Well, the union turned down the New York Times’ pay-cut proposal and now the Times says it has no choice but to sell the Boston Globe, the plum it plucked some 16 years ago as a prized possession.
Now that it’s hemorrhaging money by the bucketful, it’s not such a swell property. And with complaints to the NLRB about unfair labor practices and whispers that the Globe could simply fold, there doesn’t seem likely to be a happy outcome for anybody. (Memo to Globe Guild members: You think 23 percent pay cut is bad? You should see the cut I took!)
Of course to thousands of former newspaper journalists, this is nothing new.
Pundits were predicting 30 years ago that newspapers would soon cease to exist. We j-school types pooh-poohed these dire warnings, all the while trying to reverse the ongoing decline of readers – mainly the older ones who took the easy way out and died off, as opposed to the younger ones who mostly ignored newspapers or took an appallingly casual view of such important stuff. We tried to “punch up” the paper with ham-fisted attempts at becoming hip, or livelier color presentation; we ventured onto the Web, often grudgingly; we launched new initiatives and cut them off two months later because the results didn’t give us immediate relief and wondered why people didn’t put much faith in us.
We whittled, shaved, chipped, clipped and snipped, and eventually we resorted to axes. And then we became them, or “former.”
Meanwhile, newspapers large and small continue in their free fall unabated – no parachute, no net.
Slate’s Jack Shafer writes that the once Billion-Dollar Baby in Boston is now estimated (generously) to be worth maybe $113 million — which is considerably less than what David Black paid for the Akron Beacon Journal three years ago. Ouch.