More cuts at the Herald

Tabloid lays off two photographers, half the sports desk

THE STRUGGLING BOSTON HERALD laid off about 20 more staffers Thursday, including at least two award-winning veteran photographers for a tabloid that thrives on pictures.

Longtime photographer Mark Garfinkel posted on social media that he was let go after reporting for work Thursday morning.

“Goodbye Boston Herald,” Garfinkel, a photographer at the paper for a quarter century, wrote on Twitter. “Today I was let go, w/others. I’ve enjoyed covering events that have occurred in Boston. Thanks to the staff, past/present.”

Calls to several Herald officials, including editor Joe Sciacca, were not returned. Beyond the photo department, it’s unclear who else was laid off. Sources said five people on the nine-person sports copy desk were let go.

Staffers who did not want to be identified said those laid off were told as they reported for work Thursday. Those who had the day off but were terminated were called at home and given the news.

The Herald has gone through a series of cuts over the last decade but the pace of staff reductions has ramped up since the hedge fund-backed Digital First Media won a bidding war to buy the bankrupt tabloid from owner and publisher Pat Purcell.

Since February, when Digital First took over, the paper has lost more than half of the 225 people who worked there, with about 110 employees, including an estimated 12 news reporters, remaining before Thursday’s cuts. The company, known for stripping bare the papers it buys, had cut copy editors, circulation workers, and sales representatives. Some of those responsibilities were moved to its corporate offices in Colorado and overseas to third-party vendors.

Meet the Author

Jack Sullivan

Senior Investigative Reporter, CommonWealth

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is a veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

A Boston native, Jack has lived in Massachusetts all his life. He was a major in English and history with a minor in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A father and grandfather, he lives in Plymouth with his wife, Susan.

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is a veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

A Boston native, Jack has lived in Massachusetts all his life. He was a major in English and history with a minor in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A father and grandfather, he lives in Plymouth with his wife, Susan.

The Herald in the 1990s had a daily print circulation approaching 375,000, but earlier this year the newspaper was selling about 41,000 papers a day. Purcell sold the Herald’s longtime headquarters and printing plant in the South End and moved the offices to the Seaport, contracting the Boston Globe to print and deliver the paper. Digital First ended that deal with the Globe and moved its production to GateHouse’s Providence plant. Digital First also announced it was moving the offices and remaining staff to a small office park in Braintree before the end of the year.

“This day has been lurking in the shadows for 10 months, since the bankruptcy announcement in December,” said Jon Couture, one of the sports copy editors whose last day is October 26. “As much as this hurts, it’s a relief that the worry about it is over.”