2018/2019 Faneuil Hall Marketplace Neighborhood Guide is Now Available!

FHM

The 2018/2019 Faneuil Hall Marketplace Neighborhood Guide is now available and includes all the information you need to visit the historic marketplace including restaurants, pubs, cafes, retail shops, pushcarts, street performers and the world famous Food Colonnade. Hear more from Faneuil Hall Marketing Director Ed Hurley who talks about the new guide with O’Neill and Associates SVP Ann Murphy, on “OA on Air.”

Senior Vice President, Ann Murphy, featured on NECN’s The Take with Sue O’Connell

WebRes_120403_ONeill_AnnMurphy-0085Would having a better gender balance in Congress mean less gridlock? Earlier this month, Ann Murphy, was featured on NECN’s The Take with Sue O’Connell on NECN to discuss the topic of whether electing more women to Congress would reduce legislative stalemate and lead the way to getting more women involved in politics. Ann was joined by Gail Jackson-Blount, president, Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus.

Watch interview here!

A Look Ahead at What Congress is Addressing This Summer

By: AmyClaire Brusch, Vice President

Even as Congress remains divided on many important issues that will dominate the news this summer (health care, budget, homeland security…), there are also areas in which Republicans and Democrats are working together as their constituents expect. The average American only has time for short snippets of news a day which is dominated by these divisive, if important issues. We all know that the level of political discourse has grown more heated, as displayed in the recent violent attack on Members of Congress practicing for a charity ball game. But below the surface, aired on CSPAN for those who may have more time, House and Senate committees have held several hearings and legislative markups this month that are surprisingly devoid of partisan divide.

One such measure passed both houses of Congress with broad support and was signed into law on June 23rd.  The VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act will give the Department of Veterans Affairs more resources to help restructure the department to better serve the needs of our nation’s veterans. All Americans have been upset by the long waits veterans face for health care and the inability to swiftly respond to the need for other services. The public has pressured Congress and recent administrations to better support veterans and public officials have answered the call. There is still more to do for veterans, but the enactment of this bill in the midst of a negative political climate gives one hope that Congress and the administration will continue to make progress on improving VA service.

Another issue that also affects people in every state and of every demographic is access to broadband services. From education and communication to telemedicine and economic development, broadband access is essential to meeting the needs of 21st century Americans. Both the House and Senate have held hearings this month examining the challenges to full nationwide broadband access. Listening to the Senators and Representatives, one was struck by the number of bipartisan bills they referenced to achieve this goal and it was hard to know their political affiliation from their comments and questions.

Similarly, both the House and Senate have been considering reauthorization legislation of the Federal Aviation Administration. There are some controversial issues in these bills, but they do not fall into partisan categories. Instead, there are Republicans and Democrats on both sides of drone policy, privatization of air traffic control, and financing issues to name a few. As I monitored these hearings and then the markups for clients, it was heartening to see a robust debate that lacked partisan edge.

These are just three of the issues Congress is addressing in a bipartisan way this summer. While they may not be as dramatic as the scene of unity on the baseball field, they are a more significant sign that the legislative body is still working. There will be more vigorous debates on top line issues, as there should be. That debate will dominate the national news. For a look deep into the process, sneak a peak at CSPAN every so often to remind yourself that public officials haven’t completely lost their ability to work together.

March Madness: American Health Care Act

“I’m just a bill, sitting here on Capitol Hill..” 

Schoolhouse rock Bill

The American Health Care Act of 2017 was pulled before a probable defeat on the floor of the House of Representatives today. Here’s a recap of its journey.

After months of anticipation and secrecy, the American Health Care Act of 2017 plan was released by House Republicans on March 6th consisting of two bills. One bill was introduced into the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the other to the House Ways and Means Committee.  The bills passed both committees the next day on a party-line vote and without a Congressional Budget Report (CBO) cost analysis.  It wasn’t until March 13th that the CBO released its budget estimates. The CBO report is often used as a tool for debate prior to any votes. On March 16th the bill passed the House Budget Committee with a vote of 19-17.  It’s important to note that three Republicans on that committee joined the Democrats in opposition.  The bill, HR 1628, then went to the House Rules Committee which sets the terms for the final debate when the bill comes to the House floor for a vote.  The committee approved a provision that allows for the “same-day” rule (or often referred to as martial law), essentially allowing the bill to be voted on the same day even as it is still having changes made to it before being voted out of committee.

In contrast to the fast movement of the American Health Care Act, the Affordable Care Act during the Obama Administration underwent months of negotiations, markup, and debate before its final passage.   It was introduced by Speaker Pelosi in July of 2009 and passed in the House November 2009 and was ultimately not signed into law by then President Obama until March 23, 2010.

Here’s a visual recap of its journey:

AHCA HR 1628.png

Greater Media Celebrates 60 Years in Broadcasting

Greater Media 60 Years

Greater Media, Inc. (GMI) will be celebrating its 60th Anniversary in Broadcasting on Thursday, March 31, 2016.

Owned by the Bordes family, the company was originally founded in 1956 by Yale classmates Peter A. Bordes and Joseph Rosenmiller. Greater Media, Inc. is considered to be one of the premiere privately-held broadcast companies in America. GMI’s corporate headquarters are located in Braintree, Massachusetts.

From the ownership of a single radio station in Southbridge, Massachusetts, Greater Media steadily and quietly built a broad-based combination of successful communications companies, spanning America from coast to coast.

By the 1980’s, Greater Media’s business included radio, cable television, printing, publishing, and telecommunications operations. In 1999, the company sold its cable business in order to focus more exclusively on its radio and newspaper operations.

