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

Ex-Phoenician David Bernstein’s big Menino win

Tom Menino in 2008

My former Boston Phoenix colleague David Bernstein, now looking for work, scored a big win on Wednesday, reporting before anyone that Mayor Tom Menino would not seek re-election. With the Phoenix now history, Bernstein posted the news on his blog — first as rumor, later as confirmed fact.

Given that Menino gave major interviews Wednesday to the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald, it strikes me as exceedingly likely that a media embargo was in place — and I received additional, direct confirmation of that this morning. Which just goes to show the futility of embargoes in the Internet age. Good for Bernstein for operating outside the system, even if it’s not by his own choice. News organizations might consider rethinking their participation in such attempts at media manipulation.

Both the Globe and the Herald offer excellent coverage of the Menino era today. And how about Globe editor Brian McGrory jumping back into the fray by interviewing Menino and writing a column? McGrory was the Globe’s signature voice for years. Returning to the trenches for one day was a smart move.

More: Andrew Beaujon of Poynter has a nice Storify on how Bernstein’s scoop played out on Twitter.

Photo (cc) by Dan4th Nicholas and published under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

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  1. Aaron Read

    I would opine that as much as I like Menino, both as a mayor and as what he represents as a icon, this is part of why it’s a good thing he’s stepping aside. It’s never a good idea to have someone in charge for 20+ years…you’re too connected to the previous generation’s values and too distanced from the current generation’s.

    As savvy as Menino can be, I seriously doubt he INSTINCTUALLY understands how the modern, post-internet media world really works. Granted, this is why good politicians make good hires for advisors to help them with such things. But after a certain point, that only helps so much. Would a 30 year old running for mayor even think about asking for an embargo? Hell no, they’d demand the paper tweet it immediately to get the extra coverage as fast as possible.

  2. Media embargoes make sense to give all media outlets a chance to report the story and get access to a piece of news that they haven’t “uncovered,” but is being provided to them. They aren’t working for it – it’s handed to them on a silver platter. If you want the piece you play by the rules. Without embargoes, journalists get their feelings hurt and accuse companies, politicians and nonprofits of playing favorites. It’s a smart way to avoid all of the messiness and backbiting.

  3. Bob Nelson

    Yesterday Howie Carr mentioned that Peter Lucas was told by Mayor White that he would run again; White was not nec. a fan of Lucas but he told him. And: (WBUR):”The front page of the next morning’s Herald blared: “White Will Run.”
    Later that day, when local TV stations went live to the mayor for his much-anticipated announcement, White announced he wasn’t running. In the Herald newsroom, reporters saw Lucas turn gunmetal gray. He walked to his typewriter and banged out his letter of resignation.

    ” ‘I was stunned,’ he remembers. When he handed the resignation over, the publisher said, ‘Oh forget it. This is great for circulation.’ ”

  4. Jim Morrison

    And when reporters begin to refer to the post-Menino era as “Meninopause,” remember that you read it here first.

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