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

Chandler to leave the Herald

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.”

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  1. Anonymous

    Well, the Weekly Dig website has succeeded where my doctor failed. I’m off Dewar’s for life after that cheesy thrash music ad assaulted my eardrums. (Interestingly, this was BEFORE a popup asked me to verify my elderly status. Appears the kids are not quite as “net savvy” as they claim.) Also liked the slimy flame at Bob Ryan by Media Farm, criticizing his work and a mustache he hasn’t had for years. Can’t we get more of these clowns to leave town after graduation? MF, you’re no Dan Kennedy.

  2. Anonymous

    I would leave the ‘Weakly’ Dig alone if I were you. They may have well joined the slime section of the Boston media but they are sticking it out in the face of a giant in alternative publishing and this is the second time I belive in recent weeks they publish about something the Herald and The Globe would rather hide.Tip your hat instead, for now.What I don’t understand is, this is yet another brit transplant who is taking advantage of American media’s complex of inferiority. Another brit accent who comes here and passes for an expert and automatically a superior mind to solve the problems we can’t solve ourselves. Great.Apart from BBC outstanding talent, all the failed tories and tabloid publishers have crashd pretty badly, yet we still pay them handsomely and give them millions. Steyn anyone -not a brit really but sounds like one, so classify him with them? Laborite-turned-crap Hitchens anyone? Wrong-oh-so-many-times Tony Blankley, anyone???Bullocks!!!!!I love 99% of Brits, except this small amount of garbage that reaches these shores in desperation.Chandler, get this, is putting up his own company in Manhattan to advise Fortune 500 CEOs how to position their companies and take advantage of “new Media” opportunities. He reportedly can’t understand many decisions business execs make and the msitakes they do. SuperKenny is flying in with the fix, kids.Hmm, am I missing something or what?Has he been commuting from the NY area to Beantown to salvage the Herald and he hasn’t been able to accomplish THAT announced mission for the Herald?Which is it: has Purcell not been listening to Cahndler’s advice and fixes or is it the Chandler still has no clue how to really redress ANY company and is bull####ing his way into a venture he obviously knows nothing about but about to rake in millions from?Which is it Kenny???N.

  3. Anonymous

    I hope this makes the Herald a smarter and better looking paper. If I had 5 minutes with Kevin Convey, I’d tell him this. Try looking beyond the heavily subsidized, uniquely situated New York Post. Chicago, Denver, and Vancouver all have tabloids that are full of content, better looking, and have a lot more advertising than the Herald. No, they are not getting rich but they are not suffocating like the Herald. Even the Metro looks classier. Even the Post has more content and excels in sports, TV, and entertainment coverage. The Herald has gutted the departments where it used to excel and cut its page count to the bone. Pick a few areas where the Globe doesn’t do well. TV, entertainment, internet, city issues, columnists. Do something with excellence. And stop editorializing on the front page – you don’t need to be Fox News for this blue state. Give us back the good looking paper you re-designed about 5 years ago. Sure, the Globe has lost a lot of readers but this 12% loss at the Herald is a near-fatal kick in the gut. Stop copying the bottom-feeding Post. Please, produce a newspaper Boston can be proud of paying for.

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