A low whine from the Naked City

Is this what the Boston Herald calls a correction?

The Herald’s Inside Track chides the Phoenix’s Adam Reilly and Media Nation today for questioning a blog post by financial analyst Douglas McIntyre placing the Boston Globe on a list of 10 newspapers that may go out of business or go online-only by the end of the year.

What’s really amusing, though, is the way the Track quietly corrects an error made earlier this week on Jessica Heslam’s Messenger Blog. The error — which had Time magazine predicting the Globe’s demise — remains uncorrected.

As Media Nation was the first to report, Time, like several other media outlets, was merely running the feed from McIntyre’s 24/7 Wall St. blog on its Web site. Naturally, the Track takes Reilly and me to task for not doing any “reporting,” which it conveniently defines as not calling the Globe in order to get a “no comment.”

Finally, the Track manages the neat trick of lampooning Reilly’s and my skepticism over McIntyre’s claim that the Globe is worth only $20 million while simultaneously acknowledging that the paper’s real estate and other assets are probably worth more than $100 million.

The plain fact is that the most recent analysis anyone has seen is one put out by Barclays Capital analyst Craig Huber, who estimates the paper’s value at $192.8 million.

The newspaper business is in unimaginably bad shape, and the Globe is as vulnerable as any paper. If being cautiously optimistic about the future of the Globe makes me hopelessly naive, then I offer my deepest apologies.

Then again, I’m also one of the few media-watchers I know who predicts that the Herald will also survive. I suppose I could be wrong about that, too.

More: WBZ Radio (AM 1030) still has a Tuesday report up on its Web site wrongly attributing McIntyre’s item to Time magazine. Come on, folks. This isn’t that hard.

13 thoughts on “A low whine from the Naked City

  1. NewsHound

    Your not naive at all. Predicting the future is difficult. Last year is a great example. Oil from $147 to $35. A strong economy going to shambles.The newspaper business may not be the cash cow that investors drool to own like at times in the past, but if they can cover expenses they might as well continue as fail. Boston is a lively city. Massachusetts politics never rest. The Globe and the Herald are darn good newspapers. Predicting their survival is more than reasonable.Newspapers, like any business, can fail, just like the Boston Post which at one time was one of the largest in the USA with a circulation of over one million. It failed more than 50 years ago before almost everyone had a portable electronic device they were carrying for communication.

  2. trackgals

    Hey Dan — Just so you know — we didn't need to "quietly" correct Jess Heslam's piece in our column today because this is what ran in the Track on Tuesday, March 10 under We Hear:And that the Web site 24/7 Wall Street has a list of “The 10 Major Newspapers That Will Fold Or Go Digital Next.” No. 5 on the list: The Boston Globe . The other endangered outlets include The Miami Herald, the New York Daily News, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Philadelphia Daily News, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram, The Detroit News and The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer .Not on the list: the Boston Herald .G&L

  3. lkcape

    The value of the Globe newspaper may not include the value of the Globe‘s real estate. In most operations like this, the money men are smart enough to separate the two so that the failure of the operation does not affect the real estate holdings. The paper could easily fail in its operation. And given its current trajectory, a failure of the Globe is a possibility.

  4. bostonmediawatch

    I’d just say that when O’Reilly and Kennedy make the Inside Track, surely the end of Western Civilization is at hand.Won’t you join me in the hills to watch the glorious demise?

  5. Jonathan

    I’m sorry Track Girls, but isn’t the reason the Herald is “not on the list” simply because the list is limited to “major” newspapers?

  6. trackgals

    Again, Dan, You, Adam and Alan Mutter are ignoring the one thing that is driving all these newspapers into bankruptcy — debt. The Herald has none. The Globe and New York Times are drowning in it… G&L

  7. Dan Kennedy

    trackgals: How do you figure? I predict the Herald will survive, in part because I’m well aware of its debt situation. Mutter’s observations are based on the Herald’s status as the #2 daily in town. He says nothing about the Herald’s debt or lack thereof.Are you predicting the Times Co. will go bankrupt? That’s one hell of a prediction.

  8. Dan Kennedy

    trackgals: P.S. Let’s keep in mind how this started — I pointed out an error the Herald made in attributing this to Time magazine, and noted that McIntyre appeared to be lowballing the Globe’s value because he wasn’t using the most recent credible estimate as reported by the Boston Business Journal. Period. The Times Co.’s debt is not germane to that discussion.As Mutter points out, what McIntyre says about the Globe could have been said about any one of 30 or so large metros.

  9. Amused

    Maybe we’ll soon see a correction, or at least attribution, as to the million dollars a week losses at the Globe that gets bandied about as Gospel. The best I can see is that someone said it to someone else in the context of labor negotiations. And when management says “we can’t afford it,” it has to open its books. And we’ve seen nothing to indicate that the union demanded to see the books. None of the pontificators seems to be an enterprising enough journalist to actually find a source and report the facts.If the standard that seems to be applied by journalists and journalism critics to the Globe losses discussion were applied to, say, coverage of the war in iraq, these same journalists and journalism critics would be outraged by sloppy reporting. But we repeat obscure claims and — incredibly — justify it by citing the number of times it’s been repeated! Are the Globe’s books weapons of mass destruction?It’s also amazing to read people speculating about whether the Globe real property is owned separately from the newspaper. First, ownership of the real estate is probably in a 10-K, of not from NYT Co. than from Affiliated Publications.Look it up! Find attribution! Printing is not publishing! Posting is not journalism!

  10. Dan Kennedy

    Amused: Although I’m always careful to attribute the $1 million-a-week claim to management in the context of a labor dispute, I have done some independent reporting that suggests it’s true. Unfortunately, my sourcing is too confidential to say more than that, but let’s say I don’t feel silly when I repeat the claim.As for the real estate, I have never raised any questions or made any claims about the Globe’s property. I’m not sure it’s even an interesting question — just some people speculating without foundation that the Times Co. somehow failed to secure the property when it was paying $1.1 billion — half the market cap of the company at the time — to purchase the paper.The speculation of anonymous commenters does not generally lead me to drop whatever I’m doing and head over to the Registry of Deeds.

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