By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

A huge change at the Phoenix

The most earth-shattering change in the Boston Phoenix’s 40-year history was announced yesterday: Barry Morris, president of the company from its earliest days, said he’ll retire soon. He’ll be succeeded by Brad Mindich, currently the executive vice president and the son of founder, publisher and chairman Stephen Mindich. Mark Jurkowitz has all the details, including comments from Morris and the text of a company-wide e-mail sent out by Brad Mindich.

Barry is absolutely driven, and is widely credited with transforming the Phoenix into the revenue machine it’s been for most of its existence. That, in turn, has allowed the Phoenix to engage in the sort of high-level journalism that has made it one of the three most important print outlets in the city, along with the Globe and the Herald. It’s nice to see that he’s retiring at an age — 61 — at which he’s still got many good years ahead of him. According to Brad’s e-mail, the phrase “Gone Fishin’ ” is literally true in Barry’s case.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix (disclosure: I’m still a contributing writer) is, like all newspapers, undergoing a significant transformation, as editorial and business-side folks try to figure out how to get ready for the looming post-print era. Earlier this year the paper went through a change in design and format. The same is true of the Web site, which is expanding with blogs and interactive features.

But it’s not going to be the same without Barry.

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A split decision for Purcell?


Herald radio?


  1. Anonymous

    Dan, you fingers must be bleeding from all your hard work!Looks like we have two of the topics for Beat the Press tonight, the Phoenix and Purcell selling CNC.

  2. Anonymous

    An important point. Money is what pays for the words.

  3. Anonymous

    Barry Morris may have had a hand in keeping the Phoenix and TPI running smoothly but he is widly regarded as one of the biggest A-holes in the media business.I had to deal with him on two seperate accasions and they were two of the most unpleasant moments I have had during my 20 years in the business.He will not be missed by anyone except SM and his son.

  4. amusedbutinformedobserver

    frankly, i alwayss thought the biggest event in the history of the Phoenix was when it was sold to Boston After Dark.Real Paper, anyone?

  5. Cranky

    As a former Phoenix slave of nearly 20 years ago, I remember Barry well, but much more in the way anonymous above describes him, than in the more glowing terms employed here, on MJs post, and in Brad’s email. Most anyone I know who ever worked there feels the same way. It is no doubt true that Barry was driven, and certainly did contribute much to the business success of the Phoenix. But that success came at a price for anyone who had to deal with him on even an occasional basis. Most people who go to work at the Phoenix are young and very idealistic. Running up against somebody who is such a ruthless businessman in what they believe at the time to be a publication of true progressive ideals is quite a shock. Maybe being a bit more realistic about business today, I wouldn’t be such a harsh judge of him, but after 20 years in the media business, he still remains the most intimidating person I’ve ever had to work for.

  6. Anonymous

    Love ya Barry. Now go to hell.

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