The Boston Herald will move to a new office in Braintree before the end of the year, the newspaper’s publisher announced in a memo sent to staff Tuesday.
The move comes just over six years after the daily tabloid moved from the South End, where it operated for more than half a century, to the Seaport District.
“We are pleased to announce that the Boston Herald will be moving to a new office located at 100 Grossman Drive, Braintree, MA 02184 in late November, early December,” publisher Kevin Corrado said in the memo.
Corrado could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.
The announcement listed several “benefits of the new office location,” including free parking, easy access to public transportation, and renovated facilities.
Former publisher Patrick J. Purcell sold the Herald for nearly $12 million to Digital First Media, a management company that specializes in newspapers, earlier this year after declaring bankruptcy and putting the newspaper up for auction.
Michael Jonas, the executive editor of CommonWealth magazine, expressed skepticism about the move in a Twitter post.
“Is Braintree where once mighty Boston institutions go to die? First the Archdiocese, now the Herald,” Jonas wrote. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston moved from Brighton to Braintree in 2008 in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse scandal.
But several media observers said it’s common practice for newsrooms to move from city centers to cheaper locations in the suburbs.
Dan Kennedy, a journalism professor at Northeastern University, compared the upcoming move to the Boston Globe’s 1958 relocation from downtown Boston to Dorchester, a move the newspaper reversed when it relocated to State Street last year.
“I’m not sure that this is really that much worse than that,” he said. “I do think it’s going to be a little bit tough for Herald reporters to get around the city if their newsroom is out in Braintree.”
Kennedy said the situation could be worse. Earlier this year, the Sentinel & Enterprise of Fitchburg, which is also owned by Digital First, shuttered its newsroom altogether.
“I guess we should just be glad that they didn’t shut the newsroom entirely and tell everybody to work out of their homes,” he said.
Al Tompkins, a senior faculty member at the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit journalism school based in Florida, said that in the age of cellphones and laptops, reporters can work anywhere.
“Journalists get misty-eyed about their offices,” he said. “Maybe it is because we spend so much time there. But these days the location matters less than it once did.”
Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst at Poynter, said moves to the suburbs are “a very common thing for metro newspapers,” and there is “no particular need to have everyone in one place anymore.”
“I very much doubt it’s a preview of them going out of business in six months,” he said, “because they wouldn’t have put the money out and bought it unless they thought there was a prospect of them turning all that around.”
A Herald reporter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said news of the move followed a recent announcement that staff in the paper’s advertising department would be laid off, and that several veteran reporters have left since the paper was sold and been replaced by younger, less experienced reporters.