By: Jim Rosenberg
The Boston Herald reported Friday that its publisher, Patrick J. Purcell, has held preliminary talks with Dow Jones & Co. about sending the Herald’s printing to the Wall Street Journal publisher’s plant in Chicopee, in western Massachusetts, in anticipation of a possible move from its Herald Square headquarters.
The 201,513-circulation tabloid quoted its publisher saying, “We’re trying to find alternatives to our existing antiquated production system.” The Herald prints at its South Boston Herald Square site on a combination of old Hoe Color Convertible letterpresses and modern KBA Colormax flexo presses.
Purcell told his paper that any plans would be presented to the union representing pressroom staffers.
Purcell, who could not be reached for comment, bought the Herald from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. on Valentine’s Day, 1994, (News Corp. bought the Herald from Hearst 25 years ago for $1 million), allowing Murdoch to reacquire a Boston television station for his Fox network.)
Murdoch has an offer before the family that owns a controlling interest in Dow Jones to buy that company for $5 billion, but the Herald’s print-outsourcing talks are with Dow Jones, not News Corp., Purcell told the Herald. Before buying the Herald, Purcell was its publisher, as well as president of News Corp.’s News America Publishing subsidiary and publisher of the New York Post, which News America Publishing then owned.
When the deal to acquire the Herald was announced, the paper was to lease its headquarters property, making the acquisition affordable, Purcell said at the time.
Purcell now owns the property through his company Boston Herald Realty LLC.
With completion of Boston’s hugely expensive “Big Dig” highway excavation and construction project, the value of the Herald Square property is believed to have increased substantially. The location is adjacent to part of the highway project, at the intersection of Interstates 90 and 93.