By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, May 4, 2009
After down-to-the-wire negotiations did not produce millions of dollars in union concessions, the Times Co. said that it will file today a required 60-day notice of the planned shutdown under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification law.
The move could amount to a negotiating ploy to extract further concessions from the Globe's unions, since the notice does not require the Times Co. to close the paper after 60 days. The deadline, however, would put the unions under fierce pressure to produce additional savings, and the Boston Newspaper Guild promptly called the step a "bullying" tactic by the company.
Some industry observers have expressed skepticism that Times Co. Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. would want his legacy to include the shuttering of the Globe, which his company bought in 1993.
But the Times Co. itself is under strong financial pressure. It recently mortgaged its new Manhattan headquarters, borrowed $250 million from a Mexican billionaire at 14 percent interest, laid off 100 newsroom staffers and cut salaries by 5 percent.
What will replace them? Which are the cockroach titles that will survive this nuclear media apocalypse, which will thrive after prestige titles surrender the field?
Presumably it will be the sort of populist drivel represented in this market by the Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph.