And no, I’m not referring to the polar ice caps.
Jay Fitzgerald reports in today’s Boston Herald that CNHI — the Alabama-based newspaper chain that scooped up the Eagle-Tribune papers last year — is suspected of retaliating against employees who were involved in a failed union organizing campaign by sticking them in far-flung bureaus or saddling them with night shifts. A company official denies all.
The papers involved are the Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence (well, North Andover), the Salem News, the Gloucester Daily Times and the Daily News of Newburyport.
Regardless of what happened — and I hope someone gets to the bottom of this — it’s sad to ponder the decline of the newspaper scene north of Boston over the past decade.
A dozen or so years ago, the region was dominated by three independently owned papers: the Eagle-Tribune, the Salem News (then the Salem Evening News) and the Sun of Lowell. Ottaway, a division of Dow Jones, owned three smaller dailies: the Beverly-Peabody Times and the Gloucester and Newburyport papers.
Today, those six papers have become five (the Beverly-Peabody Times was merged into the Salem News), and the three local owners have all given way to out-of-state corporations.
And it could get worse. Boston Herald publisher Pat Purcell has his flagship tabloid and Community Newspaper Co. subsidiary on the block, which could result in out-of-town ownership for another 100 or so papers. Among those rumored to be interested: CNHI.