May 30, 2012 · 0 Comments
By Jessica Heslam and Christine McConville:
The New York Times [NYT] Co. plans to shut down the Boston Globe’s remaining suburban bureaus next month — another sign that the Big Apple company is setting the stage to sell the Hub broadsheet.
An official within the Globe’s biggest union, the Boston Newspaper Guild, told the Herald yesterday that the Times plans to shutter the rest of the newspaper’s suburban bureaus June 22 to avoid taking on any more leases.
A Times Co. spokesman declined to discuss specifics, but said the Globe’s bureau employees have relocated to its Morrissey Boulevard headquarters.
“Over the last year, we have consolidated our suburban staff in the main office,” said Times spokesman Robert Christie. “They continue to cover suburban news for our regional print sections and online operations, all of which is made easier with today’s mobile technologies.”
But Christie said: “We remain committed to a strong Washington, D.C., bureau.”
A recent New York magazine piece revealed that Times bigwig Janet Robinson was canned for balking at a Globe sale, fueling speculation the paper is now for sale. When Robinson’s exit was announced in December, it sparked a wave of unrest among Globe rank and file. The Bay State native always had been a Globe ally who touted her local roots to the paper’s union workers, telling them her mother read the broadsheet every day.
“The publisher has had to calm people down,” one Globe employee said. “People went through so much three years ago, and they don’t won’t to go through something like that again.”
The Times Co. had threatened to close the Globe in 2009 until its unions coughed up $20 million in concessions. In September, the Globe’s biggest union — which includes editorial, advertising and business office workers — began negotiating a new contract. The current one expires Dec. 31.
A source close to Wellesley greeting card entrepreneur Aaron Kushner said he’s soliciting investors for a Globe bid. Kushner couldn’t be reached for comment. The Times spokesman declined to comment on any sale bids.
Benchmark Co. analyst Edward Atorino said the Globe will be a hard sell: “It’s going to be hard to find a buyer unless there are some people in Boston who want to see the Globe survive. There are some rich people in Boston that may want to save the Globe and subsidize it indefinitely because they can afford it.”
James Boyce of Boston-based Common Sense New Media Strategies said, “The Boston Globe is like the expensive house that’s dramatically overpriced and sits on the market forever.”