David Warsh: Too bad the NYT sold The Globe to Henry


I feel a continuing sadness at the fate of The Boston Globe. I had high hopes that  the New York Times Co., after two decades of maladroit management that saw the value of its investment in New England newspaper decline from around $1.5 billion to $73 million, would sell  the Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette to the group of investors headed by Stephen and Benjamin Taylor, of the family that used to control The Globe. That wasn’t going to change anything I did, but I spent close to 25 years at The Globe and I love the paper and its staff. To have it and the Worcester paper back in knowledgeable local hands would have been deeply reassuring  -- a happy ending to one episode and the promising beginning of another.


Instead,  The Times  sold the papers for cash on the barrelhead to sports magnate John Henry, its former business partner (the company made good money on its minority interest in Henry’s Red Sox). Henry replaced veteran chief executive  and publisher Christopher Mayer, who had restored the paper to a reasonable semblance of its former self, with Mike Sheehan, a Boston advertising executive, and named himself publisher.


One of Henry’s first moves was to hire a prominent reporter from the National Catholic Reporter, based in Kansas City,  Mo., John Allen, to write about the Vatican and Roman Catholic Church.  That’s the job I used to have, except I covered economics, and more than just one sect of it!.  Much as I appreciate the style of Allen’s reporting, the sheer shallowness of the paper’s play to regain readers lost during the New York ascendency irritates the hell out of me. But my moving to the Web in 2002 was the right decision and I am more than grateful to subscribers for keeping me here ever since.

David Warsh, an economic historian, is a longtime financial journalist and proprietor of economic principals.com.




david warsh