Pick One: Boston Globe Majors in (U)Mass Marketing or, Boston Globe Pimps Out Page One

November 13, 2014

The Boston Globe is having quite a financial fling with the University of Massachusetts these days. First it was this “Special Supplement to the Boston Globe” that ran this past Sunday.


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As the hardreading staff noted, that’s “Special” as in “Advertising,” which the Globe would have stated explicitly if it cared to be honest with its readers.

Now comes this doozie in today’s edition of the $tately local broadsheet (photos courtesy of the Missus).




That was followed by this:




Along with this:




And this:




At least they labeled the wraparound “Advertisement,” eh? But it’s the leasing out of the Globe banner that’s the problem here. Funny thing is, ten years ago the Globe rejected that kind of sellout. From the January 19, 2004 Boston Business Journal:

Globe rejected a front-page advertisement for JetBlue

The Boston Globe apparently rejected a proposal by JetBlue Airways Corp. to run the same full front-page advertisement touting the airline’s arrival at Logan International Airport that the Boston Herald published last week amid voluble criticism.
The Boston Herald ended up running the ad on Jan. 7, catching considerable flak for accepting an ad that one source valued at least at $25,000. But a JetBlue official told the Boston Business Journal that the Globe also was approached with the same opportunity.


And turned it down, sort of.

Globe spokesman B. Maynard Scarborough said he believed the newspaper’s advertising department discussed selling a “wrap” to JetBlue, but no deal was reached. Such a wrap would not have contained mock editorial content, he said, adding the Globe does not sell Page 1 advertising and has no plans to do so.


Well, that’s now “inoperative,” as they say.

Here’s what the Herald did run (via WBUR’s Bob Oakes).




That’s the actual front page on the left, the ad front page on the right.

And while we’re tripping down Memory Lane with local journos, here’s what the redoubtable Dan Kennedy wrote in the Boston Phoenix Media Log back then:

[A]t the very least, the front should have been prominently labeled as an ad. This isn’t just a violation of the traditional wall separating business and editorial – this is an out-and-out demolition.


Today at Media Nation, Dan wrote this: “If the Globe hasn’t crossed a line, perhaps it has moved the line past where we always thought it was.”

Fair enough. But to us, they did cross the line.

Boston Globe Special Sections Are Serious Ad-ditions

November 10, 2014

As the hardreading staff plowed through yesterday’s Boston Sunday Globe, we were struck by all the special sections it featured: Chill, Longwood: A City Within the City, and 11 Ideas from Boston 2014.

That last stood out because of what was printed at the top of each page:


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Close-up for the bifocal set:

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There were ads sprinkled throughout the “Special Supplement,” such as this one:


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But we think the whole section is an ad – at least that’s the implication. Here’s another clue from an inside page:


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The other two sections – Chill and Longwood: A City Within the City – are run-of-the-mill news sections designed to be ad magnets in particular categories.

Longwood first.


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Representative ads:


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Then Chill.


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This section was an absolute ad bonanza. Representative samples:


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Our prediction: Look for lots more of this in the future, especially the “Special Supplements.” Maybe next time the Globe bean counters could be a little more transparent about what they’re serving to their readers.

Tabloid Trumpets Terror Techie

September 5, 2014

Today’s Boston Herald goes to town on local boy gone bad Ahmad Abousamra, the Stoughton man wanted for terrorism and suspected of being a social-media guru for ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State – whatever name they’re going by these days.


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Inside, the Terror Techie gets the Full Osama.


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Get it – Post-er? Yeah, us too.

The news report itself is straight out of Tabloid 101 (with four – count ’em, four – bylines):

A 32-year-old computer whiz who was raised in Stoughton is suspected of using the high-tech skills he honed at Hub colleges to spread the bloodthirsty message of ISIS terrorists on social media, according to a Herald source and news reports.

Ahmad Abousamra — who was educated at Northeastern University and UMass Boston — had already been placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list last year with a $50,000 reward offered for information leading to his capture and return.

The FBI said Abousamra “has shown that he wants to kill United States soldiers.”

He is now believed to be a social media warrior for the heartless terrorists behind the recent beheadings of two Americans.



Crosstown at the Boston Globe, Abousamra gets more measured treatment:

Mass. terrorist suspect may be aiding militants

The spotlight that has been cast on the Islamic State terror group in Syria has also put a new focus on a Massachusetts man wanted for terrorism, who is believed to 2012-10-03T204235Z_01_TOR605_RTRMDNP_3_USA-SECURITY-ABOUSAMRAbe living in that country and possibly supporting ISIS.

Ahmad Abousamra, who grew up in Stoughton and attended schools in the Boston area, faces terrorism charges in federal court in Boston, and the FBI in December put him on its Most Wanted Terrorists list. A $50,000 reward has been offered for information leading to his capture, and officials believe he has been living in Aleppo, Syria.


The Globe story did contain one fact the Herald missed: “Lowell Police Sergeant Thomas Daly – a member of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force . . . said Abousamra has a ‘high-pitched voice that would distinguish him from others.’'”

Presumably not, however, as high-pitched as the freaky local tabloid’s.

Boston Sunday Globe a Real Education in Academic Marketing

May 12, 2014

Our stately local broadsheet was one giant bazaar for higher-ed advertising yesterday.

Start with the The New U in the Globe’s Ideas section.


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Then check out this all-business ad from Bentley University.


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And this full-page ad from UMass Boston.


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And this UMass Lowell quarter-page (just for scale) ad.


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And finally, this big wet kiss from the Globe’s News in Education program.



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Among the thankees: Lesley University, Regis College, and – wait for it – UMass Lowell.

Educational, yes?