Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Shake-up at the Herald. Ken Chandler is up and Andy Costello is down. But apparently no one is leaving. The Boston Herald just sent out an announcement that former editor Chandler, who returned last spring after several years as publisher of the New York Post, has been named editorial director of the Herald and its Community Newspaper chain of papers in Greater Boston and on Cape Cod. Costello is out as editor after nearly 10 years at the top of the masthead, but he's staying with the company.

Here's the full announcement:

Patrick J. Purcell, president of Herald Media, Inc. announced today the appointment of Kenneth A. Chandler as Editorial Director of all Herald Media publications. Chandler will be responsible for the overall editorial operations of the Boston Herald and the Community Newspaper Company's five daily, 89 weekly and 21 specialty publications.

Andrew F. Costello announced his resignation as Editor-in-Chief, effective today. Costello has been with the newspaper in various editorial capacities since 1983, and was named Editor in April of 1994. He is exploring other opportunities within the company.

"Andy has been a tremendous asset to the newspaper, and we were fortunate to have him at the helm for the last ten years. His competitiveness, dedication and work ethic are unparalleled. Andy is the consummate news professional," said Purcell.

Costello said, "It has been an honor to serve as editor for the past ten years. My heartfelt thanks to a very dedicated and talented staff. I know they will continue to produce one of the finest newspapers in the country."

Chandler was editor of the Boston Herald from 1986 to 1992. After that, he became Editor-in-Chief and later Publisher of the New York Post. He has since served as a consultant to Patrick Purcell.

Chandler is married to Erika Schwartz, M.D., a nationally-known women's health expert and author. They have five children.

Costello's possible departure has been a matter of internal and external gossip since last spring, when Purcell brought Chandler back to the paper and went with a tarted-up product featuring more gossip and lots of cleavage. Costello - a hard-news guy who used to work for the New Bedford Standard-Times - couldn't have liked the changes. It's to Purcell's credit that he is apparently going to take care of Costello, who is a good guy.

It's been a rough year for the Herald, which has been beset by declining circulation and sliding ad revenues. The move toward flash and trash was not well received in the newsroom, yet staff members have said that they recognize the survival of the paper is at stake (see "Tabzilla Returns," June 20, 2003).

In November, the paper eliminated 19 positions. Well-known columnists such as Wayne Woodlief and Monica Collins were cut from the payroll, although they continue to write on a freelance basis (see "Media," This Just In, November 21, 2003).

The next big question: who will replace Costello as editor? Presumably Chandler doesn't want the job himself, yet it's equally safe to assume that Purcell doesn't want to pay the money that would be necessary to bring in a heavy hitter.

Which leaves the folks at One Herald Square pretty much where they've been for the past year: waiting for another shoe to drop.

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