There may be a new wind blowing through New England media — and I find myself hoping it’s true.
For 120 years, the Boston Globe was operated (and, largely, owned) by the Taylor family. That changed in 1993, when it was sold — lock, stock, and barrel — to the New York Times. The Times promised not to meddle in the management of the Globe, but started moving its own people in immediately. The last Taylor family member left the Globe in 2001.
And in the 13 years since, the Times’ investment has proven to be a poor one. Circulation has dropped, ad sales plummeted, and the paper is currently assessed for half of what the Times initially paid for it.
The actual news coverage hasn’t been wonderful, either. I routinely poke large holes in their “reporting,” and their editorials are often laughable. The PC filters placed on all content are industrial-grade.
Their one shining success since the Times merger was their coverage of the Catholic Church’s pedophile priest scandals. Globe reporters were the ones who uncovered the shameful history of secret payoffs of hush money, transfers of predatory pedophile priests to unsuspecting new parishes, and other backroom deals that left the Church untouched — but the perpetrators free to prey again and again and again.
Meanwhile, in 1998, the Globe had to get rid of two of its highest-profile columnists (Patricia Smith and Mike Barnicle) when it was revealed they had fabricated stories and plagiarized material. And let’s never forget that Jayson Blair had interned there before joining the New York Times.
Well, things might be changing on Morrissey Boulevard.
Rumors are swirling that the Times might be looking to cut its losses and shed the albatross around its neck — and leading the group of investors who might take it off their hands is former GE CEO Jack Welch.
I don’t know a damned thing about Welch, except he’s a hit on the lecture circuit and widely regarded as a hell of a leader and a wizard at turning a profit. But I find myself in the position of thinking that pretty much ANYTHING done to change the Globe would be an improvement.
Especially if it involves a serious purging of the editorial suite.
The Boston Herald, naturally, has been all over the story, while the Globe itself has been predictably mute. Here’s a sample of the Herald’s coverage:
Why Ted K loves Globe, hates us (Howie Carr’s take on the Senior Senator’s moves to help “save” the Globe, comparing them to his efforts years ago that nearly killed the Boston Herald)