The Boston Herald may not be quite the solid local-news vehicle that it was during the 1990s. But it’s a better paper today than it was two years, the approximate moment that I think it hit its skin-and-sensationalism bottom. And it’s a better paper than I would have thought possible one year ago, when it was getting ready to shed about a quarter of its newsroom jobs.
One of the prime reasons that the tabloid is still worth a look will soon be leaving One Herald Square. Late last month the Herald’s assistant managing editor for business, Cosmo Macero, announced he was leaving to take a public-relations job at O’Neill and Associates. Within days, it became clear just how much Macero would be missed, when the Herald won the general-excellence award in its circulation category from the American Society of Business Editors and Writers. The Herald’s business team was also honored for its coverage of the Gillette sale last year. (The Globe competes in a larger circulation category, and Steve Bailey won recognition as the best business columnist.)
The Herald business section has several good, aggressive reporters, so I expect it will renew itself. Still, Macero was special, and he’ll be missed. I’m late to this, but I wanted to post something before Macero’s last day, which is coming this week.
As for the Herald itself — who knows? Investigative reporter Maggie Mulvihill, who left for a Nieman several years ago, surprised a lot of people by coming back. But now she’s leaving again, this time to go to WBZ-TV (Channel 4) — a huge loss. As we all know, publisher Pat Purcell has put the Herald and about 100 community papers he owns in Eastern Massachusetts on the market. After a flurry of speculation a few weeks ago that he’d decided to sell the community papers and keep the Herald, there’s been not a sound.
Yet the Herald perseveres, with a good sports section, solid business reporting and an occasional local news story that makes you sit up and take notice. (No, not Antonin Scalia’s chin flip. But this, from today’s paper, on ticket-happy troopers on the Massachusetts Turnpike, is definitely worth reading.)
With the Globe experiencing serious financial problems, it’s more important than ever that Boston remain a two-daily town. If the Herald weren’t around, the Globe’s owner, the New York Times Co., would be all the more tempted to hack away with reckless abandon.