The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, January 21, 2005
 

Metro/NYT Co: the porn angle


Poor old Pat Purcell gets no change out of West 43rd Street with his convoluted porn connection story (January 17 - with links to earlier pieces):
Times Co. spokeswoman Catherine Mathis denied the company's plan to buy a 49 percent stake in Metro International's Boston daily would put the Gray Lady in bed with Modern Times Group - the porno-pushing parent of Metro's empire.

Worthy of Rupert Murdoch's Sun, that
porno-pushing parent
- the sophomoric alliteration (and in the body of the text, too, rather than the hed), and untrue to boot, as the next graf shows:
Modern Times controls 28 percent of Metro International, which is the parent company of Metro Boston.

Meanwhile, Dan Kennedy is crowing about the role of online outlets in getting the original nigger-joke story into Big Media, and patting source John Wilpers on the back as well.

Of Rory O'Connor, who broke the story, he says
His timing was exquisite.

The word I'd use would be fishy.

This story has apparently been knocking around Boston for at least a year: a coincidence that it should appear just after the announcement of the Boston Metro deal? Of course, if O'Connor could show that an essential piece of corrobatory evidence had only just come into his hands, that would help his case. I don't see it, though.

(That's miles from crying conspiracy, be it noted: perhaps, true to their surnames, Purcell and O'Connor agreed the timing over pints of the black stuff at a Knights of Columbus shindig. But there's no evidence of it. Calling Grassy Knoll-ers and tabloid journalists... )


MORE

O'Connor has another piece on the Metro deal, suggesting that, race aside, the management of Metro International should give the NYT Co pause.

It reeks of corporate telenovela - or perhaps a Harvard Business School case-study of a joint venture disaster. And, for the NYT, it's penny-ante, minority stake, no commercial integration - O'Connor quotes one
Edward Atorino, a Wall Street analyst with Fulcrum Global Partners
as saying
This thing was supposed to be a no-brainer...

The lack of brain affects he who ever thought such a stupid thing, surely?


STILL MORE (January 25)

A WSJ piece suggests a commercial reason for the NYT Co to make the investment:
Pat Purcell, publisher of the Boston Herald, alleged in an interview that if the deal is approved, the Globe could coerce "or incentivize" advertisers to run ads in both the Globe and Metro. Mr. Purcell said Metro, on its own, hadn't been able to crack certain ad segments, such as car dealers, one of the Herald's strengths. That could change, he said, with the Globe's market clout.

Top of the head, the troubles with that idea are that, first, advertisers in Boston area newspapers have a range of rags to give their business to, which reduces any Globe leverage; and, secondly, the NYT Co book only 49% of any profits of Metro advertising, but takes 100% of loss of profit at the Globe.

Bit of blarney from Purcell, perhaps?


MORE (January 27)

Some background filled in by Chris Rowland in a Globe piece.

On the breaking of the story, he says
Although [Rory] O'Connor initially chose not to publish the story last spring, citing concerns about relying on just one on-the-record source [ie John Wilpers], he changed his mind after Times Co. said it would partner with Metro Boston.

The reasoning is pure Mary Mapes: the more topical the story, the laxer the editing!


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