Today, Greater Media is the parent company of 21 AM and FM radio stations in Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, Philadelphia and New Jersey; a group of weekly newspapers in central New Jersey; and several telecommunications towers throughout the United States.

“I am very proud of the achievements of our company over the past 60 years,” said Greater Media Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Peter H. Smyth. “Greater Media is the culmination of Peter Bordes’ life’s work. I am grateful to our incredible employees for their continued dedication in making Greater Media greater on a daily basis over the past six decades. “

Greater Media, Inc. is the parent company of 21 AM and FM radio stations in the Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, New Jersey and Philadelphia markets.  The company also owns a group of weekly newspapers in central New Jersey and several telecommunications towers located throughout the United States.

 

Creating News Deserts

GateHouse Media New England’s closure of its Somerville office is the latest move in a growing newspaper trend: smaller, more corporate, fewer reporters. What does that mean for some of Massachusetts’ largest cities and towns?

Later this year, GateHouse Media New England will close its Somerville office and move reporters and editors for the Cambridge Chronicle & Tab and the Somerville Journal to offices in Lexington and Danvers.

It’s the kind of news that causes more uproar for ink-stained journalists than it does among the larger public. And that’s understandable, because we haven’t lost the newspapers. Ideally, reporters need only a laptop and an internet connection to work remotely from city hall or at a coffee shop downtown.

But the move is emblematic of the direction that many regional newspaper companies in the U.S., including GateHouse, have taken over the years: smaller, more corporate, fewer reporters. In their place, citizen journalism is growing stronger.

And the decision to take local reporters out of their cities will change things.

“Being able to walk through that town means a lot,” said the Boston Business Journal’s David Harris, who edited the Cambridge Chronicle & Tab for six years and broke the story about the Somerville office closure. “It changes the dynamics of what gets covered, whether it’s a business or a person that you run into on the street versus getting a press release via email.”

The Cambridge Chronicle & Tab will move 10 miles away to GateHouse’s downtown Lexington office, which is already home to the Lexington Minuteman, the Belmont Citizen-Herald, the Arlington Advocate and the Winchester Star. The Danvers shop will now be home to the Somerville Journal and more than a dozen other titles, including the Cape Ann Beacon, the Melrose Free Press, and the Newburyport Current.

That makes sense for a corporation that now operates more than 100 newspapers across the Commonwealth. Putting more titles under one roof means fewer offices. Additionally, GateHouse has centralized newspaper design in Austin, Texas, helping them save money on design staff.

But from a “community journalism” standpoint? It is counterintuitive that a national media company, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2013 to buy the Cape Cod Times, the Providence Journal, and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, is pulling money and staff out of Massachusetts’ fifth and twelfth largest cities. Cambridge and Somerville are two of the wealthier and more highly-educated cities in New England and could conceivably sustain more local news. This move is taking place in the middle of a growing economy when other media companies like the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald have taken steps to expand their offerings.

However, moves like these do seem to be working at least at the bottom line. GateHouse’s parent company New Media Investment Group led the newspaper chain to turn a profit for the first time in more than a decade. It’s encouraging to see that a newspaper company that is so important to local journalism in Massachusetts is making money.

But these moves are already transforming journalism in local cities and towns. When Patch and The Boston Globe (through “Your Town”) stopped using local reporters in 2014, their exit left GateHouse weekly newspapers as the sole newspapers of record in some of the state’s largest cities. For some of those cities, like Cambridge, the GateHouse weekly became the main source of municipal news.

Here is how newspapers in some of those cities and towns – home to 500,000 residents – are staffed:

Largest MA cities Population GateHouse news reporters and editors on staff
5. Cambridge 109,694 2
11. Newton 88,287 3
12. Somerville 78,901 2
15. Waltham 63,014 2
17. Malden 60,859 1
18. Brookline 59,334 3
20. Medford 57,437 2

With limited staff, these newspapers rarely make political endorsements and don’t often hold editorial boards. They don’t have columnists to deliver compelling human interest stories or crystallize key city issues. But Harris isn’t ready to declare these cities as news deserts yet.

“There’s a fear that that is happening,” Harris said. “I don’t think we’re completely there yet.”

That’s because residents are doing what they can to launch their own efforts to deliver citizen journalism. In the absence of big Boston newspapers, these citizen journalists are taking up the role of digging into city hall, the local police department, and the business community.

There is also a dedicated team of journalists working for the alternative press, led by DigBoston, the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, and the Bay State Examiner, and they are bulldogs on public records.

But it’s unclear how long local journalism can depend on reporting from part-time citizen journalists. In Cambridge, home to multinational corporations, world-class universities and high profile residents, journalists are vital to providing info on Planning Board approval of a sprawling new development or Google’s appearance before the City Council.

“There are stories that are probably going to slip through and probably have slipped through,” Harris said. “But there are some enterprising reporters out there who will find those great stories no matter what.”


In 2011, CommonWealth Magazine profiled the decline of newspapers, providing print circulation numbers for the state’s largest dailies. Here’s where some of those subscription numbers stand today. GateHouse numbers come from New Media’s latest annual report.

Newspaper Daily subscribers in 2000 Daily subscribers in 2015
Boston Globe 469,878 115,000
Boston Herald 261,017 65,000
Worcester Telegram & Gazette 103,054 46,634
Patriot Ledger 68,387 23,800
Cape Cod Times 50,106 29,750
The Enterprise 41,197 13,314
The Standard-Times 37,151 16,993

Alex Bloom is a director in O’Neill and Associates’ communications practice. Connect with him by email at abloom@oneillandassoc.com and on Twitter at @AlexBloom_05