Worcester is Wondering When John Henry Will Visit His Other Newspaper

The community has called for him to address his second recent purchase, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

Is John Henry purposefully ignoring his newly acquired newspaper, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette? They’re getting really antsy to know out there.

Henry got the paper along with The Boston Globe when he purchased the New England Media Group from the New York Times Co. last month. He promised a hands-off approach when it came to the Globe’s editorial matters, particularly their coverage of the Red Sox. No one is doubting that the hands-off strategy will apply equally, if not more, to the Telegram & Gazette.

That’s because Henry made no mention of his other newspaper in a long column addressed to Globe readers last month. And though he some much publicized (on Twitter anyway) visits to the Globe’s newsroom, he has yet to visit the Telegram & Gazette offices. This hasn’t escaped the staff’s notice.

The matter got more attention when 25 state legislators signed a letter asking Henry to stop on by his new property this week. The letter read, in part:

… we feel it is important for you to visit the Telegram offices and communicate with its staff your vision for our award-winning regional newspaper. We are confident that upon doing so you will quickly realize what an asset the Telegram is.

It seems notable that state legislators would intervene in a private business and offer its owner advice on how to run his company, so the Boston Business Journal asked the Boston Globe editor why his paper hadn’t reported on the letter. It’s “hardly news to the Globe’s readership,” editor Brian McGrory told him, though he promised to jump in if it ever became newsworthy.

So with still no word from their new owner, the Telegram & Gazette continues to try to make itself attractive to him. Columnist Albert B. Southwick’s wrote a long piece in Thursday’s paper proving to Henry that Worcester is a worthy, culturally-rich place and he should want to visit. “The Heart of the Commonwealth welcomes a visit from Mr. Henry. Any time, any place,” he writes (though probably not “any place” so much as “the offices of the Telegram & Gazette,” right? I mean, don’t visit Worcester and still not introduce yourself to your new minions. That’d really annoy them.)

Southwick’s column gets at a question: Is there some reason other than “I’m busy” behind Henry’s scarcity? Southwick operates is if Henry is motivated by an innate disdain for the city of Worcester. That’s probably not it? But did Henry just forget in the heat of the World Series that he’d bought a second newspaper? Bad memories from that time the Telegram & Gazette‘s outstanding lawsuit held up his purchase of the Globe?

Or, more realistically, is he doing this on purpose because he has some larger plan? Media observer Dan Kennedy writes on his blog that the silence “strikes me as deliberate and potentially significant. It wouldn’t surprise me if he announced something soon—possibly a sale to local owners.”

Maybe so, but for their sake, keep them in the loop so they don’t have to keep reciting Worcester Tourism Bureau pamphlets.