Monday, April 27, 2009

Is NY Times Ignoring Voice of the People?

Struggling to save its flagship paper, The New York Times Company (NYT-$5.25) threatens to shutter The Boston Globe unless The Boston Newspaper Guild, the Globe’s largest union, makes $20 million in concessions by May 1. Management would have NY Times shareholders believe that the Globe will lose $85 million in 2009 because of the recession and subscribers deserting to online news. However, many folks in New England will tell you that circulation is falling because the paper no longer speaks to (and for) the readers.

“The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and, however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true to fact. The people are turbulent and changing, they seldom judge or determine right.” ~ Alexander Hamilton

Looking to close a projected $3.5 billion budget shortfall, Massachusetts’ legislators are pushing for an increase in the state sales tax, from 5.0 percent to 6.25 percent. Rather than talk about fiscal responsibility or the need for spending cutbacks, the Globe voices its support for a tax hike, disingenuously opining that the “MA [existing] sales tax ranks lowest among the 45 states that have a sales tax, once adjusted for personal income [source: Michael Graham,
“The Natural Truth”].”

Although there are those who argue that I, too, am guilty of manipulating the facts—"it’s the Internet stupid!"—ignoring the voice of the people is not without consequence. The Globe’s daily circulation plunged 13.7 percent to 302,638 copies and Sunday readership dropped 11.3 percent to 466,665 at March 31, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations figures.

The opinions expressed herein represent only those of Editor David J Phillips. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.


Disassociated Press said...

I dumped my newspaper and newsmag subscriptions a decade ago when they decided it was more important to cheerlead for their favorite politicians instead of trying to report the news. The fact that these same politicians are now trying to dream up schemes to "save" these publications tells me I was right. Y, they may keep publishing, but their channel no longer comes in on my set. Screw 'em.

Anonymous said...

When i went to college up here (early 90s) the GLobe was a heck of a paper, in the top tier). Since I moved back here two years ago, I subscribed and then cancelled - the A section is all wire reports and pick ups from the Times, WaPost and LA Times - that or huge banner headlines celebrating local sports victories.
The big mistake in my mind - newspapers never should have given everything away for free online. But it's too late to undo that.