Globe CEO to staff: Full speed ahead with the move

For your weekend memo-reading pleasure, I’ve obtained an email that Boston Globe CEO Doug Franklin sent to the staff on Thursday. Note that the move out of the Globe’s Dorchester plant at 135 Morrissey Blvd. is proceeding even though a deal to sell it recently fell through.

Keep an eye on Franklin’s statement that “Our production transition is our biggest risk right now.” The translation is that if the printing operation in Taunton isn’t fully ready to handle the Globe and its customers (USA Today, The New York Times, the Boston Herald, etc.) when Morrissey shuts down, then they’re going to find themselves in a world of hurt.

The full text of Franklin’s message follows.

Colleagues,

Over the next few weeks, the Globe will see two major transitions. We’ll soon begin printing all our newspapers out of the new plant in Taunton, and we’ll move our offices to Exchange Place in downtown Boston. These moves will help us leverage our five strategic goals: digital subscriber growth, digital advertising growth, greater efficiency producing print papers, becoming the community convener, and being an employer of choice.

Our new workspaces are a big change physically, but really they’re just buildings, desks and equipment. The Globe won’t change because of the move, it will change because you change your work for our audiences and advertisers.

Every department is working aggressively on accomplishing our goals. Pressmen are running new presses, salespeople prospecting for digital/print campaigns, editors and reporters finding new ways to engage audiences for digital subscriptions, and technology teams developing new roadmaps for better user experiences. There is so much opportunity and work ahead for all of us.

Along with all this change will be the inevitable “bumps in the road.” We need to be supportive of each other, flexible, and focused on our work. Our business will continue to change dramatically and the new facilities are part of our journey.

Our strategic goals will drive the Globe’s financial sustainability and long-term success. Your efforts every day are the building blocks of our performance. There are many things happening in our company, much of it good. Among them:

  • Digital subscriptions have passed 83,000 on the way to 100,000. We are confident we have the right tactics to achieve our goal. We are the leader nationally in regional newspaper digital subscriptions.
  • Globe.com audience performance was at all time highs the first quarter of this year.
  • Consumer/subscriber revenue is performing very well, our bright spot financially.
  • Print subscriptions, while down over last year, is ahead of our plan.
  • Advertising is ahead of plan slightly through the first four months of this year but digital advertising needs to be stronger.
  • Commercial print revenues are slightly off due to our printing transitions.
  • Costs are declining but still heavy until we exit Morrissey completely and fully ramp up Taunton efficiencies. Our production transition is our biggest risk right now.
  • We announced our newsroom reinvention, continuing the transformation to a more audience and digital centric content approach to our journalism.
  • We’re rebuilding a cohesive product and technology roadmap focused on digital subscription and advertising to improve user experiences.
  • STAT audience growth continues to set new records, hitting 2 million unique visitors in March.

All of you contribute greatly to our success, here are a few that represent the important work each of you do every day:

  • Our Globe newsroom was a two-time Pulitzer finalist this year, in Local Reporting and in Criticism, reflecting our best in class journalism. Congrats to The Spotlight Team, for its riveting look at the failures of the state’s mental health care system. This was the second time in three years that Spotlight has been a Pulitzer finalist. Congratulations as well to Ty Burr, the Globe’s star movie critic and culture columnist, who was a finalist for a collection of his best work.
  • Katie O’Brien, Director of Classified Advertising, led a redesign of our obituary pages driving a 20% increase in revenues.
  • As part of our facility moves, Kelly Mallenbranche and Chris Mayotte’s teams in IT burned lots of late night hours successfully moving our digital systems to our new offsite server location.
  • Tom Brown and Mollie Toomey’s analysis and management of our digital and print subscribers is driving us towards our 100,000 digital subs and an incremental $6 million in revenue this year.

We have a great story to tell our audiences, clients and community as we transform. Communication and marketing will get more attention in the coming months.

All of this means we are improving financially but not out of the woods yet. Overall, I feel we have made better progress to date than where I thought we would be at this point. Thank you for your work and commitment to the Globe!

Doug

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