Y So Serious, Boston Globe?

Newsosaur:

While it is unfortunate that the continuing deterioration of the
newspaper business is forcing publishers to take previously unthinkable
measures to reduce operating costs, it is not the least bit unusual in
this toxic economy for the management at a newspaper – or an automaker
or any of dozens of other businesses – to ask for concessions from its
employees.

The only shock in thenews
from the Globe is that the New York Times Co. wants only $20 million in
concessions from its unions to help offset an expected $85 million
operating loss. Given the magnitude of the projected deficit for 2009,
the target is surprisingly low.

The givebacks were demanded at a
meeting with union leaders on Thursday morning, where NYT Co.
threatened to close the paper unless it the cuts are rapidly approved.

Addressing
more modest budget shortfalls at the Newark Star-Ledger and San
Francisco Chronicle, the respective publishers of each paper extractedconcessions of approximately $40 million and $50 million from their unions.

Tough
as this will be for employees whose pay, benefits or retirement are cut
– not to mention those who lose their jobs altogether – the concessions
being sought at the Globe appear to be relatively moderate as these
things go.

The Globe’s editors should have recognized this. They
would have been well within their rights to publish a story about the
management demands and the union response, but they went off the deep
end in deciding to top today’s front page with a fat, two-line banner.

Not
only are they unnecessarily alarming readers and Globe employees but
they also may have harmed the newspaper’s business prospects.

The
headline is almost sure to be used by salespeople for competing media
to encourage merchants to diversify their advertising spend so they are
not over-dependent on the Globe in the event the paper were to succumb.

Sigh. You know why this was a big deal to the Boston Globe? Because it’s aBIG DEAL TO THE BOSTON GLOBE, Jesus tits:

John Cinella, a 69-year-old lawyer who rises at 5:30 a.m. to read
the paper, said he cherished 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.”

In the first place, it is far past time newspapers and those who care about them started pushing back against their corporate owners for demanding more and more concessions to make up for mistakes they didn’t make. And it is far past time newspapers reminded their corporate owners that they are valued in their communities and that their readers care about them.

Part of the problem with the last 30 years of vague media-bashing by the halfbright pundit brigade is that they were the only ones doing the talking. Fucking stand up for yourselves, because nobody else ever will. We all like to think our virtues are self-evident, and if there’s one thing I’m learning in this era of needing to not only write but market and sell, it’s that nothing is a meritocracy because nothing ever was.

And I don’t see how publicizing the possibility the paper might close hurts the product any more than the generalized bitching by industry “watchers” and CEOs and “analyst” stock speculators has already. If that message wasn’t sinking in to advertisers all across the country by now, there’d be no problems to write about in the first place, so maybe not so much with the concern about how talking about needing community support is a bad thing.

It’s about time somebody had enough pride to say hey, you want to close us? Not without us telling everybody what you’re doing and why, assholes, and not without a fight. Enough rolling over for this kind of crap. Enough.

A.

5 thoughts on “Y So Serious, Boston Globe?

  1. “It’s about time somebody had enough pride to say hey, you want to close us? Not without us telling everybody what you’re doing and why, assholes, and not without a fight.”
    I see this as a more generalized problem in the newspaper industry and a big reason why they’ve lost cultural capital (and real capital) to bloggers and Jon Stewart and whatnot: a near-total lack of spunk. 90% of editorial writing is, to borrow a line, and from a blogger no less, like watching old people eat.

  2. And it is far past time newspapers reminded their corporate owners that they are valued in their communities and that their readers care about them
    Because of the intersection with the readers’ daily lives. Which is, for the 50th gabillionth time, what most of us are concerned with. There’s a great comment piece in Froomkin today about the public’s perception of BHO vs. the punditry that brings this home. Again.
    http://tinyurl.com/ddz5tr

  3. The enduring idea that passion is uncouth among the more rarefied pundit set explains their total inability to connect with their readers. The best newspapers, and I think the Globe is one of them (I will ALWAYS love them for bringing down Cardinal Law), have passion for the places and people they cover and recognize that most people are passionate human beings who want to see that reflected in the paper.
    Not this Wolf Blitzer-style “everything’s a big ironic joke” kind of Joe Klein crapola. Get fucking MAD about something, god, show us you care.
    A.

  4. Of all places, Jason Whitlock (subbing for Jim Rome on his nationally syndicated sports talk show) is currently interviewing David Simon, perhaps for the next hour, on the future of newspapers and his own career as reporter and television producer.

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