Nice tribute by Margery Eagan to the late Boston Herald American editor Don Forst and what former Herald editor Kevin Convey — among others — learned from him. James Barron of The New York Times has a fuller treatment of Forst’s career, much of which was spent in New York.
Now, here’s some must-see TV. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like we’re going to see it. Frank Phillips reports in the Boston Globe that former Boston Herald columnist Peter Lucas and the late Boston mayor Kevin White’s press secretary, George Regan, practically had to be separated by host Emily Rooney yesterday on the set of “Greater Boston,” on WGBH-TV (Channel 2).
Lucas, as you may know, had a legendary front-page exclusive in 1983 reporting that White would seek a fifth term. Lucas was wrong, and apparently on Tuesday he repeated his contention that White deliberately misled him as punishment for his tough, occasionally mocking coverage. Phillips writes that Lucas and Regan got into it hammer and tongs:
But the screaming match appears to have centered on whether White intentionally misled Lucas about his plan to run again, causing the erroneous headline and story or whether Lucas misinterpreted what White told him. The verbal exchange was intense enough that Rooney was forced to junk the take, calm down her guests, and reshoot the segment so it was suitable for television.
In an interview with Phillips, Regan denies that White intentionally misled Lucas. But as I wrote yesterday, I’ve heard Lucas discuss the incident before. It’s a great yarn — in Lucas’ telling, White gave Lucas the exclusive on the condition that Lucas not identify the mayor as his source, and then pulled the rug out from under him.
Lucas also claims that then-state treasurer Bob Crane was incredulous, telling Lucas he could have warned him away from the story. I’m not going to try to reconstruct something I heard Lucas say some 25 years ago, but essentially he responded that he saw no need to check in with Crane when he’d gotten his information directly from White.
Former Boston Herald editor Kevin Convey, who was a Herald staff member in 1983, tweeted this morning, “There was no doubt in Lucas’ mind or in the minds of the editors” that White had deceived him.
The “Greater Boston” segment was reshot, and Rooney’s conversation with Lucas and Regan is civil and noncontroversial. (Disclosure: I’m a paid contributor to “Beat the Press,” the Friday edition of “Greater Boston.) You can watch it above. The Lucas-Regan segment begins at 19:45.
Three observations: (1) I believe Lucas, even if White may have left himself some wiggle room; (2) I hope he writes about it; (3) it does not tarnish White’s legacy in any way to believe he was involved in a political prank of that magnitude. It only adds to his legend.
Obviously Kevin Convey doesn’t wear the right kind of shoes.
Word came Wednesday afternoon that Convey, a former Boston Herald editor, was being replaced as editor of the New York Daily News (via Poynter). The new boss: Colin Myler, who was editor of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World when it was shut down amid the phone-hacking scandal. Myler was reportedly not involved, and even called out James Murdoch over his claims that he knew nothing about nothing.
According to Capital New York, Convey was seen by Daily News staffers as never quite fitting in during his two years at the helm. An unnamed source is quoted as saying that, among other things, “he dressed funny. What type of editor-in-chief wears Chuck Taylor All-Stars to work?” Well, there you go.
The shake-up at the Daily News gets a mention in the Boston Globe’s Names section today, and the Herald runs an Associated Press story that contains no reference to Convey’s Herald tenure (different in the print edition, perhaps?). The unanswered question is whether Herald publisher Pat Purcell would bring back Convey in some capacity. Convey’s a smart, interesting guy, and it would make sense to bring him in at least as a consultant, provided he wants to do it.
Now, follow the bouncing tabloid battles. Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman, whose roots are in Boston, hired Convey from the Herald, which used to be owned by Murdoch and whose current owner, Purcell, continues to have business ties to the “genocidal tyrant.”
Zuckerman’s competition, of course, is Murdoch’s New York Post. Now Zuckerman has replaced Convey with Myler, an old Murdoch hand who may be looking to get revenge. This should be fun.
Last year, David McKay Wilson profiled Convey for the Colby College alumni magazine. To shed further light on the scandal that brought Convey down, Wilson reports that Convey was wearing “black tasseled loafers” when they met — though without any socks.
“I haven’t worn socks in the summer for years,” Convey told Wilson. “I like cool beachy feet.” Hmmm.
