As the Globe churns
The newspaper industry is volatile enough because of outside pressures that stability at the top is a requirement to ensure as smooth a ride as possible in navigating the shifting dynamics of the changing business.
But with the abrupt and immediate resignation of Boston Globe president and CEO Doug Franklin on Tuesday, owner John Henry has now changed the top executive more times since he bought the paper in 2014 than he has general managers at his other prized possession, the Boston Red Sox.
Henry is replacing Franklin with newly hired vice president and chief financial officer Vinay Mehra, who hadn’t technically even started yet. Mehra becomes the Globe’s fourth president since Henry bought the paper from the New York Times for $70 million.
In his candid note to employees, Franklin admitted he and Henry did not see eye-to-eye on how to move the paper forward.
That slight crack allowing a view into the inner workings has triggered much speculation as to the root cause of Franklin, the former publisher of the respected Atlanta Journal-Constitution, departing just seven months after Henry wooed him from his Florida retirement.
The Boston Herald story, without attribution, states some of the problems lay with Franklin’s push to invest more in a digital strategy while Henry has been slashing costs to maintain profitability. But the paper did have in interesting quote from Mike Sheehan, Franklin’s immediate predecessor, about the Globe’s goal of sustainability and the disparate views.
“Obviously, there’s disagreement about what it’s going to take to get there,” Sheehan told reporter Jack Encarnacao, before noting Henry’s trump card. “And rank has its privilege.”
There is some speculation that Franklin may also have been hampered by the Globe’s move out of its longtime Dorchester headquarters and shifting the printing to Taunton, where problems have plagued home delivery and the ability to make deadline with late sports scores. It’s unclear if the issues were connected but the Globe’s own story on Franklin’s resignation acknowledged the printing problems.
“But his tenure also saw continued press problems at the newspaper’s new Taunton printing facility, which has been a vexing and expensive headache for a media organization fighting to become financially self-sufficient in an era of declining print advertising,” the story said. “The printing problems pre-date Franklin, who started on Jan. 1.”
If they pre-dated Franklin and were not of his own doing, why conflate the two, unless, of course, there is a connection?
Franklin’s departure and the restructured chain of command give some clues into the Globe’s future and what it will look like. Henry, who brought his sabermetrics passion to shaping the Sox, said he will become “a more active publisher” and his wife, Linda Pizzuti Henry, the Globe’s managing director, “will take on more responsibility.”
“Yes – and the other thing is I think their desire and energy for staying in the forefront of technology and processes – it’s in their DNA,” he said. “You don’t have to tell these people – they live this every day – how can we do things better. They’re built this way. And I think some of it is maybe because you don’t have the luggage of a traditional media company and all the headaches of running a traditional media company.”
Gov. Charlie Baker’s chief of staff, Steve Kadish, announces he’s stepping down, saying he has “run out of gas” after two and a half years maintaining an intense schedule that starts at 5 a.m. (Boston Globe) CommonWealth had this Conversation feature in January with Kadish, the man we dubbed “Gov. Fix-It’s fix-it man.” Baker’s administration and finance secretary, Kristen Lepore, will take over Kadish’s job, while current revenue commissioner Michael Heffernan will shift into Lepore’s old post. Chris Harding, chief of staff in the revenue department, will become its new commissioner. Got it?
State Treasurer Deb Goldberg, whose office lost sole oversight of the budding retail marijuana industry in the compromise bill in the Legislature, says she has “no idea” if pot shops can be open by next July with the timeframes set in the measure. (State House News Service)
Members of the Worcester City Council want to reduce the speed limit citywide to 25 mph. (Telegram & Gazette)
The Globe magazine has a look at Marty Walsh the man, and finds a guy who’s feeling pretty good in his mayoral role, but who admits to real self-doubt during his early months in office.
Obamacare repeal and replace? Gone. Repeal and delay? DOA, killed by three moderate GOP senators. (U.S. News & World Report) A bitter President Trump said he and the Republican party “won’t own” Obamacare and said he’ll let it collapse and wait for Democrats to come to him to fix it. (New York Times) MassINC Polling Group’s Steve Koczela and Rich Parr give some national polling context to the swirl of events. Bottom line: The GOP plan was deeply unpopular, while Obamacare has been gaining support. And Trump’s vow not to own any problems may be wishful thinking. (CommonWealth) A Globe editorial denounces Trump’s “health care tantrum.”
Trump had a second, previously undisclosed meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit. (New York Times)
Republican State Rep. Geoff Diehl says he’s raised more than $343,000 for his run against US Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Warren has more than $9 million on hand. (Boston Herald)
A slew of Haverhill politicos have entered — or are considering entering — the race for the House seat being vacated by Brian Dempsey, including City Councilor Andy Vargas and school committee members Paul Magliocchetti, Scott Wood, and Shaun Toohey.
The North Carolina-based snack company that owns Cape Cod Potato Chips will keep making the brand on the Cape after considering moving production to North Carolina or even Arizona. (Cape Cod Times)
Anti-poverty advocates say the move by businesses and government to move to cashless systems, such as the MBTA’s transition to a new electronic payment, will hurt low-income people who don’t have credit cards or bank accounts with debit cards. (Governing)
The Brockton School Committee has voted to wean 4-year-olds out of the district’s kindergarten, changing the required enrollment birthday cutoff from January 1 to September 1 and putting the city in line with most of the rest of the state. (The Enterprise)
Among the budget vetoes made by Gov. Charlie Baker was a provision that required Massachusetts Bay Community College to build its new campus in Framingham. Baker proposed the Legislature expand the siting to “the Metrowest area” to give officials more flexibility. (MetroWest Daily News)
Officials from the Somerset Berkley Regional School District are mulling their options after Berkley voters rejected an override for that town’s share of costs to cover a looming budget deficit. (Herald News)
Boston-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals reports promising results using a three-drug combination to treat cystic fibrosis and says it will launch one or two late-stage trials of the approach early next year. (Boston Globe)
Is the safety risk for little-tested drugs worth the trade-off of giving hope for cures for terminal illnesses when public health officials fast-track approval? (Greater Boston)
A subsidy to pay for tick tests for Cape Cod residents has been restored, reducing the cost for the lab tests for a variety of tick-borne diseases from $100 or more to $15. (Cape Cod Times)
With the price of taxi medallions in free fall, Jeff Jacoby says their supply should never have been limited in the first place. (Boston Globe)
Federal officials lifted a temporary ban on whale entanglement rescues after the prohibition had been put in place following the death last week of a veteran rescuer off the coast of New Brunswick. (Cape Cod Times)
A brewing casino war between Connecticut and Massachusetts has some wondering whether we’re heading for an Atlantic City-type meltdown. (CommonWealth)
A popular Mission Hill hardware store owner is shot to death in an apparent afternoon robbery at his store. Three suspects are in custody. (Boston Globe)
The state will transfer 14 men who are being civilly held at the state facility in Bridgewater to the minimum-security prison in Plymouth where they were previously held. (Boston Globe)
A Salem man facing his 15th drunken driving charge is being held without bail. (Salem News)
MEDIAThe Herald’s Hillary Chabot will host a weekly show on Herald Radio focused on salacious State House scandals. But it sounds like much of it will focus on rehashing the good old days of booze cruises and Animal House sessions of the Legislature — unless today’s pols can step up their game with some fresh material.
Well-known South Shore philanthropist and developer Frank Messina, who grew up a poor orphan and who many half-jokingly said owned “half of Braintree,” has died at the age of 91. (Patriot Ledger)