Category Archives: Media

From the department of shameless self-promotion

Well, this is interesting (to me, anyway). Matthew Kassel of The New York Observer has included me on a list of 17 people who could succeed the late David Carr as The New York Times’ media columnist.

As Kassel rightly points out, “It’s impossible to replace David Carr.” And I can think of few prospects less appealing than being compared to Carr on a daily basis. Still, it was flattering to get a mention alongside folks I truly admire like — well, OK, I won’t say. I love them all.

About those Herald parking and medical fees

If you were surprised to learn from the Newspaper Guild announcement that Boston Herald employees pay $190 a month for parking, here’s a bit of background. The fee was imposed in 2011, when the paper moved from the South End to the Seaport District.

“Free parking in Boston is a rarity,” Herald publisher Pat Purcell wrote to his staff at the time, “and, sadly, there will not be free parking for any employee — myself included — when we move to the Seaport Center.” The former Herald property is being transformed into a luxury mixed-use development known as the Ink Block, and Purcell is one of the investors. So I’m guessing Purcell can afford parking.

As for the 93 percent of health-insurance costs that union employees have to pay, the Herald has long been notorious for its low medical benefits — although it sounds like it’s gotten worse since the 1980s, when Ed Cafasso was one of the political reporters.

“Employee share of healthcare has to be the highest in the state among white collar employers,” tweeted Cafasso, now a public relations consultant. “You’d be better off in the ACA!”

Finally: I posted the union’s statement because it was sent to me. If Herald management wants to send out its own statement, I’d be happy to post that too.

Boston Herald editorial employees reject contract

(Note: Follow-up here.) This just in — a statement from the Newspaper Guild of Greater Boston on contract negotiations on behalf of the Boston Herald’s editorial employees:

Boston Herald editorial employees tonight rejected a proposed contract that offered no increase to pay or benefits and cuts to the employees’ severance plan.

Editorial guild workers — who pay for 93-percent of their own health care costs, and $190 per month in parking — have not demanded relief for any of the costs they bear to work at the paper, nor did they expect or seek a raise.

While guild members are aware of the financial constraints facing newspapers the company is oblivious to the economic hardships of its employees. Herald workers have slowly shared more of the burden of running the newspaper over the years, in the form of parking, health care, furlows and paycuts, while the company has only used this generosity to line the pockets of its management and increase the number of non union employees.

While employees asked for no changes to the existing contract, the company wanted cuts to the severance plan, a direct attack on those employees who have spent a good portion of their lives building the Herald. It was all the more surprising since it recently expanded financial benefits for non-union employees in the form of a matching 401(k).

There are 66 editorial employees eligible to vote, 58 cast ballots, 32 voted no, 26 voted yes.

The commercial unit votes next week on this same contract.

Follow @HeraldWorkers on Twitter for updates.

Globe notes: New photographer, new printing plant

• Looks like The Denver Post’s loss is The Boston Globe’s gain. Jim Romenesko reports that two-time Pulitzer-winning photographer Craig Walker is heading east. “He will be great there and do us all proud as a Post alum, but he will be missed,” Post editor Greg Moore tells his staff. Moore, as some of you know, is a former Globe managing editor.

• The Globe has finalized its deal to shift its printing operations to Taunton, clearing the way for sale of the paper’s Dorchester plant. The move will take place in 2017, according to the Globe’s Beth Healy. Charles Winokoor of the Taunton Gazette writes that folks in that city are pleased, but adds that at least one official is disheartened at the prospect of a two-year wait.

The 11th element of journalism

UnknownIn Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel’s classic work “The Elements of Journalism,” they list nine (later revised to 10) qualities that define good journalism. These include principles such as an obligation to the truth (rather than mere he-said/she-said accuracy), verification of facts and independence.

This week I asked students in my Journalism Ethics and Issues class to come up with an 11th element. I am delighted with the results, which you can read by clicking here.

David Brooks’ semi-mea culpa on the war in Iraq

It’s easy to make fun of David Brooks’ semi-mea culpa on the war in Iraq. But let’s not forget that liberals like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton voted for the war, and if you think they did it solely for political posturing, then you’re more cynical than I am.

Personally, I was against the invasion, but I thought it was a close call. And if you go back to Bill Clinton’s presidency, you may recall that horror stories about sick and starving Iraqi children — a consequence of U.S. sanctions — led some liberals to call for a humanitarian intervention.

Finally, in 1998 Bill Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act, which committed the United States to regime change.

Brooks was always the most thoughtful among the war’s supporters. What he has to say today is worth reading.

The fate of The Boston Phoenix’s online archives

The fate of The Boston Phoenix’s online archives has been a matter of great concern to all of us who worked there. Some of us — me included — have hundreds of articles stored on the late alt-weekly’s servers with no other way to access them. (Yes, I know. Stupid me.)

Writing in the Columbia Journalism Review, former Phoenix contributor Valerie Vande Panne details some of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that’s been going on to try to save a vitally important piece of journalistic history. I’ve been involved in efforts to come up with a solution, and I’m hopeful we’ll have a good answer to this problem. Patience.