There is a very, very disturbing story in today's Boston Globe about the Globe itself. The NY Times company, which owns the paper, is demanding major concessions from the unions and is threatening to close the paper if it does not receive them. The thought of losing this newspaper is deeply disturbing. It is the major source for investigative journalism that keeps the government, corporations, and, yes, non-profits honest and accountable. We simply cannot afford not to have it.
Yet, I look at these two lines from the story and experience cognitive dissonance.
Catherine Mathis, a Times Co. spokeswoman, declined to comment last night. Globe publisher P. Steven Ainsley also declined to comment.
The Times Co. is seeking concessions from the unions because the New York company, which is also suffering from the recession, can no longer subsidize the Globe's losses, said the Globe employee who is not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
The entire story is splayed across the front page and yet company people will not comment or they seek anonymity. What is there left to be held confidential? If you are seeking concessions from the staff, you need to be totally transparent with regard to the situation so you can be trusted in providing accurate financial information. Maybe a union environment makes this harder to do, but it is not impossible.
Also, why isn't the Globe asking their biggest natural constituency -- the loyal readership -- for ideas and suggestions that might help in some ways to save the paper?
Back in 2007, I wrote about the newspaper and made some suggestions along these lines. Maybe they were good ideas or maybe they were stupid, but the point is that there are a lot of engaged and thoughtful people in the region who would want to help. My conclusion still holds:
If people believe it is their paper they will read it. Use the forces and opportunities of technology to make it happen so your excellent reporters and columnists can earn a salary and work on the really important functions envisioned in the Constitution.