Media Nation has obtained an e-mail sent to the staff by Boston Globe publisher Steve Ainsley confirming reductions at the Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. I’ve done a little guessing at where the paragraph breaks ought to be. Here’s the text:
As part of a company-wide effort to achieve greater operational efficiencies, we will be offering voluntary buyouts to employees of The Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Boston Globe employees will receive offers next week. Telegram & Gazette employees will receive offers the following week. Boston.com and GlobeDirect employees are ineligible for this program.
We are expecting a total reduction of 80 positions, with approximately 60 from the Globe and roughly 20 from the T&G. This reduction in staff is a difficult but necessary step toward our ongoing goals of reducing costs and finding efficiencies that allow for the long-term health of our business.
As you all know, these are difficult times in the newspaper business. The good news is that our on-line revenue continues to grow although not yet at a scale that offsets the downturn in print. Going forward our newspapers must continue to adapt to changing patterns of media consumption while our on-line business expands our capabilities to present high quality news and information in new formats and new platforms.
For these strategic reasons we are excluding Boston.com from the voluntary buyout program. Instead, we will continue to invest in this growing area of the business as it scales up in content delivery, advertising and audience. We are also excluding GlobeDirect from the buyout program because it just completed a restructuring as part of its consolidation into the Millbury facility and further reductions are not warranted.
Finally, I should note the terms of this buyout — while still generous — are less generous than similar offers in the recent past. For most employees the basic severance payout will be two weeks of pay for every pension year of service with a cap of one-year’s pay. We are offering an enhanced package to some employees — those Newspaper Guild members at the Globe with lifetime job guarantees, in recognition of their many years of service to the company and the value to them of the job guarantee benefit. They will be eligible to receive three weeks of pay for every year of service with a cap of two years pay. This distinction will not be made in any future buyouts that may be offered. A complete package will be mailed to your homes shortly which will go into greater detail as to the payout components, timing and healthcare benefits associated with the package.
I know that it can be a stressful time for eligible employees at the Globe and Telegram & Gazette who must make an important decision about their careers. Our Human Resources and Employee Relations departments are on hand to help you with any questions you may have about this offer.
I’d like to thank everyone for their continued dedication while we redirect our business to future success.— Steve
These are very ugly times in the newspaper business. What this tells me is that Ainsley and company are merely trying to keep up with the deteriorating revenue picture, and are making no pretense of knowing where the bottom is.
It’s also interesting — and smart — that Boston.com is being spared. When you add print and online readership together, you can make a case that the Globe isn’t losing readers at all. It’s the business model that’s falling apart. What the Globe and every other paper need to do is hang on to those readers while figuring out what comes next.