In your woozy Wednesday media column: multiple music magazines die, the Boston Globe thinks it's too tough to kill, Harvard newsies can't find jobs, Surface magazine gets a cheaper office, and a report from the newspaper conspiracy meeting:
Nielsen is folding 35 year-old trade mag Radio & Records, which is, as a tipster says, "Not a shocker in the slightest, considering the state of both radio and records." Also folding: Nashville-based mag Performing Songwriter. Neither playing music nor writing music nor writing about either is lucrative any more. Condolences.
The union representing the Boston Globe newsroom votes next Monday on whether to accept the New York Times Co's proposed financial cutbacks, which the company says are necessary to save the paper. A Globe reporter emailed the newsroom to try to "gauge sentiment," as they say, for a story he's working on about the vote. He got one particularly interesting response, from a political reporter who thinks that actually shutting down the Globe would bankrupt the NYT Co:
Why don't you examine whether the Times Co. can really make good on its threat to shut down the Globe without bankrupting the New York Times Co.? According to their SEC filing, it cost $31 million to close Billerica, with a fraction of the employees we have here at Morrissey Boulevard. To pay all the severance obligations of the 1,400 union employees (plus the managers) would bankrupt the parent company, it's pretty clear. The Times has something like $34 million in unencumbered cash and cannot borrow money (without going to Mexico and paying usurious 14-percent interest rates).
Firing people is expensive! Closing the BG to save money and going broke because of it would be...ironic? If you have more info on the theoretical math, email us.
Harvard Crimson editors used to get calls from media big shots offering them jobs, but now they only get calls from reporters looking for quotes about how bad they feel that they can't get jobs in the media any more. Sad.
Earlier this week we got a tip that Surface magazine had been forced to leave its downtown offices and move in with parent company Quadra, because it couldn't afford the rent. We asked the boss, Don Hellinger, who said: "The consolidation of the employees and management of Surface, Tokion and Inked has been planned since the acquisition of Surface was completed. No layoffs or employee terminations have occurred and there are non planned." Then we asked him again if Surface had to vacate due to brokeness, and he said: "The lease was in the name of Surface Publishing LLC. Quadra Media didn't have an interest in that lease and I'm not familiar with the details." Hmm...
A white paper full of recommendations for saving the newspaper industry has been released. Which would be unremarkable, except for the fact that this paper was produced for last week's murky meeting of newspaper execs that raised some eyebrows for coming pretty close to the line on antitrust issues. The recommendations are pretty standard—the two biggest being charge for online content, and "aggressively" enforce copyrights. So, that's what you will see happen in the newspaper industry soon, no doubt about it. Just as you suspected.