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 Globe’s ‘Anything Can Happen (Satur)Day’

January 22, 2017

From our As the Globe Turns desk

When Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory recently trumpeted the coming reinvention of the local broadsheet (Hey! We can use John Henry’s garage!), the hardreading staff never imagined it would involve flip-flopping between formats for the paper’s Saturday edition.

A little over a year ago, the Globe introduced a new look on Saturdays, which we immediately labeled WSJr.

The Boston Globe unveiled a new look this morning, one that appears very much like a knockoff of the Weekend Wall Street Journal. (Sorry, no WSJ e-paper, so you’ll have to spring for one yourself, or – god forbid – take our word for it.) [Update: The Journal actually does have an e-paper now, praise God.]

Brave New Globe, Page One:

 

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And we noted this editor’s note from McGrory.

 

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So Metro, Nation, World, Business, and Opinion were all smushed together in the A section, while the new Good Life section was pure Wall Street Journalism.

But . . .

Yesterday, for reasons that went unexplained, the Globe reverted to its former format, with this Page One.

 

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And say hello to the old stand-alone Metro section.

 

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So, to recap:

The Boston Globe has a (relatively) new Saturday format.

Except when it doesn’t.

Okay then.


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?


Politico’s Jack Shafer Cheap-Shots Globe Writers

June 28, 2016

The hardreading staff generally admires media criticism from the peripatetic Jack Shafer, but his latest Politico piece is a little low-hanging-fruitish.

Uh-Oh. Here Come the Brexperts.

Reporters: Don’t know much about Brexit? Don’t let that stop you.

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Who could have predicted that the press harbored so many experts on the repercussions of Brexit? Following Thursday’s vote by the British electorate to leave the European Union, these whizzes crowded the airwaves, clogged the newspapers and swamped their websites with assessments of the breakup’s meaning.

Obviously, some outlets that specialize in finance and cover the Eurozone—like the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and CNBC—have a handle on the subject; they’d been covering it long before Thursday. But as you stray from these specialists for the generalists, whose job it is to report on whatever Topic A might be that day (weather, politics, infectious disease, baseball), the more the Brexit coverage begins to resemble one long amateur hour.

 

Yeah, except most of journalism is amateur hour: generalists interviewing specialists to cobble together something that sounds vaguely reasonable. And, very often, reasonably vague.

Regardless, here’s Shafer’s Boston Globe nuts-to-you graf:

At the Boston Globe, for example, reporter James Pindell dug deeply into his bag of journalistic clichés last week to deduced that the Brexit vote was “about the economy, stupid” and that if Brexit caused a recession it would “dramatically change the conversation of the presidential race.” No kidding! Michael A. Cohen, a regular on the Globe op-ed page, concluded that it was not David Cameron’s fault Brexit passed, nor was it Jeremy Corbyn’s, nor could it be blamed on the EU elites who pushed immigration. It was “actual voters.” Another astonishing finding.

 

C’mon, Jack – you can do better than to beat up on what’s essentially beat reporting (in every sense of that phrase). Besides, you’re always a lot more interesting when you go after the high-hanging fruit.


New Boston Globe Saturday Design Is WSJr

October 3, 2015

The Boston Globe unveiled a new look this morning, one that appears very much like a knockoff of the Weekend Wall Street Journal. (Sorry, no WSJ e-paper, so you’ll have to spring for one yourself, or – god forbid – take our word for it.)

Brave New Globe, Page One:

 

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The paper we received had more of a gray banner, but then again the whole page was kind of washed out compared to the e-paper. Regardless, we were happy to see this helpful note from Globe Editor Brian McGrory:

 

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Okay . . .

So Metro, Nation, World, Business, and Opinion are all smushed together in the A section, which has a bouncier feel than the weekday paper.

The new Good Life section is pure Wall Street Journalism.

 

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The hardreading staff tries never to pass judgment on first impressions.

But you’re certainly welcome to.