Globe comes clean

The Boston Globe aired its dirty linen in public over the weekend, running a front-page story that revealed the newspaper is still a long way from resolving problems with its printing presses in Taunton that have delayed or even prevented deliveries.

There have been mea culpas before about the breakdown-prone presses from publisher John Henry, but the Globe story for the first time confirmed that the company’s chief operating officer, Sean Keohan, and its vice president of operations, Richard Masotta, were both fired because of the debacle. Neither has been replaced, at least according to the paper’s masthead.

Vinay Mehra, the Globe’s relatively new president and chief financial officer, is stepping into the breach and also quickly jumping into a fight with the union representing workers who man the presses, suggesting they share a lot of the blame because they have been resistant to change. “I don’t want to bash them, but that is human nature,” he said.

Stephen Sullivan, the head of the union, said Mehra has it all wrong. “Absolutely, unequivocally, no human problems here,” he said.

The rest of the story seemed to suggest Sullivan is right and Mehra wrong. Every problem cited in the article seemed to be mechanical or software related. Even a Texas printer who purchased the same sort of “unconventional” press operation told the Globe that it struggled for a year and a half before the problems were resolved.

The Globe has sold its headquarters in Dorchester and moved its offices to downtown Boston and its printing operation to Taunton.  The presses the Globe purchased for Taunton are a quarter-century old, refurbished with new parts and managed by new software. Records indicate the Globe paid a little over $20 million for the Taunton property and, according to Sunday’s story, spent another $55 million on the presses. The total $75 million cost is $5 million more than what Henry paid for the Globe and the Telegram & Gazette in 2013.

The Globe’s problems aren’t just the Globe’s problems. The Globe has become the publisher of a number of newspapers delivered in the area, including the Boston Herald, the New York Times, and USA Today. So any problems with the Globe’s presses affect the readers of those publications as well. As the Herald told its readers on Sept. 8, “we talk with the Globe on a regular basis but unfortunately the remedies they put forth to solve the production problems have failed miserably.”



A Sunday Globe editorial offers a strong endorsement of the Pacheco Law waiver granted to the MBTA and says the exemption from the state’s strict privatization law is paying off with big savings for the system.

Margaret Monsell says Gov. Charlie Baker is opening a can of worms by trying to impose criminal penalties on anyone who distributes illegal drugs to people who die after using them. (CommonWealth)

Col. James McGinn is shaking things up at the Massachusetts Environmental Police, but the governor’s former driver may not be following all the rules as he does so. (Lowell Sun)

A Herald editorial says a bill imposing a three-year moratorium on the use of high-stakes tests in public schools “should never see the light of day.” John Griffin of Democrats for Education Reform agrees, and calls for retaining the “grand bargain” of education reform. (CommonWealth)


Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. calls for no more than 15 pot establishments in town and a 3 percent local tax assessed on their sales. (Telegram & Gazette) With the first legal recreational marijuana growing season in Massachusetts coming to a close, gardeners are finding out it takes a lot of work to grow weed. (MetroWest Daily News)

With uncertainty over how the closure of the Brayton Point power plant will affect the tax revenues in town, Somerset officials commissioned a survey that found residents would be willing to pay more taxes for services such as snow removal, public safety and education. (Herald News)

Boston’s disjointed system for tracking and dealing with rundown properties means hundreds of dilapidated properties remain blights for years on neighborhoods, sometimes with deadly consequences. (Boston Globe)

Ipswich fire Chief Gregory Gagnon was arrested and charged with assault on a female; his wife has also filed for divorce. (Salem News)

Bill Fahey, the executive director of Andover Youth Services, hasn’t been at work for the last several weeks and town officials aren’t talking. (Eagle-Tribune)

Paul DeBole says the exemption from property taxes enjoyed by nonprofit businesses deserves a lot more scrutiny. (CommonWealth)


President Trump tweeted an altered GIF of him hitting a golf ball which then appeared to hit Hillary Clinton in the back, causing her to stumble. (New York Times)

Trump’s legal team doesn’t always agree on how much to cooperate with investigators looking into Russian election interference, as evidenced by an argument between two advisors at a restaurant overhead by a reporter. (New York Times)

According to a leaked memo, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that six national monuments shrink in size. The memo doesn’t appear to mention Northeast Canyon and Seamounts, but it does call for changes to Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine. (Associated Press)

Protests continue for the third straight day in St. Louis over the acquittal of an ex-police officer in the death of a black man. (Associated Press)


Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says his work here isn’t done. “I need that second term,” he tells Keller@Large.

After state voters legalized recreational marijuana last fall, opponents at the municipal level are largely running the table in their efforts to win bans against local sales, with pro-pot forces not able to organize campaigns to beat back the efforts. (Boston Globe)

The three Democratic candidates for governor hold their first debate over the weekend in East Longmeadow. (MassLive)


A Globe editorial says a Superior Court judge was right to order an exemption to the Baker administration’s “no motel” policy for housing homeless families in the case of a family that was placed in housing in Haverhill though their children attend the Boston public schools.

Weedmaps, a huge California-based marijuana firm, is setting up shop in Boston and has joined the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. (Boston Globe)


Only 55 of the state’s 351 school districts charge tuition for kindergarten but a dozen of those communities are on the South Shore. (Patriot Ledger)

Twenty-six Boston public schools are at risk of becoming declared “underperforming” by the state, a designation that could force restructuring plans and ultimately the removal of the schools’ principals and some teachers. (Boston Globe)

Two elementary schools in New Bedford will share the same principal, though officials insist the unprecedented move is not designed to save money since the assistant principals at each school will receive an additional stipend for extra work while the principal is at the other school. (Standard-Times)

Four Boston College students were sprayed in the face with acid in an attack at a French train station that police say was carried out by a “disturbed” woman. All four were treated and released at a local hospital. (Boston Globe) Students at the BC campus say they were unsettled by the attacks, which raised fears about study abroad programs. (Boston Herald)

The conservative Lowell Sun editorial page and liberal Rep. Marjorie Decker of Cambridge agree: Don’t mess with recess.

A Globe editorial decries Harvard’s move to rescind a fellowship appointment of Chelsea Manning, particularly in light of the fellowships given to former White House spokesman Sean Spicer, “a serial liar and national laughingstock,” and former Trump aide Corey Lewandowksi, who was charged with roughing up a reporter in the 2016 campaign.


An investigation by the New York Times and ProPublica finds that insurance companies often restrict access to painkillers that have less risk than opioids because the addictive narcotics are often cheaper.


Keolis locomotive repairs are off to a bumpy start. (CommonWealth) A State House hearing today will consider a lawmaker’s proposal for an independent investigation of the MBTA’s $2.69 billion contract with Keolis. (Boston Herald)

Some commuters south of Boston will have a much better ride this morning as all four lanes of the new Fore River Bridge are finally open to traffic several weeks early after 14 years of traveling over a “temporary” span. (Patriot Ledger)

Buses are the hottest trend in transit. (Governing)


Nantucket officials, with support from two island nonprofits, have launched a pilot study to gauge the extent of an invasive species of green crabs and whether its presence is related to the loss of eelgrass, which is essential to the bay scallop industry. (Cape Cod Times)

Complaints by neighbors about the smell from a nearby state-approved composting field at a Northborough farm have prompted town officials to file a bill on Beacon Hill that would allow more local control. (MetroWest Daily News)


Fifty years after launching as the definitive voice of the counterculture movement, Rolling Stone  magazine is being put up for sale by publisher Jann Wenner, a victim of the publishing woes affecting the entire industry as well as its own journalistic missteps. (New York Times)