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Old 04-04-2009, 02:09 AM   #1
czsz
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Boston Globe on brink of closure

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Times Co. Said to Consider Closing Boston Globe

By RICHARD P?REZ-PE?A
Published: April 3, 2009

The New York Times Company has threatened to close The Boston Globe unless labor unions agree to concessions like pay cuts and the cessation of pension contributions, according to a person briefed on the talks.

The company is looking for $20 million in savings from The Globe, which has already gone through several rounds of deep cost-cutting and staff reductions. The company does not report figures by newspaper, but executives have acknowledged that the Globe lost tens of millions of dollars last year.

The threat to close The Globe was first reported by The Globe on Friday evening on its Web site, Boston.com. The site quoted the leaders of two of the unions describing a meeting Thursday at which the company delivered the ultimatum.

It quoted an unnamed person saying that in the meeting, management said that without the concessions, The Globe would lose $85 million in 2009.

The Times Company chairman, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., and Catherine J. Mathis, chief spokeswoman for the company, each declined to comment or confirm the article.

The company paid $1.1 billion for The Globe in 1993, the highest price ever paid for a single American newspaper, and it was highly profitable through that decade. But in recent years, the erosion of advertising and newspaper circulation has been more severe in the Boston area than in most of the country.

Advertising revenue for the industry fell 16.6 percent in 2008, according to the Newspaper Association of America.

The Times Company also wants to end a provision in The Globe?s contracts that gives certain employees lifetime job guarantees.

The company recently revealed that it was asking most of its employees, including the bulk of those at the flagship New York Times newspaper, to take a 5 percent pay cut for the remainder of this year. The company has recently scrambled to borrow money and sell assets to raise cash to weather the downturn.

The Globe last year reported weekday circulation of 324,000, the 14th highest in the country, and Sunday circulation of 504,000, the 11th highest.
Sit back and imagine the Herald as this city's only newspaper...
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:46 AM   #2
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

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...in recent years, the erosion of advertising and newspaper circulation has been more severe in the Boston area than in most of the country.
Why? Higher than average internet usage?
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Old 04-04-2009, 06:43 PM   #3
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

Why pay for yesterday's news? The only service I see the Globe providing these days is keeping 700+ people off the dole(for now).
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Old 04-04-2009, 06:55 PM   #4
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

One of those people is Bob Campbell.
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:17 PM   #5
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

Well then, I'm going to buy 100 subscriptions right now. That puts it all in perspective. We must save the Globe so the masses can read Robert Campbell's once-a-week hit or miss architectural critique. The problem is the rest of the paper, what matters to most people, is a complete train wreck.
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:39 PM   #6
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

I think Campbell is a freelance correspondent, not an employee. That Globe column isn't his day job.
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:47 PM   #7
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

Well then, let it sink.
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:57 PM   #8
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

Unbelievable how blithe some people are about the death of newspapers. 99% of blog posts are just commentary on newspaper articles. And there are still quite a few good ones produced by the Globe. Before the Times Co. gutted it, there was high quality international correspondence, and there's still some original and informative stuff going in the Ideas section. I would hate to see local issues left up to the Herald.

If White Knight New Englanders wind up swooping in to save the Globe from the Times (and, preferably, from profit-margin journalism), this threat may wind up having been a good thing. If the Globe dies, a bunch of Bosotn's prestige dies with it, even if it's not one of the country's best papers anymore. The Herald represents the Boston of tribal neighborhoods and NIMBYs - it has a supreme provincial cattiness that's appropriate for a tabloid, but not a paper of record. The Globe has a distinguished pedigree, an elegant look, and announces through its very name that Boston is a city that cares about the world.
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Old 04-04-2009, 08:24 PM   #9
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

Look through this forum. Count the Globe stories. Count the responses to those stories and conversations those stories spur. Now try to imagine this place without them.
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Old 04-04-2009, 08:40 PM   #10
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

Boston without the Globe would be exactly like New York without the Times.
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Old 04-04-2009, 08:46 PM   #11
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

All that will be left is the Herald... *shudder*
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Old 04-04-2009, 09:14 PM   #12
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

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Threat to Globe triggers flood of feelings
Many worry, a few shrug, but most adamant that the city needs its major daily newspaper

Marcus Weiss of Newton stared in shock yesterday at the newspaper that has landed on his doorstep every day for 30 years. In Woburn, Ollie Gonsalves wondered who would stick up for the "little guy." In Cambridge, Mike Spartichino shrugged indifferently and rushed home with a box of doughnuts.

