At the Globe, a downsizing that was preordained

There is very little to be said about The Boston Globe’s latest round of downsizing that wasn’t said in late July, when the cuts were announced in a memo from editor Brian McGrory. Poynter’s Benjamin Mullin broke the news late Thursday afternoon, and followed up with the latest McGrory memo. Boston magazine’s Garrett Quinn has a statement from the union as well.

And as I wrote for WGBHNews.org last week, the recent decision to redesign and shrink the Saturday print edition was driven by the ongoing collapse of print advertising revenues, which has affected not just the Globe but the entire newspaper business.

The size of the latest downsizing — which McGrory put at 17 voluntary buyouts and “nearly two dozen part- and full-time staffers” — was something of a surprise, and it comes on the heels of a dozen layoffs at another Globe property, Boston.com, a few weeks ago. McGrory continued:

We’ve worked beside these departing colleagues day after day, sometimes year after year. They’ve made us look good from the copy desk, traveled the world chasing major events, been pioneers in digital journalism, and brought national recognition to our features sections. They’re also our friends.

Publisher John Henry appears determined to run the Globe on at least a break-even basis, even as he invests in online coverage of specialty beats such as innovation, the Catholic Church and life sciences. But it’s clear that neither he nor anyone else has figured out how to stop the newspaper business’ downward slide.

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