Editor's Choice

The vote heard 'round the newspaper world.

Twelve votes.

That was the difference Monday night when The Boston Newspaper Guild voted 277-265 against a new contract with the New York Times Co. that would have, if nothing else, guaranteed The Boston Globe a lifeline for a little while, at least. Instead, the paper now stares at the possibility of shutting its doors more intently than ever, considering the Times Co. said it needed at least $20 million in annual savings from Globe unions — half of that number slated to come from the Guild.

From the Associated Press:

The Times Co. demanded the concessions amid an increasingly dire financial situation at the Globe. The newspaper like others has struggled as readers migrated to the Internet, advertising revenue declined drastically and circulation fell. The Globe had $50 million in operating losses in 2008 and had been projected to lose $85 million this year.

Six other Globe unions have approved concessions — but they hinged on the Guild's ratification of new terms.

The Times Co. had said that if the Guild rejected the proposal, it would try to impose a 23 percent wage cut. It also has threatened to close the newspaper, which would require giving 60 days notice to employees and the state.

In a statement released after the vote, the Globe said it was disappointed with the outcome and had no "financially viable alternative" but to declare an impasse and impose the deeper wage cut to achieve the necessary savings.

"This evening we have sent a letter to the Guild stating that as a result of the rejection of this proposal, we have reverted to our alternative Final Record Proposal which provides for a 23 percent wage reduction for all Guild members," the statement read.

The cut would take effect next week. The Globe said the newspaper would be willing to meet with the union this week to review implementation of the cut.

The story continues to quote a bureau chief who makes the obvious point by saying a 23 percent decrease in pay would cost the paper “a lot of very talented journalists.” Another reporter is quoted as saying the Times needs to “take away the gun pointed at our heads.” Naturally, he voted against the contract.

This is rough, but monumental nonetheless. If The Globe goes down, having already seen the Rocky Mountain News fold and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer move to online-only content over the course of the past year, the demise of The Boston Globe might just be the proverbial white flag the newspaper industry has been trying so hard to avoid through these incredibly hard times.

And it’s utterly impossible to point fingers at this point, too. Workers need to get paid and companies need to make money. Both of those things have become increasingly hard to achieve in the world’s flailing economy, let alone a business that has been doing all it can to simply keep its head from being completely submerged in water.

Is this the end? Can something be worked out for both the Times Co. and The Globe? Can advertising dollars rebound in the second half of the year? Even more so, when the global economy happens to be fixed, will the newspaper industry benefit from that at all, or will it simply be too late? Is there hope?

If nothing else, these two parties need to come to an agreement when they sit back down later this week in order to salvage the humungous hit the industry’s morale would take should The Globe have to go under. Because while this problem may seem to come down to the mere value of dollars and cents, there is so much more at stake here than simply money.

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image