Yesterday, the region confronted the possibility that The Boston Globe might cease to exist, after publishing daily for more than a century. News that The New York Times Co. might shut down the biggest newspaper in New England if its unions don't swiftly agree to $20 million in cuts sent a shockwave throughout Greater Boston, sparking an outcry from corners as disparate as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Johnny's Luncheonette in Newton Centre, and voices ranging from US Senator John F. Kerry to Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band. To some readers, such a loss seemed unimaginable, but others said the transformation from paper to the Internet is inevitable.

Losing the Globe is more than the shuttering of a company, readers said. It would be, they said, the loss of something essential to Massachusetts' very sense of itself - and one of the few forces for public accountability in the region. They recalled stories exposing corruption and waste in government and other institutions, and stories giving voice to those who otherwise would have no power at all.

"To someone like me who's very involved in civic life in the communities, it's unimaginable," said Paul S. Grogan, president of the Boston Foundation, calling the Globe the "civic glue" that keeps the public together.

"Almost every leader in Boston - in the public sector, the private sector, and the nonprofit sector - reads The Boston Globe every day. It gives the community a shared sense of what the issues are, what the challenges are. . . . I just don't see that being replaced."

Some were especially irked that the warning was coming from New York. The New York Times Co., facing its own cash crunch, is unwilling to support further losses at its Boston outlet.

"New York again," growled Daniel Doyle, 70, of Somerville, as he stood outside Verna's Donuts in Cambridge, where counter staff wear T-shirts saying "still here!" because it, too, nearly closed a couple of years ago. "I didn't even know they owned the Globe. If you took the paper away and I can't read my sports, what am I getting up in the morning for?"

Critics of the Globe, especially in anonymous comments posted on the newspaper's website, said the newspaper was falling victim to turbulent economic times as well as its own "liberal bias," though they did not provide specific examples. Some complained about ink stains; others about perfumed inserts in the newspaper. Still others raised deeper concerns about customer service.

Others said they did not have time to read the Globe, or preferred to read it for free online.

"I don't really read the Globe," said Spartichino, 20, of Arlington, an electrician who prefers to watch TV news with his mother at dinnertime. "It's too big. I have to work and all that."

Still, the possibility that the newspaper could fold dominated the conversation at diners, in coffee shops, and on street corners.

At Breads 'n Bits of Ireland, a breakfast spot in downtown Melrose, the topic bounced from table to table in the cozy dining room.

"It'd be a tragedy if the Globe were to close," said Steven Locke, 45, a Melrose lawyer and father of two boys, who once was a Globe paperboy in Newton.

"Could you imagine our kids going through life not knowing what a paper is?" said his wife, Suzanne, who teaches at a Cambridge private school.

Still, the Lockes admitted, they don't get the paper every day. Mornings are consumed with getting the boys ready for school and rushing off to work, where Steven Locke reads Boston.com, the Globe website.

"I'd pay five cents an article online," he offered.

Nearby, Jean Gorman spoke up for the print edition. "I want my newspaper in my hand," said Gorman, an office manager for a real estate firm. "I want a real paper."

From the next table, Eric Wildman chimed in, calling the Globe a "victim" of the success of its free website. He used to subscribe daily but now pays only for the Sunday edition.

"Nobody has time in the morning anymore to get up and read the paper," said Wildman, 33, a human resources manager who learned about the possible closing of the Globe on the political blog BlueMassGroup.

John Cinella, a 69-year-old lawyer who rises at 5:30 a.m. to read the paper, said he cherishes his daily paper, and a stack of memorable editions.

"I've got Globes from the great fire, all the Red Sox victories, the Patriots'," said Cinella, whose three boys all once delivered the paper.

Fifth-grader Connor Locke piped up. "When Obama won, we saved the newspaper," the 11-year-old said. "And when Papi hit the 52 home runs, I framed that and I have it hanging on my wall."

His mother beamed.

"Can't frame the computer screen," she said.

For the most devoted readers, the thought of losing the Globe was like trying to imagine the loss of an old friend.

"Any day I don't have my Globe I really feel out of sorts," said Weiss, a lawyer who read a Celtics article over a breakfast of French toast at Johnny's Luncheonette in Newton. "It's such an important way of living my life and starting my day."

At the opening of the Grove Hall branch library yesterday, Jeannette Sisco of Mattapan counted the ways the Globe has touched her life. The longtime school librarian posts stories about her students on a "Wall of Fame" at the West Roxbury Education Complex. She mails articles to relatives around the country. She used to lead a "Friday night ritual" clipping coupons for three elderly uncles, all former Pullman railroad porters from the South End.

"It's a wonderful source of freebie-weebies in the city," said Sisco. "Every single day I look for book talks and artistic activities that can be engaged in for F-R-E-E. It's going to be a real loss in these tough economic times."

