New York: The Boston Globe will stay alive, at least through the weekend, after its management and a key union made progress in negotiations over cost cuts, a spokesman for the paper said early Saturday morning.
The Globe’s parent company, the New York Times Co, extended a deadline to get concessions from the Boston Newspaper Guild to Sunday, 3 May, at midnight.
“Because there has been progress on reaching needed cost savings, The Boston Globe will extend the deadline for reaching complete agreements with its unions,” spokesman Robert Powers said in a statement.
The Times had set Friday as a deadline for concessions it said were crucial to keeping the 137-year-old paper alive. The Times has threatened to shut the paper, which it said could lose $85 million this year.
The Boston Newspaper Guild met the Globe’s management in Weymouth, Massachusetts, southeast of Boston, on Friday night to discuss cost cuts at the paper.
“We have given the New York Times Company and Globe management proposals for deep cuts to our members’ pay and benefits that we believe will save The Boston Globe,” Daniel Totten, the guild’s president, said in a statement.
The guild did not provide specifics of the proposals.
Closely watched saga
People in the Boston region as well as many more throughout the United States have been closely following the twists and turns in the Globe’s saga.
Two US big-city dailies have closed this year, and others still might. If the Globe closed, it would be the most prominent U.S. newspaper so far to shut down and the biggest victim of changes wrought by the weak economy and changing reader habits in the 21st century.
The threat has prompted a groundswell of support from readers who cherish the paper, including Massachusetts Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, who wrote to New York Times Co Chairman Arthur Sulzberger to urge that he find a solution to keep the paper alive.
The Times Co is looking for $20 million in concessions from the Globe’s unions that it says are necessary to reduce costs at the paper. It has imposed other cost cuts at its other properties, including at its flagship paper.
The Times is trying to save money to help pay off debt as advertising revenue, its lifeblood, falls at its papers. Most other US newspapers are suffering too as more people get news online and the recession crimps ad spending.
Some major city dailies, including Hearst Corp’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer and EW Scripps Co’s Rocky Mountain News, have shut this year because of financial troubles.
The Globe has been a trouble spot for the Times. The company bought the paper for $1.1 billion in 1993, but since then it has been wracked by big declines in retail and other kinds of advertising.
The Times has not said whether it would sell the Globe, and the names of potential buyers that have surfaced disappeared just as quickly. It is trying to sell one another local holding, a 17.75 percent stake in the holding company that owns the Boston Red Sox.