Hippo Manchester
August 4, 2005


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The ULís bully tactics
by Jeff Rapsis

This weekís topic is not one we take a lot of pleasure bringing to your attention. But it really needs to be brought to light.

For the past few years, our colleagues at the New Hampshire Union Leader have been playing a little game. Itís not a very nice game, and hereís how it goes.

Say youíre organizing a big event, such as the cityís annual Jazz & Blues Festival or the upcoming Mill City Festival. Naturally, youíre hoping for media coverage to get the word out.

So you go to the Hippo. Weíre glad to do whatever we can to promote things that are good for Manchester or the area, and weíll often partner with organizers to help get the word out.

Now you go to the Union Leader and that paperís management tells you that if you or your event have anything to do with the Hippo, you wonít get any support or promotion from the Union Leader, the Manchester Mirror or any other of the ULís other papers.

Sounds incredible, right? But the fact is, the ULís management has repeatedly tried to pull this stunt.

Several years ago, for example, the Union Leader told organizers of the Jazz & Blues Festival that the paper would neither support nor cover the event if the Hippo was involved.

The festivalís organizers told UL to take a hike and to take its schoolyard-bully tactics with it. The UL backed down and weíve both been sponsors of the festival for the past three years.

More recently, planners of the upcoming Mill City Festival were told by the Union Leader that the paper would not support or promote the event if the Hippo was involved.

The Mill City Fest is an event thatís good for Manchester, so youíd think the UL would eagerly support it just because of that. Instead, the paperís management is using the group as a pawn in some imaginary zero-sum media war game.

What is the Union Leader afraid of? Itís true that we compete for business, but weíre happy to have the UL join us in promoting events that are good for Manchester or the region.

Instead, itís too bad for Manchester, the paperís home city, that the folks who run the Union Leader apparently never learned a lesson that most of us picked up years ago on the school playground ó that nobody likes a bully.

Letís hope this childish behavior stops. And to any groups faced with the ULís tactics, hereís an interesting fact: Hippo now reaches more readers in Manchester than the Union Leader does.

Yes, thatís a fact. So, if you really want to know the truth, thatís what the Union Leader is afraid of.