Boston Globe Auctions Off More of Its News Pages

March 12, 2018

As the hardreading staff dolefully noted over the past few years, the Boston Globe’s editorial content has increasingly been playing footsie with marketing partners ranging from Suffolk University to Steward Health Care System to Rockland Trust to the Star Wars franchise.

Now comes Cross Insurance to “present” this page in yesterday’s Boston Sunday Globe Arts section.



(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, the hardreading staff has seen no Cross Insurance tit-for-tad in the $tately local broadsheet. But there is this sponsored content produced by BG BrandLab, the Globe’s in-house shop for producing ads in sheep’s clothing.



Yes yes – we’re aware that a disclosure line sits atop the website, albeit as inconspicuously as possible.

And if you click on the Information doohickey, this drops down.



Raise your hand if you ever click on that doohickey. Yeah, us neither.

Regardless of the level of transparency, we’re just uneasy overall about attaching financial interests to editorial content.

Never the twain should meet, right?

Or are we just hopelessly out of date?


New England Patriots Bust Local Rip-Off Roofer

August 20, 2017

As the hardtsking staff has extensively noted, for several weeks the Boston Globe has let an outfit called Northeast Home & Energy run this ad suggesting the roofing company has some association with the New England Patriots.



Except it doesn’t – a fact that Emily Rooney at WGBH’s Beat the Press passed along on Friday’s edition (around 5:15 of clip).



The upshot: The Pats sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Roof Bros, and here’s what appeared in the Globe yesterday and today.



No Patriots jerseys. No football. No Gillette Stadium.

No consequences for the Roof Bros or the $tately local broadsheet?


Boston Globe Keeps Letting Roofer Rip Off Patriots

August 18, 2017

As the hardtsking staff noted earlier this week, the Boston Globe has been running ads from an outfit called Northeast Home & Energy flaunting a nonexistent New England Patriots connection.

Yesterday, the Globeniks made patsies of the Pats for a third time.


The Roof Bros even have a special welcome on their website for Globe clickers.



Isn’t that special?

Apparently the $tately local broadsheet has no problem with paying customers hijacking a local sports team for fun and profit.

Rumor has it that the fine folks at WGBH’s Beat the Press will tackle this licensing end run on tonight’s episode.

Stay tuned for further details.

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 Globe Fails to Disclo$e Total Wine Ad Conflict

May 29, 2017

As the hardreading staff perused yesterday’s Boston Sunday Globe, we happened upon this full-page A3 ad.



That called to mind the Globe’s recent Page One piece about Total Wine’s “total war against alcohol regulations.”

Total Wine uncorks new front in its war on rules

Big-box alcohol retailer targets Mass. regulations

Total Wine & More is waging total war on the nation’s alcohol laws — and Massachusetts is the new front line.

The largest retailer of beer, wine, and liquor in the country, Total Wine has successfully challenged longstanding alcohol laws in numerous states, tilting the marketplace to its advantage through a mix of litigation, lobbying, and rallying support from customers . . .

In Massachusetts, Total Wine has sued to invalidate a state regulation that prevents retailers from selling alcohol below cost, a common practice in other industries. The company is also about to launch a public relations campaign here challenging a state rule prohibiting alcohol retailers from issuing discount coupons and loyalty cards. It has submitted the proposed changes to a task force convened by Treasurer Deborah Goldberg to streamline the state’s alcohol laws.


Here’s the interesting part: Nowhere in the Globe piece is there any mention of the tens of thousands of dollars the $tately local broadsheet has raked in from Total Wine ads over the past few months.

That’s very much like the Globe’s recent non-disclosure of its financial interest while covering the rumpus over the fabled Citgo sign; the paper raked in more than a hundred thousand dollars in ads touting the Kenmore Square icon but never mentioned them in their coverage.

Memo to Globe editor Brian McGrory: We know you need the advertising revenue. But c’mon – at least be honest about it.

Boston Globe Still Not Disclosing Citgo $ign Conflict

March 16, 2017

During the past year the hardreading staff has painstakingly noted what must be hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Citgo ads like this one that have run in the Boston Globe.



And yet . . .

Never once in its coverage has the $tately local broadsheet mentioned the paper’s financial interest in the survival of the Kenmore Square icon.

Including today’s Page One piece.

A new lease on life for beacon of Boston

Deal reached to keep Citgo sign in place

The Citgo sign will remain atop its longtime home in Kenmore Square after the petroleum company reached a deal with its new landlord Wednesday, ending a months-long standoff that had threatened one of the most recognized landmarks of the Boston skyline.

The fate of the rooftop sign had been in question since last year, when the building that hosts it was sold by Boston University to Related Beal, a New York-based development company.


(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, the piece by Adam Vaccaro and Tim Logan does include a sort of drive-by disclosure:

The controversy emerged last fall soon after Related Beal bought a total of nine buildings in Kenmore Square from BU for $134 million. Believing its old lease terms of $250,000 to be far below current market rates, the new landlord had wanted Citgo to pay as much as 10 times that amount.

Citgo had previously countered with an offer to pay $500,000, and had launched a public campaign to rally support behind the sign.


Pretty limp, Globeniks. And pretty sad you’re not willing to do the right thing and disclose your financial interest in this story.

But maybe that’s consistent with what editor Brian McGrory said about another recent adberation, which he labeled “part of a larger campaign that is important to the ad client and significant to the Globe.”

Make that $ignificant to the Globe, yeah?

Boston Globe Still Pump$ CITGO Sign Sans Disclosure

March 13, 2017

As the hardreading staff has relentlessly noted for the past year, the Boston Globe is playing financial footsie with Citgo over the Venezuelan oil company’s  quest to obtain landmark status for its iconic Kenmore Square sign.

The $tately local broadsheet has run numerous news reports on the sign’s endangered status and numerous Citgo-purchased ads like this one pleading for the sign’s protection.



(The hardcounting staff previously estimated that Citgo has spent five figures on Globe ads. We’re a moron. It’s probably more like $200,000.)

Saturday’s Globe featured a slightly mixed reaction from readers in the paper’s latest Citgo-no-go editorial offering.




Then, as night follows day, Sunday’s Globe featured this full-throated Citgo ad.



The Globe’s resolute refusal to disclose its financial interest in the Citgo sign rumpus is just one more sign of the paper’s increasingly questionable efforts to generate new revenues.

We totally get the Globe’s need to find new sources of revenue to keep the paper afloat.

What we don’t get is its willingness to risk editorial integrity to achieve that goal.

P.S. Citgo has run exactly zero ads in the Boston Herald so far. Maybe the thirsty local tabloid needs to sign up its newsroom, eh?