Friday, August 20, 2004

COSMO RISING. There's never a dull moment at One Herald Square these days. Today the Boston Herald promoted its star business columnist, Cosmo Macero Jr., to business editor, replacing veteran Ted Bunker, who's leaving the paper. Longtime staff reporter Eric Convey will be the Herald's assistant business editor, replacing Cromwell Schubarth, who's also leaving.

"I'm thrilled with this opportunity. It's going to be a lot of fun, a lot of work. We are really going to pour high octane in the engine of this department, and just tear ass after all the exciting business news in Boston," Macero told me.

As for specifics, Macero was less clear, except that he obviously wants to find a way to appeal to younger readers. "It's time to move past some of the dinosaurs in this city and look at the next generation of business leaders," he said. "We want to focus on who is behind some of our most noteworthy companies as well as some of our most up-and-coming companies and the industries that make this city tick." He also talked about his desire to "have a little fun in doing it" and bring "a little more pizzazz and splash into our business coverage."

Macero plans to keep writing his column as well, although he said it might appear only once or twice a week instead of the current four.

Macero's rise is likely to be popular inside the newsroom. Says one staff member who asked not to be identified: "The amount of energy he brings to the room is extraordinary. I think he wants us really out there in the community a lot more than we really have been."

Adds managing editor Kevin Convey (who's not related to Eric Convey): "The idea was that we felt that the section needed new leadership and that it needs to go in a different direction." He says, "I think the section needs to be made more relevant to the business of business in Boston," and that it needs "a more lively presentation than had been the practice in the past," and to "select a few major industries and own them."

Both Convey and Macero said the right things about Bunker and Schubarth, with Convey saying they put out "a solid section" and Macero adding that they "set a really high standard." Sources also say that Schubarth was well-liked among the staff. But Macero is almost certain to prove more popular with the troops than Bunker, who'd been the Herald's business editor since 1997, and whose management style had long been the source of internal grumbling.

Macero may also help re-spark the paper's rivalry with the dominant Boston Globe for local business news. "We have a lot of respect for Cosmo," says the Globe's deputy business editor, Bennie DiNardo. "He's a very aggressive columnist, and we look forward to competing with him every day. If he's anything as an editor like he is as a columnist, it should be fun."

Though neither Macero nor Kevin Convey made the analogy, the formula that may be at work here is that of the New York Post. The Post's formula - outrageous sensationalism in its news coverage, a good sports section, and surprisingly smart business coverage - has made it a player in New York, even if it remains a chronic money-loser.

In recent months, the Herald has certainly embraced the outrageous aspects of the Post. In naming Macero to the top business job, the paper may be seeking to emulate some of the Post's better qualities as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

he's a great columnist, and was an animal of a reporter...problem is, herald business is still buried behind 52 pages..and front page looks more and more like US WEEKLY...