Bad News: GateHouse Media Gives Boston Herald Vote of Confidence

From our Hark! TheHerald! desk

Let’s start with a vocabulary lesson. Define dreaded vote of confidence: “A chairman saying that he has complete confidence in the manager or coach, ‘dreaded’ because it is almost always followed by being fired.”

Substitute “parent company” for “chairman” and “newly acquired daily” for “manager or coach,” and you have the proper context for Jordan Graham’s piece in today’s Boston Herald.

‘We want the Herald to thrive,’ says GateHouse chief executive

GateHouse Media plans to throw its advertising and promotions muscle behind the Boston Herald and leverage its sports and political coverage if it is successful in acquiring the paper, the head of the national company said.

Boston Herald Radio content could also be in play for a wider audience, said Kirk Davis, chief executive of GateHouse Media.

Here’s the part that might worry all those Heraldniks applying to GateHouse for their jobs: Davis told the shaky local tabloid, “I look at the opportunity to, and I’ll say thoughtfully, consider the portfolio we have in Massachusetts, New England, and figure out which of these writers, beats, innovations — radio and so forth — would be welcomed by our readers in our other publications or on our websites.”

Hard to know what that means, since “Davis declined to lay out his complete vision for the future of the Herald.” But it sure sounds like the survivors will be serving more than one master, eh?

There are still three other potential bidders who might get into the bakeoff when the Herald goes up for auction in February, as the bankruptcy process requires. But there are some hurdles they would have to clear.

For a bidder to beat GateHouse’s $4.5 million deal, the higher offer would need to factor in a $200,000 “break-up fee” and up to $100,000 in due diligence expenses to GateHouse. The companies have also proposed requiring the next higher bidder to beat GateHouse’s bid by $100,000.

Considering that it’s something of a miracle publisher Pat Purcell got even one bid,  odds are the gavel will come down for GateHouse.

And then the hammer will drop on the Herald.

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