At the VIP convenience store on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Harish Chopra, the 30-year-old owner, said reading the Globe helped him learn English when he moved here from India more than a decade ago. Now fluent, he says he makes sure the Globe is the first newspaper shoppers see when they walk into the store.

"Top shelf," he said with a smile.

In Woburn every morning, retired maintenance man Ollie Gonsalves rises, gels back his hair, and heads to the Moore & Parker newsstand to buy his daily Globe. The clerks at the 115-year-old newsstand and smoke shop always save him a copy if the stack dwindles.

"The Globes run out quick here," said Gonsalves, 80.

Gonsalves said he likes the editorial page, which he said stands up for people like him: "I'm a little guy."

Harry McDonough III, another Woburn native, didn't share that view - but wanted to hold fast to his Globe just the same.

"I'll tell you what, I'm a meat-eating, God-fearing, gun-toting, right-wing conservative white male and proud to be that way," said McDonough, a 41-year-old hardware store manager. "But I do read the Globe to see how the other side thinks. That's important. Knowledge is power."

But others say they get along fine without the paper itself, for their own reasons.

Christine Pratt-Purvis, a 44-year-old cosmetologist of Roxbury, said she used to read the Globe every morning on the subway to work, giggling over the comics pages. But when she lost her job a year ago, Pratt-Purvis said the print edition suddenly felt like an extravagance.

Yesterday, government officials and community leaders - from the arts to government agencies - called on the Globe and The New York Times Co. to save the newspaper.

"The thought of losing this newspaper is deeply disturbing," blogged Paul Levy, CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "It is the major source for investigative journalism that keeps the government, corporations, and, yes, nonprofits, honest and accountable. We simply cannot afford not to have it."

"It's difficult to imagine Massachusetts without the Globe and I'm not going to even try," said Kerry. "The history of the Globe is punctuated by courageous investigative journalism and a soul and conscience that helped propel and sustain the causes of civil rights and peace during tumultuous years in our city."

"Even the bloggers will say no one else has had the resources to see all the different parts of Greater Boston and to look in depth," said Joel Barrera, deputy director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, a regional planning agency for Greater Boston.

James Taylor, the legendary singer-songwriter from Massachusetts who subscribes to the Globe, said he is a major supporter of unions but hoped that all sides would find a way to save the newspaper.

"They must find a way to negotiate some way to continue," Taylor said. "The New England point of view, a seriously intellectual point of view, is something I can't imagine going away."

News of the Globe's possible closure hit hard in the arts community, where the paper's coverage has been credited with helping fill theaters and concert halls and turning new institutions such as the Institute of Contemporary Art into a major attraction on the waterfront.

Peter Wolf, the front man for the J. Geils Band, said losing the Globe would destroy readers' connection to the region.

"I can't say it starts my morning but it starts my afternoon and it's an old friend," he said. "Unfortunately people don't get the impact till after it's done. And when it's gone, it's gone for good."
http://www.boston.com/ae/media/artic...d_of_feelings/
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Old 04-04-2009, 09:19 PM   #13
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

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Union employees open to concessions, but demand management cuts as well

Some Boston Globe union workers were stunned to learn of the newspaper's threatened shutdown. To others, it was not a complete surprise, given the industry's mounting troubles. Some viewed it as a negotiating ploy, others as a serious threat.

But all of those interviewed said they're willing to accept pay cuts and other concessions to save New England's largest newspaper - as long as executives and managers make the same sacrifices.

"If management is willing to lead us, to take pay cuts and concessions, I'm sure the union would be willing," said Bob Sullivan, 56, who has worked as a mailer for 38 years. "We all want to keep our jobs. We all want to keep the Globe publishing."

The Globe's owner, The New York Times Co., last week threatened to quickly shutter the money-losing newspaper unless its 13 unions swiftly agree to $20 million in concessions, including pay cuts, reduced company contributions to retirement and healthcare, and the elimination of lifetime job guarantees now enjoyed by some 430 workers, according to union officials and other people familiar with the matter. Management told union leaders last week that without serious cutbacks, the Globe is projected to lose $85 million this year, following a $50 million loss in 2008, according to a Globe employee who was briefed on the discussion.

The Globe and newspapers across the country have been hard hit by the recession, accelerating declines that began years ago as readers and advertisers migrated to the Internet.

The concessions will be negotiated separately with each union, according to union officials. Globe management will meet with individual unions next week to detail the concessions they are seeking from each one, said Ralph Giallanella, secretary treasurer of Teamsters Local 259, which represents about 200 drivers who deliver the newspaper.

The Globe has about 1,400 union employees. The Boston Newspaper Guild is the largest, representing more than 700 editorial, advertising, and business office employees. It's unclear how swiftly the unions will need to reach an agreement to prevent closing the Globe, but one union leader has said concessions need to be made within 30 days.

