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

Globe publisher breaks silence

Media Nation has obtained a memo that Boston Globe publisher Steve Ainsley e-mailed to his staff this evening. Here’s the full text:

To all Boston Globe employees —

I know the news over the weekend that highlighted the core issues presented to union leaders in a closed door meeting last week was jarring for all of you. It was certainly not our intention for you to learn of these preliminary discussions through reports in the Globe and other media but since this is how it has played out there are several important points of which you should all be aware.

As you all know by now, several members of the Globe executive team met with all our union leaders last week to review with them the Globe’s financial situation. It remains our standing policy that we never discuss ongoing labor negotiations publicly and we made that commitment to the leaders of all of our unions last week. For that reason I cannot provide more detail today. I can say that we explained that going forward we have to tackle major issues on both revenue and expense fronts and those individual strategies were shared with union leadership.

We will need significant concessions from labor and we are also framing a plan to draw more savings from the nonunion ranks, as we done over the course of the last several months. We also have a strategy in motion which will bring in additional revenue from consumers and advertisers. This plan was presented in some detail as we believed it appropriate to give union leadership a full view of all that is being done to achieve financial stability at The Boston Globe.

It is critical we all keep in mind our objective is to improve the financial performance of the Globe. Period. As bruising as this economic downturn has been to this institution, I believe we will accomplish that objective if all of us, every employee of the Globe, is able to keep our focus. Nothing less will prove successful.

Similarly, it is only fair that management also be prepared to make sacrifices. We have already reduced compensation 5% in 2009 and reduced the management work force by almost 20%. More work is to be done on this front and will be.

I continue to believe that our strength is in our common denominator — we are all employees of The Boston Globe. We have accomplished much in the last few years under difficult circumstances and that should give us all confidence that we can overcome this challenge.


The e-mail speaks for itself, but I do want to highlight this: “It was certainly not our intention for you to learn of these preliminary discussions through reports in the Globe and other media.”

Ainsley is the publisher of a newspaper. He is in the communications business. Not only has he fallen short in communicating with his employees, but it is mind-boggling to think that he really believed he could keep this a secret.

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  1. NewsHound

    Yes, indeed, Ainsley is mind boggling!

  2. endangered coffee

    strategy for more revenue from consumers.There’s your $5 Sunday paper, Dan!

  3. Robin Edgar

    Chances are pretty good that raising the price of *any* newspaper will only push more people towards free online sources of information. I can see the Boston Globe losing even more revenue if it raises prices significantly.

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