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

What conflicts?

Media Nation despairs of anyone actually reading this item on the eve of a holiday weekend, but I needed to do some research at the newsstand before writing this. Which is where I am right now.

Today the Boston Herald’s Inside Track tweaks Boston Magazine as “rather tired” and “increasingly irrelevant.” Tracksters Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa report that Boston Common magazine succeeded in getting some celebrity named Bridget Moynahan (no, I really don’t know who she is; sorry) to pose for the cover after Moynahan had previously spurned BoMag’s advances. Fee and Raposa refer to Boston Common as a “fab upstart” and write: “The Moynahan photos and interview are a coup for Boston Common, which has been fighting a turf battle for upscale readers with the older and increasingly irrelevant Boston maggie.”

What Fee and Raposa don’t say is that (1) they are contributors to Boston Common, and have a feature about celebs on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard in the current issue; and (2) they were recently the subject of a tough piece by Boston Magazine’s John Gonzalez that portrayed the Tracksters as more interested in dish than facts.

But wait. Shouldn’t BoMag have mentioned that Fee and Raposa were taking freelance checks from its archrival, Boston Common? Why, yes it should have, since that would have allowed readers to assess motive. Do two non-disclosures cancel each other out? No, they don’t.

And now, my disclosure: I’m quoted in Gonzalez’s article, though not directly on the Tracksters. Far be it from me to want to piss them off.


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8 Comments

  1. Amusedbutinformedobserver

    The Track is one reason why nobody dares rip the doomed tabloid for the incredibly bad newspaper that it is. Everyone has skeletons and they’re scared to death about getting it back in spades. Fact is, “rather tired” and “increasingly irrelevant” is a pretty good description of Fee and Raposa, they of several failed attempts to expand their franchise (heard them on the radio lately?).But then, Boston is a town where third-string TV reporters, chefs and PR mavens are “celebrity.”

  2. Rhea

    True, it’s right before Labor Day, but I’m reading you!

  3. RichC

    Moynihan is an actress who is, more importantly to Boston gossipers, Tom Brady’s girlfriend.

  4. Rick in Duxbury

    I’ve always considered the Track an infomercial on a par with the 7PM TV dreck, a Faustian bargain with PR flacks. A friend, fairly high up in media, once recounted to me some fairly ugly tactics by these women. I consider them toxic; a lack of journalistic ethics shouldn’t be a surprise. Object lesson for your NU students, perhaps?

  5. mike_b1

    The issue of Boston Magazine that arrived this week came in at 326 pages + covers. That doesn’t sound like a magazine in trouble.

  6. bostonph

    I’m no fan of Boston Magazine, but Boston Common makes me want to hurl. Fawning over D list celebritiesbrings the entire city one step closer to Omaha.If you really need that sort of titillation, the LA Times Real Estate section is a far more compelling read:http://www.latimes.com/classified/realestate/hotprop/la-re-hotprop27aug27,0,5972240.story?coll=la-class-realestate-hotprop

  7. Anonymous

    Ugly ugly ugly. I’m talking about the comments here. Wow. I see a lot of bitterness from “media watchers” who can’t get a job in the biz. sad. rick in duxbury missed the irony of saying “the gals” use unethical tactics without naming the tactic or the source he got it from. Sad and ugly.

  8. Anonymous

    Alex Beam wrote a couple of excellent articles on Boston Common when it first came out. AS he points out, “log rolling” is the publisher’s rasion d’etre:http://www.boston.com/news/globe/living/articles/2005/09/20/getting_the_exclusive/Elsewhere in the magazine, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright comments that she likes to wear Ferragamo shoes; the brand name is highlighted in the text. Three pages away one finds a full-page Ferragamo ad.And Mark Jurkowitz ran a rundown of the magazines content:* Number of ad pages (including the inside front cover and the back cover) — 172* Number of ad pages before the first Contents page — 37* Number of ad pages before the first “story” — a brief interview with Tom Menino — 61* Page on which the cover story — Q&A with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler — starts — 212* Number of stories or profiles that are no longer than one page — 40 (This doesn’t count the service-oriented pieces)* Number of paragraphs in Alan Dershowitz’s piece about Supreme Court Nominee John Roberts and Harvard — 9* Number of paragraphs in Danny Ainge’s preview of the upcoming Celtic basketball season — 3* Number of paragraphs in BSO director James Levine’s summary of the new season — 4* Number of paragraphs in the interview with Menino — 4* Number of pages filled with party-style photos of local folks and celebs (including portraits from photographer Bill Brett’s new book on Boston’s movers and shakers) — 41* Number of names on the cryptically headlined feature, “The List.” (The line describing “The List” on the Contents page says simply: “Are you on it?”) — 200If the goal of the magazine is to blur the line between content and advertising, isn’t conflict of interest besides the point?

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