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.

Peter Gelzinis Kisses the Boston Herald Goodbye

One of the two rational columnists at the feisty local tabloid. (Come on down, Kimberly Atkins!)

The heart of the Herald to Howie Carr’s spleen.

“Always stuck up for poor and working people, and for veterans and active service military” (tip o’ the pixel to @GlobeCullen).

“A solid, compassionate stand up guy” (ditto to @BostonFire).

There are a lot of ways to describe Peter Gelzinis. The saddest one is “gone.”

That’s what he told us in his farewell column in today’s Boston Herald.

A little hand leading into next chapter

Columnist pulled in new direction by grandson

The tiny fingers belong to a beautiful little boy of four months named Jack. They are clamped around a bigger, slightly arthritic finger that belongs to the grandfather who is absolutely crazy about him — me.

That index finger has tapped out maybe 10,000 stories for this paper over the last (gulp) 45 years. And this one will be the last … at least as a member of the staff.

I’ve shaken the hands of rich and poor, famous and anonymous, but none has exerted a more powerful grip on me than this precious little one that pulled me across a generational threshold back in August.

It’s a lovely piece, as befits a writer who could hold his own with the powerful and empathize with the powerless.  Many of them have acknowledged that in a nice sendoff on Twitter today.

But his exit after “[tapping] out maybe 10,000 stories for this paper over the last (gulp) 45 years” is a sad harbinger of what will likely be a slow-motion unbuilding of the shaky local tabloid.

(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, there are other potential buyers than the behemoth, budget-obsessed  GateHouse Media. And even if GateHouse does acquire the Herald, it won’t necessarily mean the paper will be significantly diminished in the future.

But it certainly was today.