The Globe just last week completed cutting 50 jobs in its newsroom through buyouts and layoffs. Jenifer McKim, a business reporter who joined the paper in August, said she was just breathing easier after surviving the last round of job cuts. Now, she said, the situation is "bigger and sadder."

"Last week I was worrying about me, but now it's not just my job, but this great paper," said McKim, 42, who grew up in Brookline. "I've been reading it since I was a little girl, and I always wanted to work for the Globe."

McKim, who worked for the Orange County Register in Southern California before joining the Globe, said she supports making concessions. "We have to change," she said. "I want to be part of the transition to multimedia. I imagine we'll always be telling stories and a watchdog in the community."

Patricia Wen, a health and science reporter at the Globe for 23 years, agreed that concessions need to be made. Wen, 50, who is one of the employees with a guaranteed job, said she's not sure how serious the shutdown threat is, "but it's scary."

Union workers said management must share in the pain. Many have already gone years without raises in the face of continued declines in revenues.

Dan Pushee, 56, a machinist for 30 years, said executives have received bonuses even as workers have been laid off.

"We'll give back," Pushee said, "but they've got to give back their bonuses and take pay cuts."

Spokesmen for the Globe and Times Co. declined to comment yesterday.

Several managers who declined to be named because they are not authorized to speak publicly said they are willing to make more sacrifices to preserve the paper. In fact, they fully expect the Times Co. to impose more cuts on management's pay and benefits. Last week the Times Co. instituted a temporary 5 percent pay cut for nonunion managers at the Globe and other Times Co. properties. In January the company cut pension benefits for existing nonunion managers, and managers hired after Jan. 1 no longer receive a pension plan but rather an enhanced 401(k). And last month, the company eliminated retiree health benefits for nonunion employees.

James McLaughlin, a mailer for 38 years, said workers have been making concessions for years, giving up raises and paying more for healthcare. Last year the pressmen and union drivers agreed to concessions that saved about $10 million, including a 5 percent wage cut, according to a person familiar with the matter.

"It's tough," said McLaughlin, 58. "We never thought we'd have to worry about the demise of the newspaper. We've given up so much. I think I can give a little more."
http://www.boston.com/ae/media/artic..._cuts_as_well/
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:19 AM   #14
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

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Originally Posted by kmp1284 View Post
Why pay for yesterday's news?
Where are you getting today's local news from? 4, 5 & 7? Ugh.

Bostonist? (Current top headline: International Pillow Fight Day)

Universal Hub? (Dance battle at North Station - with video!)

You realize that if the Boston Globe goes, boston.com probably goes with it. And I haven't found a better source for up-to-date local news than that site.
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Old 04-05-2009, 10:48 AM   #15
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

Some folks are just curmudgeons.
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:36 PM   #16
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

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You realize that if the Boston Globe goes, boston.com probably goes with it.
If only we could jettison boston.com without losing the Globe...
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:57 PM   #17
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

Why? It's not perfect but it's not too bad. Hell, The Big Picture alone makes it invaluable.
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Old 04-05-2009, 01:17 PM   #18
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

I've been going on the south end house tour and to open houses in the south end and sometimes back bay for about 15 years. I've always been shocked that only once did I see a Boston newspaper. I commented on that and the broker told me they had just moved here from Concord. I saw no shortage of new york times in these units. New residents seem to have no conection to the city and that is a very bad thing for the city.
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Old 04-05-2009, 01:51 PM   #19
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

I love The Big Picture, but most of the site is cheesy as hell. It would at least be nice for the Globe to have a slightly more independent looking page.

I once applied with a position at boston.com as a roving street interviewer. They asked me what I would ask people and I trotted out a list of controversial topics of the day. They came back and said "we were thinking more along the lines of 'what are you doing this weekend?' or 'isn't it hot out?'"

Some awesome journalism there.

Quote:
I've been going on the south end house tour and to open houses in the south end and sometimes back bay for about 15 years. I've always been shocked that only once did I see a Boston newspaper. I commented on that and the broker told me they had just moved here from Concord. I saw no shortage of new york times in these units. New residents seem to have no conection to the city and that is a very bad thing for the city.
In my building in Cambridge the deliveries are about 1/4 Wall Street Journal, 1/4 New York Times, and 1/2 Boston Globe. Two days ago there was an angrily written note in the lobby demanding someone return a Globe "because it's what I look forward to every day".
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Old 04-05-2009, 02:03 PM   #20
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Re: Boston Globe on brink of closure

Yeah, there is a lot of crap up there, but I think I've conditioned my brain to tune out things like BoMoms & Tom & Gisele 24/7.

And still there is no real alternative to it for breaking local news.
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