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Newspaper Has a Good Day, Stays Alive

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By Kevin Fayle on May 06, 2009 3:09 PM

Today has been a rare bright spot for a deeply troubled newspaper industry that has seen a series of disasters befall it lately.

The Boston Globe announced that the paper, which is owned by the New York Times Co., reached a deal with its largest labor union, the Boston Newspaper Guild, that would allow the 137 year-old paper to continue publication.

Just how long it will be able to continue publication is another matter entirely, however.
The parties kept their mouths shut on the terms of the deal, but the Globe newsroom was able to get some the details and outline them in their story on the agreement.  The unions agreed to "a substantial pay cut, unpaid furloughs, and modifications to the lifetime job guarantee provisions that protect almost 200 employees,"  according to the Globe.

The union was the last holdout in ongoing negotiations meant to save the newspaper.  With the deal the Times Co. finally got the $20 million in concessions it wanted from the union.

Plus, eliminating some of the lifetime employment guarantees will make the newspaper more attractive to potential buyers if the Times Co. decides to sell it.

In other newspaper industry news, a Senate panel took up newspapers' plight and looked at options for keeping the industry afloat as online information channels cut into papers' revenues.  Sen. John Kerry led the discussion, which was appropriate given the news of his hometown paper, the Boston Globe.

One option that was discussed was government assistance for a restructuring of newspapers into not-for-profit organizations. 

While that might not be the most attractive option for investors in newspapers, they can at least take heart in the fact that someone in Washington is even discussing the matter.

See Also:
Secret Deal to Save Boston Globe (Gawker)

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