New York Times Co. chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and CEO Janet Robinson sent out a self-congratulatory memo this morning. Among their accomplishments: the New York Times still exists, despite Michael Hirschorn's prediction that it might not. Hirschorn tells us: "Speaking as 'one writer,' I'm genuinely happy to be proven wrong." Also, employees have lost a lot of their pay and benefits and they're raising newsstand and subscription prices. Go team! (via Nieman Lab and the Awl)
On the Record . . . From Arthur + Janet
June 25, 2009
To Our Colleagues,
The month of May came and went and, contrary to the prediction of one
writer, we did not stop printing The New York Times. But given all the
speculation and incorrect information that has been reported about our
Company, we think it is important to create a regular letter written so
that you get the facts directly from us - on the record. In the first of
what we expect will be frequent e-mails, we'd like to talk about recent
events at The Boston Globe. Future letters will discuss financial
transactions, advertising, circulation, costs and the digital challenges we
face as well as other issues as they arise.
All of you know, only too well, that this has been a difficult time for the
economy, the industry and our Company. The recession has amplified the
downward secular trends in our business and caused steep declines in
advertising revenue, particularly in the recruitment, real estate and
The Globe was one of the first metropolitan newspapers to be deeply
affected by the secular and cyclical forces that are now roiling the entire
media industry. Revenues at the New England Media Group (which includes the
Globe, Boston.com, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and its Web site) have
declined from $700 million in 2004 to $524 million last year.
In the fall of 2008, the Globe and Boston.com developed a strategic plan to
deal with their operating loss, which earlier this year was projected to be
roughly $85 million in 2009. The plan has several components to increase
revenues and lower costs. Here are the strategic steps we have taken:
• We have just completed the consolidation of printing facilities in
Boston, which is expected to save $18 million a year.
• In the last month, we significantly raised prices on newsstand and
home-delivered copies of the paper.
• The compensation of the Globe's managers and other nonunion employees
were significantly reduced in 2009/2010 through a salary reduction and
elimination of their annual incentive plan.
• The Globe's labor contracts are being restructured in order to save $20
million in annual operating costs - essential to our turnaround plan. We
had reached agreements with seven unions that provided slightly more than
$10 million in savings. Yesterday we reached an agreement, which is subject
to ratification, with the Boston Newspaper Guild, which would provide us with
another $10 million in expense reductions.
There will be still more to come but with these steps the Globe is on a
path to a more secure financial future. We are deeply grateful to all of
our colleagues in Boston for the hard work and sacrifices they have made to
put the Globe on a stronger financial footing.
In future letters, you'll hear from us about other things we are doing to
strengthen our Company and prepare us for the future. These are tough times
and we recognize that all of you are working very hard to make tomorrow
better than today.
Thank you, we deeply appreciate it.
Arthur & Janet