Purcell and Murdoch, together again

And no, I have no idea what it means. But Boston Herald publisher Pat Purcell is going back to work for his old boss, Rupert Murdoch, becoming executive chairman of Ottaway Newspapers next month.

Ottaway’s community papers are a subsidiary of Dow Jones — Murdoch’s accidental acquisition when he purchased the Wall Street Journal a couple of years ago.

Purcell says he may be able to foster some sort of relationship between the Herald and Ottaway’s Massachusetts papers — among them the Cape Cod Times, the New Bedford Standard-Times and the Nantucket Inquirer & Mirror. But this isn’t a natural partnership, to say the least.

Ottaway’s Barnstable Patriot has more.

11 thoughts on “Purcell and Murdoch, together again

  1. bob gardner

    I wonder if Purcell’s acquisition of the Herald from Murdock was ever as clear cut as it was made out to be at the time. It was a long time ago, but as I recall there were a lot of undisclosed aspects to the original sale. This can’t be very comforting to the people working at the Herald. The person charged with saving the paper will now only working at it part time.

  2. LFNeilson

    I always wondered where Purcell came up with the coins to buy the H in the first place. I suspect it was more about Murdoch wanting to own a television station.I’m reminded of the editor who took the H. back to a tabloid in the late 70s. The old Herald had gone under when it lost Channel 5. Hearst had bought the name and the plant on Harrison Ave., allowing it to finally flee from its Winthrop Sq. dungeon. But the paper that resulted from that merger, the broadsheet Herald-American, was a disaster. The (only) good news was that they tried to keep all the comics from both papers. The bad news was that they were had no sense of what they were doing. The paper wasn’t the old Herald, and it wasn’t the Record-American. It had no identity.After a couple of years, Hearst hired a new editor, and I can’t think of his name. He convinced Hearst to take the paper back to a tabloid, and it became the Herald. This guy used really witty, punchy front page headlines, and he knew how to structure a tabloid. Then he approached Murdoch and set up the deal for M. to buy the paper from Hearst.And then what happened? Purcell became publisher, and the editor who saved the paper was pushed aside and put in charge of the WinGo game, a horrid insult for a guy who was really sharp.Who was he?zzzzzz

  3. LFNeilson

    I always wondered where Purcell came up with the coins to buy the H in the first place. I suspect it was more about Murdoch wanting to own a television station.I’m reminded of the editor who took the H. back to a tabloid in the late 70s. The old Herald had gone under when it lost Channel 5. Hearst had bought the name and the plant on Harrison Ave., allowing it to finally flee from its Winthrop Sq. dungeon. But the paper that resulted from that merger, the broadsheet Herald-American, was a disaster. The (only) good news was that they tried to keep all the comics from both papers. The bad news was that they had no sense of what they were doing. The paper wasn’t the old Herald, and it wasn’t the Record-American. It had no identity.After a couple of years, Hearst hired a new editor, and I can’t think of his name. He convinced Hearst to take the paper back to a tabloid, and it became the Herald. This guy used really witty, punchy front page headlines, and he knew how to structure a tabloid. Then he approached Murdoch and set up the deal for M. to buy the paper from Hearst.And then what happened? Purcell became publisher, and the editor who saved the paper was pushed aside and put in charge of the WinGo game, a horrid insult for a guy who was really sharp. He soon left.DK says the name Don Forst comes to mind. I agree.zzzzzzz

  4. Peter Porcupine

    I still miss the Record American and Elliot Norton…FOUR pages of funnies! At least the Herald still has The Phantom.

  5. KPW

    Wow … so Ottaway has gone from being a place that focused on family-focused community-based journalism with leaders with deep integrity (Frank King, John Kinney, to name the two pulishers of Ottaway papers for which I worked) to being run by two of the titans of gotcha, bleed-it-leads journalism. Eesh./almost makes me glad that Ottaway sold the Salem News//but still bummed they killed the Beverly Times

  6. continental

    This is, I suspect, largely an effort to explore business (read: advertising) synergies between the Herald and the neighboring Ottaway papers. Purcell already has expertise with this kind of arrangement as past owner of the CNC papers. Anyone who thinks Ottaway is going tabloid ought to have their head examined.

  7. Old Weekly Retired Publisher

    I think Murdoch has extraordinary confidence in Purcell to optimize strategies and exploit any opportunities that should arise – – – some of which can include acquisition of some of GatehHouse newspapers even if not the original plan when acquiring Dow Jones.

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