I’m running out the door in a few minutes, so just some random observations about the announced deal that will leave Pat Purcell in charge of the Boston Herald. (The Boston Globe covers the story here; the Herald here.)
— Whenever he’s met with the troops during the past few years, newsroom sources say that Purcell has always emphasized what a godsend his 100-paper Community Newspaper Co. chain has been in shoring up the Herald. Even though Purcell says the Herald will now be debt-free, how well can the Herald be expected to do as a standalone product? Or is another shoe going to drop?
— What kind of a steward will Liberty Group Publishing prove to be? The Illinois-based company is purchasing not just Purcell’s CNC chain but also the Enterprise of Brockton and the Patriot Ledger of Quincy — a deal valued at a total of about $400 million. This puts nearly all of Greater Boston’s medium and small newspapers in the hands of out-of-state corporations, including such well-known papers as the Sun of Lowell, the Eagle Tribune of Lawrence, the Standard-Times of New Bedford, the Salem News and the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester. (The T&G, as you may recall, is owned by the New York Times Co., which also owns the Boston Globe.)
— The Herald reports that Liberty Group is changing its name to GateHouse Media. How well-thought-out is that move? Click here, and you’ll see that there’s already a GateHouse Media in the U.K.
— What about the Internet? Purcell owns not two companies but three: the Herald, CNC and Herald Media, which is the parent company for both the Herald’s and CNC’s online presence. Neither the Herald nor the Globe today explain how that’s going to shake out, although a separate chart in the Globe’s print edition lists Purcell’s Town Online site as part of the deal. Whatever the case, unless the Web holdings are broken up, the site is going to host papers owned by different companies.