I’m tempted to saddle Ken Chandler with the blame for the Boston Herald’s plummeting circulation. But then I remember: Oh, yeah. The Web. The Herald claims that some 2 million people visit its Web site every month. Divide that by 30 days, and you’ve got 67,000. Add that to the weekday print circulation of 230,000 and you’ve got nearly 300,000. If Pat Purcell could sell that many papers every Monday through Friday, his tabloid wouldn’t be in trouble. (And yes, I know that one Web visitor doesn’t equal one print reader, but you get the idea.)
Chandler, the paper’s editorial director and acting editor for the past several years, is moving on, according to the Weekly Dig. His replacement: Kevin Convey, the managing editor. No doubt the two jobs will be consolidated into one. Thus, what this means more than anything is that Purcell no longer has to pay Chandler’s salary (although Chandler will be doing some consulting). Without question, Chandler was getting paid a lot more than some of the folks who’ve been leaving the Herald lately, either voluntarily or not.
As for what it means beyond that, who knows? Convey is smart, solid and well-liked. He was co-managing editor from the mid-1990s until about four years ago. Convey left to run Purcell’s community-newspaper chain (sold off last spring), and was brought back to One Herald Square after the other two members of the ruling troika, editor Andy Costello and managing editor Andrew Gully, departed in 2004.
Chandler’s Herald was a hell of a lot tabloidier (if that’s a word) than Costello’s. Over time, though, it calmed down. And despite a dizzying succession of departures, the paper continues to show verve and a competitive spirit. I don’t know if the Herald will change much under Convey. Frankly, though, I’m optimistic that Convey will take steps to make the paper smarter. He can start by banishing the word “perv” (excuse me — “PERV”) from headlines.
Here’s a statement from Brian Whelan, president of Local 31032 of The Newspaper Guild, which represents more than 200 editorial and business-side employees at the Herald: “There are a lot of intricate issues right now concerning the future of the Boston Herald. All of us, Ken Chandler and Kevin Convey included, are doing everything we can to keep our newspaper strong and viable. We have worked well in the past with Ken and look forward to working with Kevin far into the future.”
And here’s what Convey told the troops today, according to the Herald’s Jesse Noyes: “On the one hand, I aim to try to keep the paper vital in print by focusing on enterprise, attitude and pop culture as well as by maintaining its traditional strengths in news, sports and business. On the other hand, finding ways to translate the paper’s particular appeal on the Web is a key part of the job as well. And all this has to be done in one of the most challenging business environments.”