, as Laura Krantz reports in today’s Boston Globe.

PR firm is hired at Suffolk to help repair trustees’ image

Suffolk University trustees have hired public relations firm Rasky Baerlein to help repair their image after a three-week standoff between the board and President Margaret McKenna, a board member said Friday.

The firm will work exclusively for the board and will be paid by the university, according to trustee Jim Morris. He said the goal is to repair the board’s image and make sure the trustees’ side of the story is told. He said he did not know the cost of the arrangement.

 

Morris also told the Globe, “It’s not to declare war against her or anything like that. Everybody wants to calm this thing down. I think we’re on the verge of detente.”

No detente between the local dailies, though. Nowhere in the piece does it mention that Boston Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld had the story yesterday.

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 11.44.40 AM

 

C’mon, Globeniks – credit where credit’s due, yeah?


Boston Globe Has Latest Example of Regan-omics

February 15, 2016

The hits from the Suffolk You! rumpus just keep on coming.

From Laura Krantz’s piece in the Boston Sunday Globe:

Connected PR firm soon to lose another college contract

After Suffolk cancellation, UMass authority won’t renew Regan Communications pact

Public relations firm Regan Communications Group, whose contract with Suffolk University was canceled last week, stands to soon lose another lucrative deal with the UMass Building Authority — an agreement originally executed by an authority leader who is also a Suffolk trustee.

The building authority, responsible for construction and renovation projects for the five-campus system, has paid Regan’s firm a $10,000 monthly retainer since 2011, contracts show.

 

Not to get technical about it, but it’s apparently unclear 1) why exactly the UMass Building Authority needs a PR firm, and 2) what exactly the ten grand a month retainer covered. According to Krantz, “[t]he two-page contract’s wording is vague. It says Regan Communications agrees to provide ‘services in the field of public relations as it may deem appropriate and as directed by [the building authority].'”

In other words, bill us for . . . whatever.

That’s so Regan!

Any predictions on the next shoe to drop on the centipedal PR poobah? These things do tend to come in threes, don’t they.

UPDATE: We have a winner!

From Adrian Walker’s column in today’s Globe: “The last shoe may not have dropped, either. UMass Online has a $3,500-a-month contract with Regan that may be under review, too.”

George Regan as barefoot boy, with cheek of tan (or orange)?

We can dream, can’t we?


Alumni Group Says ‘Suffolk U!’ to Board Chair (II)

February 5, 2016

The weeks-long rumpus over Suffolk University president Margaret McKenna’s administration of the school came to a head – and a headline – today, as board chairman Andrew Meyer prepared to step aside while McKenna keeps her job.

Boston Herald’s Joe Battenfeld:

Sources say Suffolk University president Margaret McKenna to keep her job

In a stunning defeat for Boston’s power brokers, 
Suffolk University trustees are abandoning a plan to fire President Margaret 
McKenna while the board chairman steps aside in a truce to end a nasty week-long war that caused major damage to the Beacon Hill institution.

McKenna may have saved her job, but her troubles are far from over. The school still has major financial and enrollment problems and it’s not clear she has the savvy and leadership skills to lead it out of its mess.

 

That move, however, didn’t keep Alumni for the Integrity of Suffolk University from running this ad in today’s Boston Globe.

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 12.54.12 PM

 

Check that Twitter hashtag in the ad and you get this:

 

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Nice touch: The Suffolk ad lower right.

A press release listed these folks as the major players in the alumni group:

Jared Cain, class of 2008 & former Student Government President

Dennis Harkins, Class of 2015, Former Trustee Ambassador and Student Government Secretary

Geraldin Batista, Class of 2014, former Student Government Secretary & President of the Black Student Union

Megan Caron, Class of 2012, former Student Government President

 

And here’s their Letter to the Editor.

Pretty impressive alums, eh? Suffolk must be doing something right.

UPDATE: Splendid commenter Jeff sends along this postscript:

Geeze John, I’m surprised you omitted the juicy demand from the alumni group that all trustees with affiliations to Regan Communications Group step down and that – “for the sake of the institution’s integrity, that all business associations and trustee relationships with Regan Communications Group be investigated by a third party, in an effort to rectify any existent impropriety.” Talk about in your face!

 


Another Advertising UMassage at the Boston Globe

March 19, 2015

As the hardreading staff has repeatedly noted, the University of Massachusetts has slowly been colonizing the Boston Globe, stamping itself on the stately local broadsheet like Marty Walsh on City of Boston signage.

Today’s bit of UMasstery:

 

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If it feels a little unseemly how much UMass and the Globe are joined at the hip pocket, Erin Smith’s Boston Herald piece today only makes it unseemlier.

Institute contractors hit up for Globe mag

UMass PR firm solicited ads for Ted K tribute

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The public relations company representing the University of Massachusetts Building Authority, which hired firms to build the new Kennedy Institute, has acknowledged it solicited those contractors for pricey ads in an upcoming Boston Globe commemorative magazine section.

Julie Kahn, an executive with Regan Communications, said she used a list of vendors provided by the institute, named for the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, to make the sales calls for the ads, which started at $15,000 for a half-page.

 

So. Regan Communications has as clients: 1) the UMass Building Authority, a public agency that “financed and oversaw construction of the Kennedy Institute on the UMass Boston campus;” and 2) the Boston Globe, which is publishing “a special section to mark the opening of the Institute.”

So. Regan Communications gets from one client a list of companies involved in the construction of the Institute and uses it on behalf of its other client to solicit paid ads to celebrate said building.

How convenient.

But . . . how appropriate?

Kahn to the Herald: “It went out to everyone they did business with — everyone who profited. I don’t see a conflict. I was just given a list by the EMK Institute that they wanted me to contact. When you do a roast or someone retires, you call all your vendors to give back. This is very common in this business.”

In the PR business, yes. The question here is about the journalism business.

More of Kahn’s defense:

“A lot of contractors were on that list and most of them said, ‘No, we can’t afford it,’ ” she said. “A handful said yes and 80 or 90 percent said no. If there was pressure, I think we would have had a lot more success.”

 

Fine, but that doesn’t speak to propriety either. Competence, maybe, but not propriety.

(To be sure graf goes here.)

To be sure, the headscratching staff hasn’t settled on whether this mishegoss is the stuff of misdemeanor or felony. We lean toward the former, though. Certainly, it doesn’t sink to the level of the Los Angeles Times/Staples Center train wreck back in 1999.

Even so, given how much the Globe and UMass are playing footsie these days, it really doesn’t look – or smell – all that good for the mately local broadsheet.