Despite the whole Red Sox vs. Yankees thing, employees of the Boston Globe were mostly relieved in 1993 when the paper was bought by the New York Times Co. for an astounding $1.1 billion. If the era of local family ownership had to end, nestling beneath the wing of one of the world’s great newspapers seemed the best alternative. And if the Times was willing to pay so much, it must have been serious about putting quality ahead of the bottom line.
That was then. Now, after several rounds of painful cutbacks and layoffs at the Globe, the Times is squeezing a further $20 million in savings from the Boston newspaper’s unions — and threatening to shut down the paper if the demand is not fully met. The economics of our industry are cruel and remorseless, but still it’s alarming to witness what looks like an act of cannibalism.
And. . .
Particularly galling to those who love the Globe, New England’s largest newspaper, is that the New York Times has maintained its national and international newsgathering capacity while the Globe has endured sharp reductions in staff and other resources. Eileen McNamara, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Globe columnist who left the paper and now teaches at Brandeis University, wrote this of the Times’ treatment of the Globe: “It pimped her out for profit during the booming 1990s and then pillaged her when times got tough. It closed her foreign bureaus and cheapened her coverage of everything from the fine arts to the hard sciences.”