By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The Bailey double

The Boston Globe’s redoubtable Steve Bailey today reports on both of the city’s struggling dailies.

On page one, Bailey reveals that the New York Times Co. has rejected the notion of selling the Globe to a group headed by retired GE chairman Jack Welch. Bailey writes that a source who’d seen the Times Co.’s letter, signed by president Janet Robinson, described it as “unequivocal” in expressing the company’s desire to keep the Globe. So explain this Bailey tidbit:

Welch could not be reached for comment. But executives close to the Welch group, which includes longtime Boston advertising executive Jack Connors and Boston concessionaire Joe O’Donnell, said the three had no plans to abandon their effort.

Did the Times Co. leave the door open a crack? Do Welch and company think the Sulzbergers are going to change their minds? Or are these simply three guys who are used to getting their own way?

Media Nation’s prediction: The Times Co. will sell the Globe in one to three years, when, presumably, the advertising market will have recovered enough so that the paper will bring a better price. And Welch won’t be the buyer.

Bailey also has news about the Boston Herald in his “Downtown” column. It seems that Herald publisher Pat Purcell is keeping the revenue from some new billboards on Herald property for himself, and some union folks are ticked off about it.

I can’t say I blame them. The Weekly Dig posted an item yesterday reporting something I had heard independently — that three more Herald veterans have been laid off. They are lifestyle columnist Beth Teitell and arts reporters Dana Bisbee and Terry Byrne.

The Dig, as is its wont, kicks Teitell when she’s down, which draws a much-deserved rebuke from Herald stalwart Tom Mashberg.

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  1. mike_b1

    What do you see in the tea leaves that suggests the ad market will “recover?” The online and trade (niche) pub ad markets are showing great and modest gains, respectively (with the size of the latter having moved ahead of mainstream media last year). And Google — the leader in online ad sales — just topped $500 a share and its market cap now trails just Microsoft and Cisco.To potential investors, the problem with papers like the Times, the Globe, etc., is their business model. Until they get that worked out, their value will be depressed.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Mike: I have two reasons for thinking that the Times Co. is hopeful: (1) economic forecasters do expect some recovery in advertising; (2) the Times Co. is being pretty aggressive in trying to figure out the new business model. Maybe they’ll succeed, maybe they won’t, but they’re not ready to give up yet.

  3. Anonymous

    And if the Herald goes under, there’s another ad revenue boost.

  4. Aaron Read

    I thought the major knife in the side of newspaper’s budgets wasn’t so much ad revenue as it was the loss of classifieds revenue (thanks to Craigslist)?Certainly ad revenue is important, but the classifieds gravy train is dead and gone…and it’s never, never coming back.BTW, how does the Globe’s stake in the Boston Metro factor into this whole discussion?

  5. Anonymous

    1. It was reported that the Herald lost 12% circulation in the past year. How much longer can that continue? They just laid off three more people. Byrne and Bisbee had been there for some time.2. I agree that the drop in classifieds is a big problem, but the Globe would presumably pick up some classified and general ad revenue by default if the Herald goes under. It might get a little circulation also.

  6. Anonymous

    Craigslist killed newspaper classifieds. Help wanted advertising, apartments, used cars – you name it. All gone to the Web and never comin’ back. Now large auto dealers are starting to lose interest in print advertising, realtors are still hanging on in very local, community newspapers. Big retailers who do advertise pay to insert flyers into local papers, which adds to the bottom line but doesn’t beef up the main book of the newspaper. So you sometimes end up with a whisp of a newspaper with a ton of inserts inside. And this is supposed to be a NEWSpaper? Bottom line is newspaper companies have to find a way to keep paying reporters to go out and find the stories, to write the news, to tell people what’s going on in their small or larger worlds. Without credible reporters, “news” becomes a mass of bloggers and propagandists, and no one will know who to trust or who to believe. Whew. I feel better now. Deadline approaches…

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