Tweets, an interview, and a statement from the Globe

I spent some time Saturday night and early Sunday morning at The Boston Globe‘s distribution center in Newton, where employees—including many journalists—were assembling papers and getting ready to go out on routes. The Globe covers the story here. What follows is my live-tweeting.

In addition, I’ve posted audio of an interview I conducted with tech columnist Hiawatha Bray and reporter Todd Wallack as they were juggling inserts. (Bray is the first speaker.) After the tweets you’ll find a statement from Peter Doucette, the paper’s vice president for consumer sales and marketing.

By the way: We got our Globe here in West Medford this morning as well as the Sunday New York Times. But they used to be delivered by one carrier, who told us recently she was sticking with the Globe. Now there are two different vendors.

What follows is Doucette’s statement, which I received a little before 2 a.m.

This is a statement from Peter Doucette, Boston Globe Vice President, Consumer Sales & Marketing regarding Boston Globe staff volunteering to deliver newspapers:

Over this last week, The Boston Globe has received thousands of calls from customers reporting they had not received their daily newspaper as the Globe transitions its home delivery service to a new distribution partner ACI Media.

Establishing a new home delivery network with a new partner is a complex and major undertaking. Please know that we launched this transition because we firmly believed, and still do, that it was necessary to assure a higher level of delivery and customer service over the long term. In the short term, frustrating service disruptions have occurred as our new home delivery partner ACI Media deploys a new staff of 600 carriers who must learn new delivery routes and the addresses of the homes and apartments for every Globe home delivery subscribers.

With the Sunday paper about to hit – the Globe is doing everything possible to mitigate these short term delivery issues. More than two hundred Boston Globe journalists, business and operations staff, from general reporters in the newsroom up to the highest levels of leadership, are volunteering their time this holiday weekend to help deliver tomorrow’s Boston Globe or assist fielding phones calls from readers in Globe’s customer service call center.

This weekend’s effort is one small gesture to show our Globe customers that we are working hard with ACI to address these issues. We expect the process to improve not instantly, but steadily with each passing day and thank our customers for their patience.

7 thoughts on “Tweets, an interview, and a statement from the Globe

  1. Donna Halper

    I finally got a paper– although it was an earlier edition, rather than the late edition Quincy normally gets. But at least it was something. Still, a sad commentary that (a) the Globe still thinks it’s up to the readers to be patient, (b) there’s little explanation of how things went so wrong, and (c) it took a massive effort by the paper’s reporting staff to get things moving again. Is this any way to run an allegedly great newspaper?

  2. Taylor Dobbs

    Wow, this is something else! I admire those reporters going above and beyond. They’ll be paid overtime, I assume? Or are they doing this for free?

    1. Dan Kennedy Post author

      @Taylor: This was a one-time voluntary thing. I’m told it bubbled up from the staff, not from management or the union. So no, there has been no talk of compensation.

  3. Lou Alexander

    I wonder if it is legal for employees of the newspaper to “volunteer” to deliver the newspaper. Wage and hour laws generally forbid volunteer work and require that time spent in service to the employer must be compensated. In some instances wage and hour offices do not wait for a complaint. They take action when they learn about violation of the law.

    Also, the statement from the Vice President, Consumer Sales & Marketing is about as vacuous as anything I have ever seen.

    1. Don Barzini

      It depends whether the employees delivering papers are in jobs deemed exempt from the overtime requIrement of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If they are classified as non-exempt, they can’t work for free. This is known as an “off-the-clock” violation and the Globe would owe them back pay. If, however, they are exempt than they are paid on a fixed salary basis without regard to how many hours they work.

      Legal issues aside, I’m impressed by their dedication and commitment.

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