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

A $4.5 million whoopsie

I’ve been out of the loop all day, volunteering as a marshal at Northeastern’s commencement. Right now I’m hanging out at WGBH-TV (Channel 2), waiting to tape “Beat the Press.” And I am astounded at the news out of the Boston Globe, where apparently the unions will be forced to come up with another $4.5 million in concessions because of an accounting error on the part of management.

The New York Times Co. has threatened to close the Globe if the unions don’t agree to $20 million in givebacks by today.

“Management has done the impossible: they’ve reunited the Boston Newspaper Guild,” an anonymous source tells the Boston Phoenix’s Adam Reilly. Needless to say, this doesn’t bode well. For a crisis to be averted, it was essential for the unions to come to terms at least somewhat amicably. Now it’s not even clear that Globe staffers believe management claims that the paper is on track to lose $85 million this year.

“The Legend of Young Arthur continues to grow,” writes the Outraged Liberal, referring to New York Times Co. chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. Unfortunately, you can’t make this stuff up.

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4 Comments

  1. Brian Flaherty

    I’ve always wondered what time Beat the Press taped – is it 3pm?

  2. NewsHound

    Who knows the real numbers and what they mean. A portion of the loss is attributed to depreciation. That is not a current or going-forward expense. It is merely a tax write-off. Obviously, this is not a year in which the Company would be seeking a write-off, but any depreciation expense is there with or without publishing unless there is a bankruptcy and Sulzberger’s stockholders lose everything with the Globe subsidiary.But, the Globe the owners have the right to shoot this in the foot, or the heart, anytime they please.

  3. NewsHound

    The operating loss was $54.3 million compared with a profit last year. Excluding depreciation, amortization, severance and special items, operating profit was $19.9 million this past quarter. With Pinch, Miss Robinson, and overly paid directors – not bad during a once-in-a-century economic collapse.

  4. BrianCUA

    I was at the Globe today for a seminar on the Freedom of the Press. Most of the speakers were excellent.In the afternoon I was sitting next to a Globe reporter, and as we talked I gave him a story idea and he took down some notes. As the next session began I asked how things looked with Manhattan, and he went silent and looked away.Talk about mixed signals.

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