Thursday, July 15, 2004

CONVEY GETS #2 JOB AT HERALD. One of the most respected editors in Pat Purcell's media mini-empire has been named managing editor of the Boston Herald. Kevin Convey, editor-in-chief of Purcell's Community Newspaper chain, returns to One Herald Square, where for many years he was managing editor for features under former editor Andy Costello.

A Herald source who asked not to be named said Convey's appointment was greeted with "a great sigh of relief, especially in the upper newsroom ranks." However, the source added, staff members have been told "not to expect any changes" to the downscale-tabloid formula that Purcell has been pursuing to one degree or another for the past year-plus.

Convey could not immediately be reached for comment. Several years ago, Purcell dispatched Convey to run Community Newspapers - comprising about 100 papers, most of them weeklies, in Greater Boston and on Cape Cod - shortly after purchasing the chain from Fidelity Capital for a reported $150 million.

In the spring of 2003, Purcell brought in Ken Chandler, a former Herald editor and former New York Post editor and publisher, as a consultant. In an effort to boost sagging circulation and revenues, Chandler began tarting up the product, adding a more explicitly tabloid edge to a paper whose main strengths had been local news, sports, and business.

That trend accelerated this past winter, when Costello was forced out, Chandler was named editorial director, and former Boston Globe columnist Mike Barnicle was brought in. Costello's managing editor, Andrew Gully, left several weeks ago. But Convey's status as a member of the previous ruling troika is sure to play well in a newsroom battered by a raft of departures and worries about the paper's direction and future.

The Herald's press release says in full:

Patrick J. Purcell, president of Herald Media, Inc. announced today the appointment of Kevin R. Convey as managing editor of the Boston Herald. Convey will be responsible for the editorial operation of the Herald, and will report directly to Editorial Director Kenneth A. Chandler.

"This is a job I've been working toward my entire career," said Convey. "I'm thrilled with the opportunity to work with Pat and Ken and the first-class cadre of journalists at the Herald."

Convey began his career at the Boston Herald in 1981 as a business reporter. In 1984, he was appointed assistant managing editor, responsible for the news department. Convey left the Herald for a brief period to become articles editor for Boston Magazine, and returned in 1990 as editor of the Sunday Boston Herald. He was promoted to managing editor for features and Sunday in 1994. Since February of 2001, he has served as editor-in-chief of Herald Media's Community Newspaper Company, overseeing the editorial direction of four suburban dailies, 89 weekly newspapers and numerous specialty publications.

"Kevin's tenacity, integrity and keen sense of our business are second to none. He has dedicated his professional life to journalism, and I am thrilled to give him this opportunity," said Purcell.

Chandler said, "I'm delighted to welcome Kevin aboard. We have been colleagues on and off since 1986 and I know he shares my vision for the future of the Herald."

Convey and his wife, Kathleen, live in Brockton with their two children.

Staff reporter Tom Mashberg, who chairs the Herald editorial unit of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Boston, praises the appointment. "He was a very popular editor the last time through," Mashberg says. "There's a good comfort factor in having him back."

Mashberg adds that he hopes Convey is able to persuade management to increase the size of the reporting and editing staffs.

"There are a lot of intelligent people working at the Herald trying to make it a good paper and keep it alive," Mashberg says.

Convey had a reputation for having the most eclectic interests of the old Costello/Gully/Convey troika. Left to his own devices, he would be a good bet to come up with some creative ways of attracting younger, smarter readers. That's going to be difficult to do in the context of the sensationalized product that Chandler has created.

Still, this is the best news to hit One Herald Square in quite some time.


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