Bad Times on the Media Scene

1213203172Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (or, you know, not reading this blog), times are hard for our beloved daily papers. The Globe just wrapped up its buyouts, and the Herald announced yesterday that it’s shutting down its on-site printing press.

1213727570But that might not be enough to save them. As we reported earlier this month, the Globe asked Boston Newspaper Guild members to consider reopening their contracts for “the purpose of operational ‘flexibilities.’” This morning, the Herald reports that those “flexibilities” might entail a 10 percent pay cut.


Boston Globe unions have been asked by management to take an across-the-board 10 percent pay cut to help trim costs, while the newspaper also looks at consolidating its printing plants, according to several union members.

As you can imagine, the union is not pleased by the request.

“The Boston Newspaper Guild has given enough in the name of company equity,” said Dan Totten, president of the Guild, the Globe’s largest union. “Globe and New York Times management must now give back.”

And we thought the contract battle between Mayor Tom Menino and Local 718 president Ed Kelly was contentious. This one sounds like it could be epic.

Sensing that he may have alienated his working-class readership, Herald president and publisher Pat Purcell used today’s editorial page to explain why he decided to shutter his outfit’s presses, leaving more than 100 people without jobs.

I love this newspaper and this business and this community that we serve, and I’m not giving up on any of it. There are a relative handful of two-newspaper towns left in this country, and I want to make sure Boston continues to be on that too, too short list.

To do that, we are being forced to make some painful decisions. One of them will be to go out of the printing business. Doing that will mean the loss of anywhere from 136 to 161 jobs here in the building. But it will also save more than 400 jobs – and it will save the Boston Herald as an institution. And that is my goal here.

No snark here for our media brethren. Stay strong everyone.