Boston Globe (1872-2009?)

Out of irony, let me link to the New York Times for this story:

BOSTON — After weeks of labor tension and 12 hours of suspenseful voting, members of the Newspaper Guild at The Boston Globe narrowly rejected a proposed package of wage and compensation cuts. As a result, the newspaper’s owner, The New York Times Company, said it would proceed with its threat to unilaterally impose a 23 percent salary cut.

As Jeff Jarvis wrote this morning, “I wonder how saving $20 million when you’re losing $85 million can possibly do the job; it’s a Band-Aid on a gushing artery.” He goes on to add an interesting perspective that wage cuts aren’t the solution: a new way of journalism is the solution.

Whether it’s challenges from J-school deans or new curricula that focus on the cadre of skills required by the journalists of the future (Time, June 8, 2008), the industry can change. There just needs to be a change beyond leak-plugging among these monolithic structures of newspaper factories.

The fact that this is the Globe obviously cuts a personal nerve for me. I grew up with the Globe and was partially taught to read by my father as he showed me how to check Red Sox box scores. The Globe Sports section was an institution throughout Boston and its hubbed suburbs (actually, for a phenomenal perspective on this, check out my friend and former BC classmate slash sports editor Kevin Armstrong’s piece in, how perfect, the online version of Sports Illustrated).

What the Washington Post is to beltway and world news, the Globe was to top-class writing about Boston and its sports subculture. Say what you will about what the fading newspaper industry has done, but it hasn’t tarnished this legacy even if (after?) the doors close.

The problem isn’t bodies in news rooms or salaries and overhead, it’s an archaic way of thinking that the printing press is the only solution. We need the information, we are just held hostage by the delivery mechanisms. I loved this quote from the Time article I linked above:

…As emphasized by a report released last month by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the World Association of Newspapers, traditional news outlets must “cross the digital abyss” if they wish to survive. The problem, of course, is scraping together the capital to invest in new technologies.

I have to believe in the future of journalism and reporting here, not necessarily the industry. Will some people miss newsprint in their hands? Sure. But stubbornness is how the newspaper industry got to where it is. And stubbornness could also cost us the information we so desire.


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