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

Caught flat-footed

Word of Ted Kennedy’s death broke around 2 a.m. — too late for most of the Boston Herald’s print run. A friend of Media Nation reports that Kennedy is not on the front page in the news boxes he’s seen around the area.

Of course, the Herald rectifies that online. Presumably the boxes are being restocked as I write this.

Meanwhile, what is up with the folks who put together the mobile edition of It’s almost 9:30 a.m., and there’s not one word about Kennedy’s death on the front page of (I’ve saved the page here.) Nice picture of Jacoby Ellsbury, though.

I thought breaking news was automatically pushed to the site. I guess not.

Update: It’s now 11:15 a.m., and Kennedy stories are finally migrating to’s mobile edition.

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Edward M. Kennedy, 1932-2009


Talking about Ted Kennedy


  1. Newshound

    USA Today has the story and picture on Page One. It is printed in Norwood.

    Many local papers are printed out of town and trucked in – such as the Herald. Even the New Bedford Standard-Times is printed in Hyannis which has to be completed so it can be trucked to New Bedford. This would never have been allowed back in the Brewer-Lewin days of the 50s and 60s.

    The Internet is proving to be a better source of latest news.

  2. rozzie02131 is often disappointing and seems to be an afterthought.

    I noticed the Globe Reader seemed to be fully complete at 2 AM without the Kennedy story, but they had updated it overnight. Globe Reader is not normally updated so this is a positive sign to see them reacting to a major story.

  3. R. S. Buchanan

    newshound, I think you misunderstand. The main website is up to date, but they appear to have completely neglected to update the feeds for the site tailored for mobile devices like phones and whatnot. If one didn’t know already that Sen. Kennedy had passed on, one sure wouldn’t learn it by looking at on one’s iPhone.

  4. Peter Porcupine

    Actually, the print edition of the Cape Cod Times had the story on the front page today (my subscription edition delivered @ 4 am as usual); since the New Bedford paper is printed at the same facility, the story should be there. too.

  5.’s mobile site– to say that it disappoints is gross understatement. Often, I will lick on a story and get a blank page. Awful.

    Dan, I saw the same thing– or didn’t see the same things you didn’t see- on the home page. I stared a hole in my phone’s screen in disbelief.

    Then, I clicked on “top Stories” and they were there. Got to read a bunch of Noaln’s piece while at the gym.

    But yes, is an embarrassment.

  6. Dan Kennedy

    I’m reloading every few minutes. A minute ago, I saw things move around a bit — yet the Kennedy story still isn’t there.

    The only explanation I can think of is that no one can override the automated feed. Good grief — why don’t they just run the local news blog?

  7. Al

    I awoke at 1:45 AM to the sound of my radio reporting Kennedy’s death. At that point, WBZ radio had already gone over to full Kennedy coverage with local and CBS content. I was surprised that the Globe had it on its front page this morning, given the lead time. The article must have prepared in advance with only the date and time needed. I also notice that the front page Martin Nolan piece was the only one in the edition.

  8. bill ricker

    As a retro-tech fan of ink-on-paper technology and old-fashioned stop-the-press journalism, I was pleasantly surprised that the Globe on my doorstep had the breaking story above the fold. Yes, we still take home delivery, although generally all but the comics are read on-line. I’d rather subsidize thzon-line edition this way than have it pay-walled.

  9. bill ricker

    XM/sirius’ POTUS channel commented this morning just before Obama’s live comment that almost every outlet was doing all-Teddy coverage, including themselves – which as a political channel they felt justified in – but noted in passing FOX had NOT preempted their normal Fair and Balanced ™ he said she said coverage of the issues of the day. Indeed, XM FOX feed had at that instant further recriminations re CIA IG report on EIT. I guess not being able to find enough folk willing to speak ill of the dead to fill out 50+%, there was no controversey, so didn’t fit their format?

  10. Michael Pahre

    Methinks the Herald’s printing presses Chicka-peed on them over this story.

    An extra one-and-a-half hours travel time for paper delivery might not seem to be an issue most of the time, but it sure whacked them this time. And will again when a Red Sox playoff games goes into extra innings.

    P.S. Is it possible to install a “preview” button for comments?

