When last we met, the sadreading staff noted two ominous takes on the future of the Boston Herald under the new ownership of Digital First Media.
First, the Boston Globe’s Jon Chesto and Andy Rosen made this prediction: “[I]ndustry experts and former employees said that if [Digital First] sticks to the playbook it uses at many of its other newspapers around the country, the Herald should brace for more cost-cutting beyond the 60 or so positions that are expected to be eliminated when the sale closes later this spring.”
On the Globe’s op-ed page, Nieman Journalism Lab director Joshua Benton was even more bleak, citing the dismal track record of Digital First’s parent company, Alden Global Capital.
Alden’s methods fall under the rubric of what some call vulture capitalism: Buy up papers, sell off whatever assets you can (like their offices downtown), and cut costs to the bone. The end game is to be sold off, or just shut down. To be owned by Digital First is to be gutted.
Especially considering this full-page ad in today’s edition of the shaky local tabloid.
Despite its best efforts, that ad looks an awful lot like ave atque vale. Because who knows how many of those “wonderful people” will be around a month from now.
From Greg Ryan at the Boston Business Journal:
Herald’s new owner to begin making job offers next week
The soon-to-be owner of the Boston Herald will start making job offers to current Herald employees next week, according to a letter sent to workers on Thursday, with the newspaper’s staff expected to be cut by more than 25 percent from its levels at the end of 2017.
Denver-based Digital First Media won a bankruptcy auction on Feb. 13 to acquire the Herald’s parent company from Pat Purcell for just under $12 million, beating out GateHouse Media and Florida private equity firm Revolution Capital Group.
Digital First has committed to offering jobs to 175 current Herald staffers . . . Employees have been interviewing to keep their jobs since last week.
But here’s the kicker: “At this point, it is not known whether those employees who are hired will receive their current salary.” Never mind sick time, vacation time, and healthcare plans, all of which are still undetermined.
And pensions? From all the evidence, that’s another ave atque vale.