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Pat Purcell's mysterious new job

The Boston Herald reports that owner/publisher Pat Purcell has a new gig as executive chairman of the News Corp.-owned Ottaway Newspapers. This is a big job; in the words of the Herald's Frank Quaratiello, Purcell "will be responsible for the eight Ottaway daily newspapers, 15 weekly newspapers, magazines and Internet sites."

As they say in my home state, Uff da. But here's the big question: what does Purcell's decision to accept this role mean, exactly? Might it portend the future purchase of the Herald by News Corp. and Rupert Murdoch, as Universal Hub's Adam Gaffin suggests? Or is it, instead, a sign that Purcell's interest in/dedication to the Herald is ebbing, and that he's laying the groundwork for the next stage of his career?

One point worth considering: in the Herald write-up, Quaratiello talks of Ottaway's Massachusetts papers "work[ing] more closely with the Herald in the future." Such collaboration wouldn't require shared ownership. But it could make things easier.

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