Mainstream Media Review: BostonHerald.com

As Bruce is on vacation this week. BSMW will be featuring reviews of some of the websites and content from several Mainstream Media outlets this week.

The Boston Herald is firmly entrenched as the second newspaper in Boston, and despite the financial setbacks common in the newspaper industry these days, has remained a solid spot for Boston sports fans to receive the latest news on their favorite teams.

The Herald’s website has been pretty consistent in its look and feel over the last several years. There is a lot of information, but it is fairly easy to sort through. The BostonHerald.com sports homepage gives you the top stories of the day in the top section, with individual sections for ten other sports below that. A widget in the top right allows you to choose from the most recent sports headlines, or the most popular articles from that day. Below that is a window showing a few of their recently updated blogs.

Navigation is fairly straightforward, each team/sport has a link at the top, and when you go to each sub-page, the recent articles are lined up in the middle column top to bottom, with various widgets (team standings, blog links, top articles, etc) scattered in the sidebars.

In terms of the content, the Herald has shown a willingness to experiment. This season for instance, they have pretty much abandoned the typical “game story” in favor of the “Red Sox Recap” which highlights a number of the top storylines from the game, noteworthy stats, quotes, and a peek at the next game. (Not all that unlike what Jon Couture has been doing the last two seasons over at the Standard Times.)  The Red Sox beat is manned by stalwart Michael Silverman, newcomer Scott Lauber, and the controversial John Tomase. Tomase of course is best-known for the “tape-gate” scandal, details of which don’t need to be rehashed here. To his credit, Tomase has attempted to keep his head down and just do his job since coming on the Red Sox beat, but the fallout from the incident continues to taint his converage in the eyes of many readers, some of whom swore off the Herald forever in the wake of the incident.

Football coverage is handled by veteran Karen Guregian and Ian Rapoport, who joined the paper prior to last season, and immediately proceeded to start filling up his blog The Rap Sheet with everything Patriots related (and sometimes not). He’s been a great hire for them – a top-notch reporter who can also have some fun with his job. He’s been refreshing, as unlike many of his colleagues, he doesn’t take shots, and even when people disagree with him, I’ve never seen him get nasty when interacting with readers on Twitter on in comment sections.

The Celtics and Bruins beats are truly the old guard. That’s not meant as an insult. Between Stephen Harris and Steve Conroy on the Bruins and Steve Bulpett and Mark Murphy on the Celtics, there is about 100 years of Boston Herald experience between the four of them. All of these guys are old-school, solid reporters, who do their jobs under the radar, putting the attention on the teams they cover, rather than themselves. Of the four, Bulpett might make the occasional multi-media appearance, but most of the time, these four are just reporting and commenting on the teams they are assigned to.

Columnists include Steve Buckley and Ron Borges, who are both well known to Boston fans, probably for much different reasons.

The Herald attempts to promote breaking news with a yellow banner at the top of the page. Sometimes the news isn’t always “breaking,” but rather the most recent story. The screenshot above is an example of this. The struggles of Victor Martinez for the first month of the season wasn’t exactly breaking news, but instead, they decided to put the banner up to promote a rather nondescript Scott Lauber article on Martinez’s struggles.

The Herald website hasn’t quite embraced technology the way Boston.com has, videos are less common, chats less frequent, and they don’t really have an internet-only side other than the blogs. The content is generally pretty solid, and if you’re a diehard Boston sports fan, the Herald might not be your first stop in the morning, but it definitely should be on your list to visit sometime during the course of the day.

  • J.R.

    The fact that most of us could not identify Harris, Conroy, and Murphy (and, to a lot lesser degree, Bulpett) in a police lineup speaks positive volumes in my mind how these four guys just consistently go about their business without the need to engage in either the media-whoreishness or look-at-me-I'm-an-"edgy"-contrarian douche bag schtick that — unfortunately — all too often defines today's Boston sports media landscape.

    Well done, gentlemen.

  • Dave

    And I am one of those who won't go back to the Herald because of Tomase. He should be gone.
    Dave in Oregon

  • Lance

    Fact it Rapoport and Guregian have the blog Breer and Gaspar can't (but try) to do. Rapoport updates more frequently than Reiss and does have a lot of fun. If you read his blog you probably know as much about McCourty as Belichick does. I was prepared to not like him – his radio voice is too much like Jane Swift – but his coverage of the Patriots is excellent and proves to lazy media (Hi Mark Farinella) it is possible to compete with Reiss.

  • Jon

    The amusing thing about the Herald is how much they try to make it known that they are more centered towards the Pats, they still have time to put "Belli-cheat" on their front page, print Tomase's Tape Gate drivel, Mazzoratti's moronic stab at guys in Tedy Bruschi jerseys and Howie the Hostage's sophomoric gloating over Brady's leg. Sigh.

  • Glenn

    Yes, Tomase is a deal-breaker. I swore off the Herald and have never looked back.