Problems Piling Up at the Boston Globe — Layoffs, Falling Circulation, and Multiple Investigations

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
GoLocalWorcester Business Team

Falling circulation and layoffs hitting the Globe in a good economy
The Boston Globe is getting hit from all angles. This week the Boston Business Journal was first to report that the Globe has made a significant number of layoffs.  Sources tell GoLocal that the number will be more than 20 in total leaving the paper.

While the layoffs hurt, the recent allegations by a former Globe staffer may really undermine the papers stability.

SEE DISCUSSION OF ALLEGATIONS BELOW - Globe Editor Brian McGrory Accused of Sexual Harassment

Allegations of Sexual Harassment

Hilary Sargent is alleging that she was sexually harassed by the Globe’s Editor-in-Chief Brian McGrory.  Under his leadership, the Globe has won a number of Pulitzer Prizes — including for the paper’s coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing. In 2017, owner John Henry dismissed eight of the top executives on the business side.

Sargent, when at the paper, had gotten into hot water a number of times during her tenure as an editor at Boston.com — the sister digital publication to the Boston Globe.

“Boston.com deputy editor Hilary Sargent has been suspended for one week in connection with a T-shirt she designed—and then tweeted about—that mocked a Harvard Business School professor at the center of an ongoing story she was covering…Word is that the suspension isn’t related to an article that Sargent retracted on Wednesday with an acknowledgment that its facts couldn’t be verified. Details weren’t immediately available about whether the suspension comes with pay or not,” wrote Boston Innno in 2014.

She has released to the media a copy of a text message that appears to fall into the category of sexual harassment if it was sent during the period in which she was employed by the Globe. There is no date mark on the text.

Sargent’s allegations pile on top of a now proceeding Globe internal investigation into the work of star columnist Kevin Cullen.

Two key Globe players now being investigated
Cullen Investigation

In April, allegations raised on the WEEI radio show “Kirk & Callahan” against Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen were validated when the paper announced that it was placing him on “paid administrative leave,” pending a thorough examination of his work. Claims pending against Cullen are that some of his work was fabricated.

Cullen, a journalist with The Globe since 1985, and part of its Pulitzer Prize-winning teams of 2003 and 2014, is accused of embellishing and fabricating certain Boston Marathon bombing stories in the wake of the April 15, 2013 carnage.

The Globe’s investigation has yet to be reported.

Falling Circulation

The Globe is seeing some success moving readers to its digital product, but not quick enough. “The Globe's weekday circulation as of the beginning of this year was 120,876, down 9.7 percent from the same time a year earlier and down 15.7 percent from the beginning of 2016. Its Sunday subscribers numbered 213,206, down 8.9 percent from a year prior and down 16.6 percent from the beginning of 2016,” according to Boston Business Journal.

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