Downward spiral for news media: Boston Herald latest to declare bankruptcy

A colossus of the old media world has called it quits.

The Boston Herald has filed for bankruptcy and is being sold to Gateway Media, CBS Boston reported.

The newspaper filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday in Delaware. Its publisher, Patrick Purcell, said the sale is subject to court approval and did not disclose the sale price.

Purcell has been the publisher of the Herald since 1984 and he purchased the Herald from Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch in 1994.

“I am very proud of the spectacular management team with whom I have worked hand in hand over the years. And I am equally as proud of the excellent staff in all areas of our company who have worked tirelessly to make the Boston Herald a relevant and respected provider of local and regional news for Boston and the area,” Purcell wrote in a letter to employees.

“Boston is a better city for the Herald’s unique and fearless local reporting. Because of all of you, we are well known for our influential political, community, business and sports coverage across the region and beyond,” he said.

The Herald cited the rise of digital media, along with “pension and retirement liabilities” as reasons for the bankruptcy and sale.

At its peak in 2000, the Herald had 900 employees and today has 240.

Meanwhile, old media has been taking some tremendous journalistic hits recently.

Last week ABC News inaccurately reported that President Donald Trump had instructed Gen. Mike Flynn to contact the Russians during the presidential campaign. It later had to apologize and correct the record by reporting that the order came after Trump had been elected president.

This week CNN reported that Donald Trump Jr. was given access to WikiLeaks documents detrimental to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign before they became distributed to the world. Later the network corrected itself by explaining that WikiLeaks emailed a link to the documents after they were released worldwide.

Those two stories followed reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was resigning two weeks ago. Those reports were denied by Tillerson in an excoriating statement to the media on Wednesday during a press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

“This is a narrative that keeps coming up about every six weeks,” Tillerson responded. “And I would say you all need to get some new sources because your story keeps being wrong.”

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Carmine Sabia

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