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

Trying to make sense of the numbers

Jay Fitzgerald makes some excellent points about the Boston Globe’s projected losses even after another $20 million cuts are extracted from the paper. But I’m not sure that we know whether the remaining $65 million gap to which he refers includes the cuts that were completed last Monday. It may not be quite that bad. Or it could be worse. Who knows?


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17 Comments

  1. bob gardner

    What are the numbers–is there any place we can see a balance sheet or some document so we can see how they arrive at this $1 million a week figure? Just because they claim that they are losing a million a week doesn’t mean that they could save a million a week by closing down. They would still have to make good on their obligations, union contracts, buyouts , contracts with suppliers, etc, and they would have no revenue coming in.

  2. O-FISH-L

    If the Globe goes down, who will print the Patriot Ledger and the Enterprise, currently printed by the Globe? Do those papers only have 30 days to find another printing press?

  3. Dan Kennedy

    Fish: In the unlikely event that the Globe goes down, I would imagine the Times Co. would be happy to make a little money by continuing to print the Ledger and Enterprise. It’s not like the building and presses are going anywhere.

  4. Chris Rich

    This is the outcome of merger mania by bored CEO’s who don’t have the attention spans to just handle the grubby detail work of running a large enterprise well.It is further aggravated by a likelihood that the merger was leveraged by easy debt from the decade or so of credit binging that now threatens to implode the planetary economy.NYT played with imaginary projection numbers and used imaginary money to cut the deal. Mergers rarely benefit the end users of something as there is a period of structure wreckage to offset the costs of the stupid deal.Murdoch overpaid vastly for that cheap disgusting tart,the Wall Street Journal, as a vanity quest. Newscorp is now worth less that 10 bucks a share and is the most poorly performing media equity in a bucket of addled damaged misfits.And don’t think it ends here. After 12 years away, I see Mindich made a big stupid empire of old media junk from Maine to Rhode Island and I somehow doubt he did it with cash.Boston in general is afflicted with the same media mediocrity that obtains in much of America. You want journalism, read Le Mond or the Christian Science Monitor.

  5. O-FISH-L

    Dan, point taken, but I thought the plan to print the QPL and the BE was cost effective because the Globe’s presses were already running, newsprint could be purchased in bulk, Globe employees were already on staff, building was already climate controlled etc.If the Globe closes, are they going to keep everything up and running and certain Globe employees on staff just to print two little papers for Gate House?

  6. Rick in Duxbury

    Go ahead and mock her, Chris. That “cheap, disgusting tart” is profitable and has pretty good prospects, all things considered. (I’m not objective, I have a connection with The Journal.) The world has changed; money talks and BS walks. Compare the WSJ to her competition. If El Globo evaporated tomorrow, a college town like Boston would conjure up a progressive replacement of some sort. An (arguably) diminished Journal is still a hell of a lot better than any alternatives I have yet seen.

  7. Dan Kennedy

    Fish: Point taken. I just meant that the Times Co. isn’t going to start refusing to print the Ledger and the Enterprise at midnight 30 days from now. For a while, it would make sense for them to do something with those presses.In any case, I can’t imagine this current battle is going to lead to the Globe’s being shut down. Later on, though, all bets are off.

  8. NewsHound

    You can’t make sense from these numbers. Too much is unpredictable. It is all conjecture from our perspective but as long as the Ledger and Enterprise are viable and worth printing they will be printed someplace. Only a year ago it was the price of fuel that was killing the automobile retail business and smothering advertising, and the implosion of the housing market. Fuel went down 70% and we are now in an almost all-time record economic disaster.The economic visibility is close to zero. It is hard to believe there will be no Globe in 30 days.If the Globe does continue, what will the newspaper business, and the auto, housing, banking, finance business look like Dec. 31?The old rule of thumb was that newspaper advertising was the first to recover in an economic recovery. At $1.6 million a week, hardly a thought for government, there is a lot of fixing and implementing that needs to be done in a hurry.

  9. Chris Rich

    Mr In-Duxbury,I’m not fond of right wing oligarch monstrosities and find the Bloomberg service, Financial Times and even the wretched Economist to be vastly superior to that wretched thing even before Murdoch grotesquely overpaid for it although it is nice to see it doing its part to drag Newscorp down.

  10. Dan Kennedy

    Chris: Do you ever actually look at the Journal? Its nutty editorial page aside, it is easily one of the five to eight best newspapers in the world.

  11. Chris Rich

    I pull up stories now and then on my aggregator feed when there seems to be no alternative and that may have been more so in days of yore.But I am among those who are quietly furious at the wreckless oligarchic hijack of the nation and very unsympathetic to the culpable without regard to the fact that they can convey basic information with reasonable competence.In a land of scheming midgets, the dwarfs seem like giants.

  12. Dan Kennedy

    Oh, Chris. You’re not doing well at all. Please read and study.

  13. Peter Porcupine

    DK – he doesn’t actually READ the paper; he’s a progressive, he doesn’t need to see it to know what it says.

  14. Aaron Read

    Chris: Do you ever actually look at the Journal? Its nutty editorial page aside, it is easily one of the five to eight best newspapers in the world.Dan, I’ve always felt that defending the WSJ who say “besides the editorial page” is a lot like saying “Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”BTW, Mindich did try and built a media empire and it collapsed several years ago…remember when WFNX was heard on the 103.7FM signal (now WEEI-FM) that’s audible from eastern CT all the way to the Cape? That was a major score for FNX at the time, and a big thorn in WBRU’s side in the fight for rock radio dominance in Providence. For whatever reason, though, it didn’t work out…honestly I don’t know why it didn’t work. I don’t know if the Phoenix employees really had much to do with FNX, but can you shed any light on that saga, Dan?

  15. Dan Kennedy

    Aaron: I have no idea why the Phoenix’s radio mini-empire didn’t work out. But you know how difficult it is for an independent company to make a go of it in radio.

  16. Ari Herzog

    Rather than buying the Ledger and Enterprise, how much would it cost to buy the North Shore papers that are owned by CNHI, my hometown Newburyport Daily News included?

  17. Rick in Duxbury

    Aaron,So if you disagree with the editorial page, the rest of the paper is suspect? I will defer to our genial host, but I seem to remember Dan giving props to the Journal for keeping the editorial slant, (with which he strenuously disagrees), out of the news hole. If the Globe did the same thing, the reader comments on their threatened demise might be a bit more supportive, IMHO. In fact, many of the WSJ beat reporters lean left. They are sufficiently professional, however, that their work does not betray that fact.

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