  11. O-FISH-L

    I’ll hold my fire on Ted Kennedy out of respect for the dead, but local TV news will get no such deference from me with their fawning, sugar coated, saturation coverage. Enough already!

    As for print, I can’t wait for the Globe, replete with awards for taking on the Catholic Church in the past, to tangle with the Holy See once more on the Kennedy situation.

    Was Kennedy allowed to receive the Holy Eucharist on his deathbed and/or the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick? If so, did he finally renounce his pro abortion politics, as the church requires?

    “A person who commits sin in this way (a politician supporting abortion) should be publicly admonished in such a way as to not receive Communion until he or she has reformed his life.” “If we have a public figure who is openly and deliberately upholding abortion rights and receiving the Eucharist, what will the average person think?” — Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura

    Hopefully the Globe, et al will address some of the important issues associated with Kennedy’s death and stop the fluff.

  12. aml

    When the footer of the page says “powered by Quattro Publishing.” it essentially means “outsourced to Quattro Publishing.” and it is very likely that neither nor the Boston Globe have any direct control on what gets put on the site and when. (At least that was the way the older mobile vendor LSN worked. I wasn’t around when they changed to Quattro.)

    It looks like is built by grabbing the top few links from the homepage, and the business and A&E section fronts. It is probably built by screenscraping the site. It is likely that changed around the top news well sufficiently that it broke the Quattro’s screenscrapers.
    (Vendors like that love to market themselves as being so handsoff, rather than how robust they are. “Just sign with us and you get a mobile site without lifting a finger” sounds good before you sign up. “we’ll be up to 12 hours behind” usually isn’t mentioned.

  13. mike_b1

    Hopefully the catholic church will remember the whole “love the sinners” shtick it has been preaching for almost 2000 years.

    And hopefully those card-carrying members of the “call us catholic, not a cult” club will remember that as well.

  14. LFNeilson

    It’s clear that the Globe editorial dept. still has the power to yell “Stop the presses!” Printing in a remote location not only factors in windshield time, but also puts the press under a contract printer. New Bedford and the CCT are printed in the same facility, but that didn’t help NB catch the story. The papers are not printed simultaneously, and I’d guess that NB was on the press first. Once it’s printed, then a new press run is an extra expense, at contract rates. I’d bet that a paper owning its press could do it faster and cheaper. And these days, no paper has extra bucks. I’ll bet, too, that nobody had that driving sense of the importance of covering a breaking story. Once they’d put the paper to bed, they went too.
    As for broadcast, we (in Maine) received the news at 5 a.m. on the BBC feed on Me. Public Radio. My wife was news channel surfing, and noticed that Fox TV had nothing until 8 a.m.

  15. Thanks for pointing this out, Dan. I asked Bennie DiNardo about this and he said the problem stems from the special home page layout that was created for Kennedy’s death. A bit more info here.

  16. io saturnalia!

    I’m not sure any Catholic, regardless of standing, would be denied extreme unction. I’m not positive, however. The host is probably another matter.

  17. George Williams

    Not that it really matters but the Last Rites used to include “Confession” so reception of the Eucharist would be appropriate, even for the likes of Teddy for we do forgive and love the sinner but not the sin.

  18. Brian

    I was out in CA when the news hit, and it was interesting to see the coverage there. Both the SF Chronicle and the Fresno Bee devoted the entire front page above the fold to Kennedy’s passing; the LA Times, on the other hand, wasn’t able to get the story into their print run.

  19. Aaron Read

    Not only is slow to update, exceedingly prone to broken links, and generally a poor, poor substitute for the “real”….but a few weeks ago they decided to make it impossible to get to the “real” site on your phone! Thanks a lot you dumbasses!!!

    (used to be you could use, say, a Windows Mobile phone and go to and go to the real site, and go to and get the “mobile” steaming-pile-of-fail site. Now anytime you use a mobile browser to go to, you get the mobile site automatically with no way around it.

    Screw you – I only read you for the sports coverage (which also has gone in the toliet lately…what’s with making it so goddamn hard to find out what the game score and standings are?!?) and these days I get better coverage and info at!


    • Dan Kennedy

      Aaron: Agreed … the mobile edition of is brutal. Shows you what you get when you outsource a core function. They ought to try making it good and charging for it.

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