MEDIA: The Boston Globe strives for better business - The Boston Globe is the most-read newspaper in New England and among the top 15 US dailies. And now, its business section has a stronger commitment to reporting on technology and personal finance. Rebe

When The Boston Globe got its start in the early 1870s, the aim of founder Charles Taylor was to ’dwell on the virtues of men and institutions rather than upon their faults and limitations.’

When The Boston Globe got its start in the early 1870s, the aim of founder Charles Taylor was to ’dwell on the virtues of men and institutions rather than upon their faults and limitations.’

When The Boston Globe got its start in the early 1870s, the aim of

founder Charles Taylor was to ’dwell on the virtues of men and

institutions rather than upon their faults and limitations.’



A lot has changed since those days. The Globe of today has a more

critical eye and is a lot less friendly, according to some PR pros. But

perhaps that’s the key to the paper’s success. Last year, the Globe,

which is owned by The New York Times Co., was among four big-circulation

papers named ’Best in Business’ for overall excellence by the Society of

American Business Editors and Writers (the others were The Dallas

Morning News, Los Angeles Times and USA Today).



’Our goal is to be one of the best, if not the best, regional newspaper

sections,’ says senior assistant business editor Bennie DiNardo. ’We

want to be the authoritative source on business in New England, and

cover national and international issues that are of importance to our

readers.’





A deserved reputation



This reputation is one reason pros clamor to place stories in the

Globe.



For example, a positive story from cynical-yet-influential hi-tech

reporter Hiawatha Bray can go a long way in establishing credibility for

a company or product.



With 25 staff reporters, the Globe’s business section is led by longtime

Globe reporter - and now business editor - Peter Mancusi, who joined the

staff in 1979, left for several years to practice law and returned in

March 1998 as deputy business editor. As part of a major reshuffling of

12 editors, in February 1999, Mancusi and DiNardo (who has been with the

paper seven-and-a-half years, formerly as an assistant editor at its

magazine) stepped into their current positions.



The changes were meant to reinvigorate the paper at a time when it, like

most papers in the US, was suffering from declining circulation.

According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, in March 1999, the

Globe’s average weekly circulation fell 0.7%, or 3,357 copies, from the

same period in 1998, to 469,311. Sunday circulation fell 18,306 copies,

or 2.4%, to 730,420.



Today, the Globe is moving once again in the right direction. Its daily

circulation is currently 472,000, for a readership of 1.4 million

adults, with a Sunday circulation of 751,000, for a readership of 2.2

million adults.



In addition to the staff changes, the Globe opened a news bureau in

Silicon Valley in December to cover technology companies, led by bureau

chief Alex Pham. The paper also upped its concentration on personal

finance and technology earlier this month with the addition of two

special sections, ’Money Matters’ and ’Technology and Innovation.’ These

moves have PR pros buzzing with excitement and are touted as long

overdue; one pro describes the Globe’s previous hi-tech coverage as

’appalling.’



DiNardo says that at least half the business section now deals with

technology issues. With such expanded coverage, The Globe is attempting

to move away from company-specific news to broader issues and themes.

This may mean that pros will have an even tougher time pitching the

paper.



Weekly sections, such as technology on Monday, real estate on Saturday

and Sunday and personal finance on Sunday, are planned a week or two in

advance. For daily news, the best time to pitch is around nine or 10 in

the morning, as reporters are straggling into the office.



DiNardo advises against sending pitches to the general business e-mail

address, adding that the general fax is the better route. ’Try to save

e-mails for correspondence with folks that is not unsolicited,’ says

DiNardo.



However, he says it’s best for pros to contact reporters before pitching

to determine how they like to receive information.



Upon request, the Globe’s PR department will provide a list of each

reporter, beat and direct phone number, selected e-mail addresses and

information on sending press releases and photos (call the PR department

at (617) 929-3288).



DiNardo says that good pitches rarely come from cold calls. ’Good

pitches come from people who have built a relationship with me, are

trustworthy and only bring something to my attention if they feel it’s

something I needed to know,’ says DiNardo, adding that pros should pitch

beat reporters, rather than contacting him.



This is an attitude that seems to be shared by most Globe reporters.



’I know they rely on relationships,’ says Michael Prichinello, senior

account executive at RLM Public Relations. ’If you know the reporter and

do your research, your success goes up a lot.’





The perfect pitch



When Prichinello pitched Internet convenience store Kozmo.com (see

Campaigns, p40) to retail/advertising reporter Chris Reidy, he

researched recent articles by Reidy, sent an e-mail relating his pitch

to an article Reidy had written on dot-coms connecting to customers and

suggested that the next trend was e-commerce outfits trying to better

the customer experience with instant gratification. Prichinello

suggested a lunch meeting and offered the print exclusive to Reidy, who

took him up on the offer and wrote a feature on the company.



Several pros complain that after they send a pitch, Globe reporters,

with some exceptions, do not provide feedback. One pro also says that

the staff of The Wall Street Journal’s New England edition is more

accessible and more blunt in assessing a pitch.



According to Mark O’Toole, account management supervisor at The Castle

Group, when the Globe made its personnel shifts, it conducted outreach

to the PR community by hosting an event in the Globe’s newsroom. ’When

you walked out of there, you probably thought it would be a brand new

Globe,’ says O’Toole. ’They said that they want to work with PR people,

and maybe their intentions were good, but that hasn’t necessarily

entailed getting back to people.’



The paper generally does not accept photos, with the exception of color

headshots of people interviewed, which should be sent via e-mail.

Regarding exclusives, DiNardo says that it generally raises the chance

for better play, but the paper never promises placement in return for an

exclusive.



While the paper does not like embargoes, DiNardo says it does honor

them.



But if another paper breaks the embargo, all bets are off.





CONTACT LIST



The Boston Globe



135 Morrissey Boulevard



Boston, MA 02125



Globe business tel: (617) 929-3000



Globe business fax: (617) 929-3183



Globe business e-mail: business@globe.com



Reporter e-mails: lastname@globe.com (some follow different format)



Web: www.boston.com



Business editor: Peter Mancusi



Senior assistant business editor: Bennie DiNardo



Senior assistant business editor/real estate: Ron Hutson



Assistant business editors: Cheryl Appel, Maria Shao



Assistant business editor (technology): Rob Weisman



Reporting staff:



Aviation: Matthew Brelis



Banking/insurance: Lynnley Browning, Kim Blanton



Computers/hi-tech: Hiawatha Bray



E-commerce: Stephanie Stoughton



Emerging business/biotech/telecom: Ron Rosenberg



Energy/telecommunications: Peter Howe



Financial services: Lynnley Browning



General business/economics: Kim Blanton



Healthcare: Liz Kowalczyk



Investigations/legal: Steve Wilmsen



Personal finance: Dolores Kong



Real estate (residential): Bruce Butterfield



Real estate (commercial): Dick Kindleberger



Retail/advertising: Chris Reidy



Sports business: Gregg Krupa



Technology: Ross Kerber



Venture capital: Beth Healy



Workplace/labor: Diane Lewis



Columnists: David Warsh, Steve Bailey



Personal finance columnists: Chuck Jaffee, Susan Trausch



’Boston Capital’ (Tues.-Fri.): Steve Syre, Charles Stein



Washington, DC: Aaron Zitner



Promotions column: Dave Gillis



Silicon Valley (hi-tech): Alex Pham.



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