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To Cut Newspaper Jobs in Boston or Cut Pay?

Posted on August 12, 2008

With the lagging economy dragging down the already-volatile newspaper business, two large papers are taking different approaches on how to handle their jobs in Boston.

In June, the Boston Herald announced it would cut 130 to 160 jobs under a plan to outsource printing operations following a drop in circulation, according to an article by Reuters. Press workers, mailers, engravers and paper handlers are expected to receive the brunt of the cuts.

In September or October 2008, following the cutbacks, a Chicopee, Mass. plant owned by News Corp will print the Herald every day except Friday, at which time the paper will be printed by Boston Offset out of Norwood, Mass. The Herald’s competing newspaper, the Boston Globe, had considered printing the Herald but ultimately decided against it.

The Herald is currently a privately-held tabloid newspaper, and is part of Herald Media Inc., but was owned by Rupert Murdoch‘s News Corp. from 1982 to 1994. Like many American newspapers, the Herald’s circulation has shrunk in recent years. The paper’s average daily circulation decreased 9.5 percent to 182,350 in March, and the paper’s Sunday circulation dropped 4.7 percent to 105,629.

To further help cut costs, the Herald is looking into moving its newsroom, as the company entered an agreement with National Development to redevelop the six-acre Herald Square into office, retail and residential space.

The Boston Globe is not out of the woods either, as the company has announced its plans to reduce overhead by cutting employee pay by 10 percent, according to Editor & Publisher.

Industry officials recently met and clarified the cuts are only a proposal and part of the collective bargaining process. Further, it was noted at the meeting bargaining was not an option at this time, and Globe union leaders unanimously opposed the pay cut. The union represents about 900 employees.