Start at the top where the New York Times is in its third round of layoffs, cuts and voluntary buyouts. In a lengthy, descriptive memo to staff Executive Editor Jill Abramson explained this was not, repeat not aimed at “the journalism.” No way. No how.
As you all know, the company has consistently chosen to protect the journalism, even while cutting production and other business-side costs and continuing to demand exacting financial discipline in the way the newsroom itself marshals its resources and controls its spending.
Got all that?
The Boston Herald is not as subtle when it came to cutting corners. “Free parking in Boston is a rarity,” wrote publisher and owner Pat Purcell to his employees last week, “and, sadly, there will not be free parking for any employee—myself included—when we move to the Seaport Center.” The move results in an additional cost to employees of somewhere around $1,800.
Further down the food chain the thoughts are a little more emotive. Richard L. Comnor, the CEO of MaineToday Media, had to let go of 38 employees and 23 agreed to buyouts, bringing the total shedding to 51. He writes:
Our business is inextricably tied to the national economy so, like other companies, we’ve had to confront declining revenue with a downsizing of the work force. Nevertheless, it is difficult to part with talented and loyal employees, some of whom have contributed many years of service to our company, and none of whom is responsible for the economic conditions in which we operate.
If you’re Rupert Murdoch, there’s one sure-fire way of making sure your profit is increasing, even in this dim tunnel:
The European edition of the Wall Street Journal was found to be falsely inflating its circulation by—guess who—The Guardian. After WSJ publisher Andrew Langhoff had resigned, the Guardian pursued a lead that the publisher had set up a complex system where something called the “Executive Learning Partnership” would buy tens of thousands of copies of the paper for a discounted rate. In exchange, the Journal returned a “pledge of possible editorial coverage,” which amounted to two stories about “ELP.”
Tit for tat.
PERHAPS RUPERT MURDOCH could use a Kickstarter campaign, much like the folks at Occupy Boston, who have done so for their Occupy Boston Globe. Much like the Occupy Wall Street Journal, it’s Boston counterpart seeks to:
provide accurate, in-depth accounts of Occupy Boston (including the broader issues that affect our movement) and to provide practical information on the goings-on at Dewey Square on a day-to-day basis.
The attention garnered brought them in $3,611 of their $8,000 at press time with 10 days to go in the campaign. The campaign was such a shock to the Boston Globe itself that they decided to comment on the use of their famous Olde English logo. “We do not condone the use of our trademark-protected name and logo by any organization,” The Globe told its stepsister paper The Boston Metro.
The occupiers seem to know this as they have a quote from Thomas Jefferson on their webpage: “The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed.”
The current online edition features a host of stories from within the movement and links to an impossibly dense Occupy Boston Google calendar. “Traditional media sources have served to raise awareness of our movement,” it reads on their Kickstarter, “but have thus far been inadequate in reporting on us as a group and as a diverse collection of individuals from across the social and economic board.”
This could possibly be a reference to the Boston Herald who, on Monday, actually published a story about the fashion of Occupy Boston: Grubby flannel and boots are all the rage at Occupy Boston,” writes Jill Radsken, “the hottest day-and-night hotspot in the city at the moment.” Grunge, she says, is back.
Or it is just that these people are poor?