My friend Gary Gross suspects a conspiracy. The Boston Herald reports that the New York Times threat to shutter the Boston Globe has caused a “storm over Morrissey Boulevard,” where the Globe’s offices are located. Has this blogger managed to undermine a Boston institution, albeit owned lock, stock, and barrel by the Paper of Record?
There’s a mutinous mood on Morrissey Boulevard, as Boston Globe staffers lash out over a stunning ultimatum from parent company The New York Times [NYT] Co.
“They’re nickel-and-diming people,” said a Globe union official who spoke on condition of anonymity, adding that top executives at The New York Times Co., which owns the Globe, “have ruined” the sagging broadsheet.
On Thursday, Times executives told representatives from the Boston paper’s 13 unions that they must trim $20 million from their budgets by May 1 or the Times would shut the paper down.
I read about this over the weekend, but never noticed the family connection to the Globe — tenuous though it may be. Our branch of the Morrissey family came out of New York, not Boston. While it’s nice to see Boston honoring the Morrissey name, I’m not sure whether the Globe or I should be more annoyed with the present connection.
The Washington Post had the most schadenfreude-tinged report on the ultimatum from Pinch Sulzberger, emphases mine:
In a striking example of corporate hardball, the New York Times Co. has threatened to shut down one of its journalistic jewels, the Boston Globe, unless the New England paper’s unions agree to sweeping concessions. …
The Times has generally granted the Globe editorial independence, but declining revenue has prompted cutbacks that have forced the Boston paper to limit its Washington and foreign coverage and to focus on regional news.
Is this the same sort of irony that we saw in the SEIU picketing the SEIU? The New York Times has a strong pro-union bent in its editorial policy, but it’s also an employer in an industry taking heavy losses. I’m not sure that the example of hardball is actually all that striking, something the Post itself admits later in the article. It’s the exact position Hearst used to extract labor concessions at some of its own publications.
People have accused me of wanting to see newspapers fail. It oddly parallels the entire kerfuffle over Rush Limbaugh’s statement about Barack Obama, and it’s doubly odd for me, since I’m a self-professed newspaper junkie who just transitioned to on-line offerings instead. I want newspapers to do a better job of delivering the news without bias of omission or commission. Those newspaper execs that put political concerns ahead of actual reporting, as alleged in the ACORN spike story, should either get bounced or make their mission explicit and quit pretending to be objective. Newspapers need to find a better business model for the dead-tree drop or move away from it, and I’d like to see them succeed at that transition — if for no other reason than to be able to read and react to their stories.
I’m not cheering the storm over Morrissey Boulevard. I’ll cheer the name of the street, though.