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.

Legal Journo Bob McGovern Vacates Boston Herald

Well the sadreading staff was leafing through this morning’s Boston Herald when we came upon the paper’s double-barreled coverage of the Supreme Court’s sports betting payout.

Strange, we thought – no Bob McGovern, the feisty local tabloid’s legal-eagle columnist. So we hied us to his Twitter feed and found this profile.

We also came upon this tweet from three days ago.

So, gone like a cool breeze.

McGovern also tweeted  a link to this piece he posted on Medium, which tells the tale of more than just his own departure from the shrinky local tabloid.

“If you’re looking for something sugar coated, buy a donut”

Nate Dow edited copy at the sports desk as the Boston Herald newsroom filled with people nervously waiting for a surprise all-staff meeting called by publisher Pat Purcell.

Nate doesn’t work there anymore.

The two sports editors he worked under are gone, too.

Our entire editorial page staff vanished, and so did our cartoonist. Jeff Howe, a fan-favorite Patriots writer, took his talents elsewhere, and our entire business section now consists of the very talented Jordan Graham.

We lost four news editors, our veteran police reporter and a kickass photographer. At one point the Herald encompassed two floors — now advertising and editorial are separated by a little more than 77 inches of carpet.

The piece got even more depressing from there, detailing a thoroughly dehumanizing process of culling the herd. What’s left is a joyless shell of the Herald’s former self.

It should be required reading for every working journalist in the region, especially for McGovern’s depiction of how the paper’s dismantling was totally ignored by virtually every other local media outlet.

As the bankruptcy proceedings moved along, the Herald was the only media organization in the city to cover it properly. Brian Dowling did great work on the story — often hounding Pat and his lawyers — and yet no one asked him to come and talk about the process.

The media critics never even asked for his number. If the Globe was facing the same situation, and one of its fine journalists was doing the same brave reporting, I think you would be able to hear about it on WBUR or WGBH.

Maybe there wasn’t any interest, or perhaps other outlets don’t have the resources to spare. It may have something to do with the fact that Boston media beef has no sell-by date.

It’s still the case. And it’s still a shanda.

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.