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

After the deluge

Now that the Boston Newspaper Guild has decisively approved a $10 million package of wage and benefit cuts, it seems like anyone who’s been following this closely should be able to offer some thoughts on what’s next for the Boston Globe.

For the time being, though, everything that can be said has already been said several times over. It’s a sign of how long this has dragged on that Romenesko offers just the bare bones, and that the trade magazine Editor & Publisher goes with an AP story. A huge story has gotten smaller with the passage of time.

The Guild cuts, along with another $10 million agreed to by the Globe’s other unions, are going to be a bitter pill to swallow. Management never fostered a sense of shared sacrifice, which is why a similar package was narrowly defeated last month. Still, simply as a reader, I hope yesterday’s vote allows the paper to move forward rather than obsess over the Globe’s uncertain present.

More than anything, we should all hope that the vote leads to a quick sale by the New York Times Co. to local owners who will do what they can to preserve the Globe as a leading regional institution. I would argue that the Times Co. was a reasonably good steward until the last year or so. But it all got very ugly very quickly.

This relationship can’t end soon enough, provided the right buyers can be found.

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  1. FBTeditor

    Beware what you wish for: simply because a local owner(s) can be found – and that remains up-in-the-air in this economy – doesn't in any way prevent the Globe from undergoing more layoffs and pay cuts. It's most likely the new owner will have a traditional business background rather than from journalism, with a need to quickly "right the ship" financial and that will come either from significant cuts in salaries or expenses. Local business icons have done this in the past: Remember Jack Welch's nickname at GE – Neuron Jack for laying waste to entire floors at its headquarters and factories.

  2. InsiderNegot

    The cuts have to be a tough pill to swallow for sure. It’s not easy to give up wages and benefits that have been gained over many years. However, the fact remains that this newspaper, like many others, is in serious trouble. “Serious” I know is a relative term and can mean different things to different people. It was serious enough for the New York Times to make clear that they were no longer going to underwrite this asset. I agree that the NYT was a good steward until the last year or so. I think that change in attitude was a result of the Times company’s own perilous financial situation and their failure to act earlier. The Times does want out, but as you state, let’s all hope the right buyers can be found.

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