Digital First Media (slogan: “Where Newspapers Go to Die”) officially took possession of the Boston Herald yesterday. As the redoubtable Dan Kennedy noted at Media Nation, the takeover was preceded by this memo last week.
Now come the reports of the takeover in the local dailies, and the one in the soldy local tabloid sure reads like a press release – and not just because it’s bylined “Herald Staff.”
Digital First Media takes the helm of the Boston Herald
Digital First Media, one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States, completed the acquisition of the Boston Herald yesterday.
The Boston Herald’s roots date to 1846, when it was a single two-sided sheet of news published by a group of Boston printers. In more recent times, the media company has been anchored by the 64,500-circulation Herald, known for its eye-catching Page 1 photos and headlines, with a loyal online following at BostonHerald.com.
“DFM is pleased to have the opportunity to be a part of the Boston Herald through the next chapter of its storied history. The Herald is integral to the fabric of the great city of Boston,” said Guy Gilmore, DFM’s chief operating officer.
That last part remains to be seen. The rest of the puff piece is pretty standard boilerplate , except for this ominous note: “[Digital First’s] Adtaxi Digital agency is an in-house, client-centric digital agency that brings scale, precision and sophistication to digital marketing. Adtaxi helps advertisers solve complex marketing challenges with custom, performance-driven solutions.”
Ads in sheep’s clothing, in other words.
Crosstown at the Boston Globe, Jon Chesto has – not surprisingly – a very different take.
Herald in hedge fund firm’s hands
Digital First completes purchase, more cuts feared
When Pat Purcell acquired the Boston Herald in 1994, the deal came with the hopes that local ownership would ensure the long-term survival of Boston’s No. 2 daily newspaper.
That survival will now depend on a new owner, a New York hedge fund firm, and not the man who led the Herald for much of his career in the news business.
Digital First Media, which is owned by Alden Global Capital and also does business as MediaNews Group, completed its acquisition of the Herald Monday after beating rival GateHouse Media last month with a nearly $12 million bid in a bankruptcy auction.
Chesto also had a very different number for the Herald’s circulation. “Nearly two-thirds of its roughly 45,000 daily print sales are single-copy purchases as opposed to subscriptions, according to Alliance for Audited Media data.”
That’s a pretty big drop from the 64,500 “in more recent times” the Herald piece claims. Is two or three years ago really “recent”?
Regardless, we wish the Heraldniks all the best, or certainly better than their new brethren at the Denver Post, which Digital First is currently dismantling in slow motion.
If it’s lucky, the shaky local tabloid just might dodge that bullet.