Hexit Watch™: It’s -35- for Steve Bulpett

From the never-ending evisceration of the Boston Herald

More Grim Reaper action yesterday at the shrinky local tabloid. From Jenna Ciccotelli at boston.com.

Longtime Celtics writer Steve Bulpett part of latest round of Boston Herald layoffs

Steve Bulpett, who has covered the Celtics both at home and on the road longer than anyone in franchise history, announced Wednesday that he has been laid off from The Boston Herald.

Bulpett, a North Shore native with roots in Lynn and Swampscott, was in his 35th season of covering the Celtics. The University of Dayton graduate has earned multiple Associated Press Sports Editor Top 10 honors . . .

This is the second round of recent layoffs for the newspaper, which cut at least half a dozen employees in April, including longtime sportswriter John “Jocko” Connolly, Boston Bruins reporter Marisa Ingemi, and sports editor Justin Pelletier.

Let’s stipulate that it’s amazing the Herald even publishes every day, given that, according to Don Seiffert at Boston Business Journal, “[t]he size of the Boston Herald has gone from about 240 employees at the end of 2017, before its purchase by MediaNews Group, to just a few dozen today.”

Hexit Watch™: It’s -30- for Heslam and Ingemi

From our Long Goodbye desk

More bloodletting at the Boston Herald as its hedge-fund overlords once again go Grim Reaper on the scrawny local tabloid.

Two high profile layoffs yesterday: 20-year veteran Jessica Heslam and recently hired Bruins beat gal Marisa Ingemi.

Heslam’s Facebook post:

Ingemi’s Twitter post:

Nik DeCosta-Klipa has more at boston.com.

The already-shrinking Boston Herald is among the many newspapers feeling the toll of the coronavirus outbreak.

In the midst of the pandemic, at least a half dozen Herald employees said they were laid off Thursday, as the the paper’s parent company reportedly moves to cut staff at outlets across the country. The layoffs at the Herald included columnists Jessica Heslam and Adriana Cohen, as well as longtime sportswriter John “Jocko” Connolly and Boston Bruins reporter Marisa Ingemi.

We’ll pass over in silence the one name above who likely will not be missed by many, but any loss of newspaper jobs is lamentable. Meanwhile, the bean counters continue to make the Boston Herald a shell of its former self.

Kimberly Atkins Says -30- to Boston Herald

From our never-ending Hexit Watch™

And so yet another journalist the Boston Herald can ill-afford to lose is leaving the shrinky local tabloid.

From today’s Politico Playbook PM:

MEDIAWATCH — Kimberly Atkins is leaving the Boston Herald.  She is currently its Washington bureau chief.

Here’s her piece from yesterday’s Herald.

Her Twitter feed still features this profile because she’s not leaving until tomorrow.

But here’s the news in her own words.

Kimberly Atkins was one of the few remaining writers at the Herald always worth reading, whether you agreed with her or not. We’re reasonably sure that her professional life after the skimpy local tabloid will be anything but skimpy.

Jordan Graham Finishes His Business at the Herald

From our never-ending Hexit Watch™

The sadreading staff got the news about the latest Exile on Fargo Street from Andy Metzger, late of the State House News Service.

Graham has been business and tech reporter at the shrinky local tabloid and departs with not one but two pieces in today’s edition (which, not for nothing, comprises a paltry 48 pages, about seven of them ads; the Sports section is an anemic 16 pages, with a lonely one-sixth-page ad).

Graham’s valedictory tweet:

Good luck, Jordan. There is life after Digital Worst – sorry, First – Media. All best finding it.

Hexit Watch™: Steve Buckley Intentionally Walks

Chalk up another significant departure from the shrinky local tabloid.

Yesterday morning the sadreading staff noticed an item tucked away in the Boston Globe Sports Log column.

That was soon followed by this Chad Finn piece on the Globe’s website.

Herald columnist Steve Buckley leaving for The Athletic

Longtime Boston Herald sports columnist Steve Buckley is leaving the newspaper to join The Athletic Boston website, industry sources confirmed Thursday night.

Buckley, 62, has been with the Herald since 1995. Before joining the Herald, he wrote for The National sports daily among other outlets.

A University of Massachusetts graduate, he has made frequent appearances on Boston sports television and radio throughout his career, and has authored several books, including Wicked Good Year on the 2007 seasons of Boston’s major sports franchises. He is also the founder of the annual Oldtime Baseball Game in Cambridge.

As WEEI’s Alex Reimer noted yesterday, “[w]ith Buckley now presumably out the door, the Boston Herald is left without any general sports columnists.”

The “presumably” is there because, Reimer wrote, “Buck, annoyingly, wouldn’t confirm the news to me in a text message. Perhaps that’s his revenge for spending so many hours with me inside of a radio studio.”

No comment.

Coincidentally, the scraggly local tabloid did announce an addition to its sports desk earlier this week.

Good luck to Marisa Ingemi boarding the Good Slip – sorry, Ship – Herald, and bon voyage to Steve Buckley, a true pro and a real loss for the shaky local tabloid.

Digital First Takes Knife to Boston Herald Again

The clearcutters at Digital Worst – sorry, First – Media are at it again, engineering a Memorial Day Massacre at Fargo Street, according to Greg Ryan’s report in the Boston Business Journal (tip o’ the pixel to @EBMason).

Digital First lays off Boston Herald managers, workers

Digital First Media, the new owner of the Boston Herald, laid off at least six employees on the commercial side of the newspaper on Friday, according to a union representative.

