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

More cuts coming at the Globe

Boston Globe editor Marty Baron tells his staff that as many as 50 newsroom positions will be eliminated soon — via buyout if possible, or layoffs if necessary. Baron concludes his memo with this:

All of us appreciate what a supremely dedicated and talented staff we have here, and we know the ache of seeing admired colleagues leave our newsroom. We also know the challenges of producing a high-quality newspaper and website when there are fewer of us to do the work.

Once again, we will have to assess everything we do. And so we will move promptly to evaluate a wide range of options. Not every option we review will come to pass, but reductions of this magnitude obviously will require us to make fundamental changes. Your ideas are welcome.

We have demonstrated repeatedly that we are a resilient bunch, capable of superb journalism even as we rethink our operations, reinvent our product, and refine our mission. We are being tested again, and a resourceful newsroom like ours can meet the test.

This is shockingly ugly stuff. I can’t imagine how the Globe can move forward without a dramatically redefined mission. Just focusing on local news isn’t going to do it, because that’s fundamentally about throwing bodies at stories.

Not exactly a novel observation that the newspaper business as we know it is rapidly coming to an end. (Via Romenesko.)

More: Adam Reilly of the Phoenix reports that Boston Newspaper Guild president Dan Totten wants any cuts to come exclusively from Globe management.

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  1. ron-newman

    Pretty soon they’re going to get to the point where I cancel my home delivery subscription. A drastic step, considering that I’ve had a newspaper home delivered (or lived with people who did) for over 51 years.

  2. massmarrier

    They speak in economic terms of declining margins and even periods of losses…then slashing staff.There’s another economic/product side to this. Think of something like chocolate-chip cookies. Put fewer and fewer chips in and decrease cookie size and ingredient quality. Then wonder why people don’t buy your stuff.In the Globe/NYT case, that would include advertisers as well as subscribers and single-copy purchasers. Those, of course, go in the cycle of ad cost and circulation. Newspapers for too long have been used to fat margins and do stupid things like fire editors and reporters in tough times. That model no longer works. There are companies and individuals in low-margin business, like grocery stores, that are happy and economically stable. This model needs to change. I bet that will more likely come from new owners or new competitors considerably before the long lumbering leaders do it with existing papers.

  3. Jim S.

    Your morning paper is going to be a thing of the past, much sooner than you think. The Times and the Globe are failing quickly, and rather than fight to sustain and publicize their brands, they are cutting the core. It’s awful.

  4. NewsHound

    I think if management were confident the most likely scenario is that the newspapers will fail it might as well liquidate, take the money and run. But, before that, I think Rupert Murdoch would be very serious to add it to his pile.

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