Photo (cc) by Akira Kouchiyama and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.
There’s an interesting profile of former Boston Herald editor Kevin Convey, now editor of the New York Daily News, in the current issue of the Colby College alumni magazine. Written by old Northeastern friend David McKay Wilson, the profile begins with a good anecdote about the Daily News’ collector’s-item front page following the killing of Osama bin Laden: “Rot in Hell!”
Convey’s suggestions — “Dead,” a play on the famous Daily News front page on the execution of convicted killer Ruth Snyder, and “We Got Him” — were deemed not quite right before a copy editor came up with the winner.
“Tabloid headlines are a very demanding form,” Convey told Wilson. “You are putting big words on a page that 530,000 people will buy and 2 million will read. It’s like journalistic haiku.”
Boston Herald media reporter Jessica Heslam has the story: managing editor Joe Sciacca will succeed departing editor-in-chief Kevin Convey, thus ending any speculation that publisher Pat Purcell might make an outside pick. Sciacca speaks:
I can’t think of a more exciting time for the Herald as we launch new initiatives for print and online. We will continue to deliver the ambitious reporting and unique perspective that Herald readers have come to rely on.
Congratulations to Joe, a longtime colleague on “Beat the Press.” And since I can’t leave this without at least a little bit of dangling speculation, will Sciacca have time to keep his television gig now that he’s at the top of the Herald’s masthead?
Big news today at One Herald Square: Kevin Convey, a longtime Herald veteran who’s been editor-in-chief for the past three-plus years, is leaving to become editor of New York’s Daily News. He replaces Martin Dunn, whose departure was reportedly prompted by his wife’s battle with cancer.
I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere, but Dunn was editor of the Herald for a very brief period in the early 1990s.
Convey’s new job entails a switch of tabloid loyalties. In Boston, the Herald is allied with its former owner, Rupert Murdoch. Herald publisher Pat Purcell, who bought the paper from his old boss in 1994, helps Murdoch run regional properties such as the Standard-Times of New Bedford and the Cape Cod Times.
In New York, the Daily News — owned by real-estate mogul Mort Zuckerman, who also has significant Boston ties — has been entangled for years in a steel-cage death match with the New York Post, whose owner, of course, is Murdoch. Here is the Daily News’ press release, along with Convey’s reaction:
I am looking forward to the challenge of editing the Daily News, which has some of the most talented people in the newspaper business and the web anywhere in the world. It is a great privilege.
Convey’s a smart guy who took over the Herald at a time when the paper, and the news business in general, was shrinking drastically. During the 1990s, he was part of the triumvirate that ran the paper, serving as managing editor for features along with editor Andy Costello and managing editor for news Andrew Gully. The trio was known, sometimes affectionately, sometimes not, as the “Micks with Dicks,” a commentary on their aggression as much as it was on their ethnicity.
Convey became editor-in-chief of Community Newspaper Co., which published about 100 papers in Eastern Massachusetts, when Purcell added it to his holdings in the early 2000s. After Purcell sold CNC to GateHouse Media a few years later, Convey returned to the Herald, serving as the paper’s number-two while editorial director Ken Chandler, tarted it up and made it more gossipy — more of a tabloid, if you like. After Chander moved on, Convey took over.
Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post wrote about Convey’s Herald in 2008.
Best of luck to Convey, who’s a good guy, and whom I generally found to be helpful and accessible back when I was covering the local media for the Boston Phoenix.
Needless to say, it will be fascinating to see who ends up succeeding Convey at the Herald.
Update: Well, that didn’t take long.
Correction: Ken Chandler’s name now fixed, thanks to an alert reader.
Congratulations to my “Beat the Press” colleague Joe Sciacca, who’s been named managing editor for content at the Boston Herald. (And to Jim Potter, the Herald’s newly promoted managing editor for production, whom I don’t know.)
Sciacca has been a staunch advocate of a Web-first strategy for the Herald, which is important given that the paper is printed in Chicopee and has unusually early deadlines.
And as Sciacca himself has pointed out, BostonHerald.com is an example of a newspaper.com that is quite different from the print edition in look, feel and, to some extent, content — a separate-path strategy that other newspaper executives would be wise to pursue.
Definitely a good move by Herald editor Kevin Convey.