As a Bostonian, I have followed the negotiations between the Globe unions and the New York Times with a lot of interest. I grew up reading the Boston Globe, and a few of my good friends served as paper boys, waking up at obscene hours to bike or have their parents drive them around to deliver papers.
Of course, if you have tuned into my radio show over the last few weeks or talked with me about the situation, you will know that for once in my life I am actually rooting for NY to take it to Boston. This is not an easy thing for me to admit, because when you grow up in the Boston area, everything that is New York is despised.
Never the less, the Boston Globe has until Friday, May 1, 2009, to slash $20 million or it faces closure. I am hoping they do not find the money and the New York Times management decides to close them down. But part of me really wonders if the NYT has the guts to go through with it.
For starters, the Globe lost about $50 million a year ago. This year it is reportedly on pace to lose around $85 million. The very idea that $20 million in cost cuts is going to help save the paper or keep it running for more than another year or two seems ridiculous.
To add insult to injury, the union is refusing to eliminate benefits to reach the $20 million figure, including lifetime employment guarantees to a large number of people in the Globe’s workforce. The NYT is refusing to simply integrate newsrooms between the two papers or find other ways to reduce expenses.
For a company that was remored to have only $30 some-odd million in the bank to $1.1 billion in debt (enough cash analysts predict to last 4 more quarters), one would think the New York Times would cut its losses and let the Boston Globe turn into dust.