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

Cutbacks announced at the Phoenix

Adam Reilly provides the details of cutbacks at the Phoenix newspapers and related media properties — six layoffs (two in editorial), and some pretty significant salary cuts. According to a memo from Stephen Mindich, the chairman, CEO and publisher, the larger salary cuts are reserved for higher-paid employees, which is the way a company ought to be run. (Mindich and Reilly seem to be saying two different things about the percentages, but there may be a nuance that I’m missing.)

Having worked at the Phoenix for more than 14 years, I know how bad Mindich must feel about this. The man is simply the most talented and dogged media executive in Boston, having created the Phoenix, WFNX Radio (101.7 FM) and several other properties literally out of nothing starting in 1966. In addition, he is a person of great integrity and loyalty.

Mindich attributes the Phoenix’s problems almost entirely to the recession, and predicts a recovery down the road, writing:

Like so many other companies in and out of the media business, we’re in a tough spot. But I have every faith in the future. I have no doubt that we have the collective ability to out think our competition and out last these challenging circumstances. Companies that succeed today will be in an extraordinary position tomorrow; we intend and expect to be one of those companies.

Media Nation extends its best wishes to everyone at the Phoenix.

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  1. deargod

    “Integrity” to describe Mindich? Isn’t the whole Phoenix organization based on selling classifieds for escort services and phone sex lines? Is a pimp who makes money “talented?”

  2. endangered coffee

    and don’t forget all the stories about that devil music, rock and roll.

  3. deargod

    Yeah, the rock music industry is just full of integrity and talent. Good people.

  4. Brad

    I don’t think the content of the Phoenix has anything to do with Mindich’s “integrity”.However, I have heard many a story from multiple sources that WFNX rarely pays above minimum wage and fires people at the drop of a hat so everyone lives in constant fear. Granted, I have no hard evidence nor any direct experience about that, but frankly I don’t think you can accuse ANYONE in the media industry as having “integrity”. It’s like accusing a slug of not using enough salt in their cooking. Not only is it completely nonsensical, but if the slug actually used salt it’d probably just be detrimental to the slug anyways.BTW “deargod”, religion is just so full of honest, nice people. No judgments there at all. And hypocrisy? None as far as the eye can see. (see kids, that’s called “sarcasm”)

  5. b.f.

    Wasn’t the Cambridge Phoenix started by someone other than Mr. Mindich and his partner in the 1960s before Mindich merged it with Boston After Dark (to eventually create an alternative newsweekly monopoly in Boston-Cambridge–after Old Mole and Real Paper lost ad sales to Phoenix because they were more consistently anti-war in their editorial slant)?Once the Phoenix had to compete for alternative media readers with the Weekly Dig and internet bloggers–and also began losing ad space to his craig’s list competitor–Mr.Mindich apparently proved to be not that great a hip capitalist anymore.But what I don’t understand, is if the Phoenix still owns valuable real estate around Fenway Park and is still short of money to pay its staffpeople, why doesn’t Mr. Mindich just sell his real estate there to the Times/Boston Red Sox firm (like the Boston Archdiocese sold its real estate to Boston College, etc.) and then re-organize the Phoenix as a non-profit, staff-reader-community-controlled tax-exempt ngo-journalism entity with “Mindich Foundation” funds. When Harper’s magazine was losing money in the 1980s, billionaire John MacArthur’s grandson was able to keep Harper’s magazine going by using the J.Roderick MacArthur and MacArthur Foundation funds to fund that publication, for example.

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