A marketing manager and automotive sales manager were among those who lost their jobs, as were a receptionist and three employees in the paper’s financial services department, which handles billing and other tasks, said Donna Marks, a Herald employee who took over as president of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Boston earlier this week.

The cuts come in the midst of a steady exodus of Herald staffers who had survived Digital First’s original bloodbath right after it purchased the shaky local tabloid. (See our Hexit Watch™ for a partial list.)

Sad as it may be, what’s happening at the Herald is very much newspaper business as usual according to this piece by Bloomberg’s Gerry Smith.

Several hedge funds have become newspaper barons in recent years. Alden Global now owns about 60 daily newspapers through a subsidiary, Digital First Media. New Media Investment Group, which is managed and controlled by private-equity firm Fortress, owns almost 150 newspapers in smaller towns like Columbus, Ohio, and Providence, Rhode Island, through a unit, GateHouse Media. And hedge fund Chatham Asset Management LLC is one of the largest shareholders and bondholders in McClatchy Co., publisher of the Charlotte Observer and Miami Herald.

Helpful chart:

Smith adds, “’They’re not reinvesting in the business,’ Ken Doctor, a longtime newspaper analyst and president of the website Newsonomics, said about Alden Global. ‘It’s dying and they are going to make every dollar they can on the way down.’”

Two certainties at the Boston Herald: 1) They’ve got company at over 200 other U.S. newspapers, and 2) They all face the same future of death by a thousand paper cuts.

Hexit Watch™: Owen Boss Gets Some New Bosses

And the beat (feet) goes on . . .

While the sad reading staff was chronicling the exodus of former Boston Herald Deputy Editorial Page Editor Julie Mehegan from Fargo Street to the State House corner office, we noticed this in her Twitter feed.

That would be Herald reporter Owen Boss, who’s listed as such on the paper’s website.

Except here’s what we found @OVVenBoss.

So, to recap:

Owen Boss has departed the skimpy local tabloid and landed at WHDH.

Good luck with those new bosses, Owen.

And, hey, Herald webmaster: Keep up, man.

Hexit Watch™: Herald Sports Scribes Steal Away

Latest in what’s become an ongoing (outgoing?) series

The exodus from the Boston Herald since its sale to Digital First Media (slogan: “Where Newspapers Go to Die”) hasn’t yet reached Biblical proportions, but it does seem to be picking up.

From New England Patriots beat reporter Jeff Howe’s Twitter feed yesterday:

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, sports media columnist Chad Finn has a piece today about “The Athletic sports website . . . filling out its Boston roster.”

Among those who will be writing for The Athletic Boston are Fluto Shinzawa, who is leaving the Globe to become the site’s Bruins writer; Jen McCaffrey (currently MassLive) and Chad Jennings (Boston Herald), who will cover the Red Sox; and Jay King (MassLive), who will be the Celtics reporter. The site’s Patriots hire will be evident in the coming days.

At the time Digital First won the Herald bakeoff and proceeded to lay off about 30% of the staff, one of the most appealing aspects of the scanty local tabloid was its robust and popular sports pages. But now the paper is printed in Rhode Island so home subscribers get yesterday’s scores tomorrow . Combine that with sports page stalwarts like Howe and Jennings leaving Fargo Street, and the Herald’s appeal is basically reduced to the days Howie Carr’s not writing.

Bad news.

Hexit Watch™: Shelly Cohen’s Long Goodbye

Latest in what we expect will be an endless stream

The redoubtable Rachelle Cohen – longtime Boston Herald journalist, most recently as Editorial Page Editor – sang her swan song in yesterday’s edition, marking yet another milestone for the feisty local tabloid.

The Boston Herald I knew, whose death has been prematurely reported for decades, and on whose masthead my name has appeared for the last several of those decades, will sometime Monday be under new ownership. That is, in its own way, a good thing.

As an institution in this community it will live on; it will continue to vigorously compete in the marketplace of journalism because the people who have labored here — and those who will continue to do so — actually don’t know how to operate any other way.

Owners and editors have come and gone, but the abiding spirit of this place has always been a little different — and more than a little quirky.

(Amen to that – we hope. Then again, there’s that wrecking ball new Herald owner Digital First Media has just taken to the Denver Post, which we noted yesterday.)

As is fitting and proper, Shelly also received an admiring tweetoff on the interwebs.

All best wherever you land next, Shelly. They’ll be lucky to have you.

Hexit Watch™: Matt Stout Jumps to Boston Globe

Second in what we expect will be a long-running series

Well that was quick.

When we last saw Boston Herald State House reporter Matt Stout, which was less than a week ago, he was chronicling the very entertaining Massachusetts Senate president throwdown.

That piece ran on the Herald website the same day this Stout piece ran in the shaky local tabloid’s print edition under the banner headline “Patrick May Now Have 2020 Vision.”

So imagine our surprise when this piece appeared on the Boston Globe’s website two days later (tip o’ the pixel to Jay Fitzgerald at MASSterList).

For the byline impaired: Matt Stout, Globe Staff.

(Oddly enough, the Patrick story in the Globe’s print edition that day was written by Michael Levenson. But whatever.)

Regardless of those twists and turns, Matt Stout is now firmly ensconced at the Boston Globe, yet another Herald journalist who’s put new owner Digital First Media in his rear-view mirror.

Maybe they should call it Digital Frost Media, yeah?