Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Bringing The Star-Ledger Back From The Brink

But It's A Safe Bet New Jersey's Largest Paper Will Be Back There Before Long

So, the bullying and threats by Newhouse at The Star-Ledger worked.
Enough non-union employees took a buyout, while two unions pressured to accept deep concessions gave the company what it wanted.
All parties were told they basically had no choice. Newhouse had threatened to sell or shutter the paper if it didn't get its way. Everyone decided to swallow hard rather than bluff.
As readers of this space know, I've long been skeptical of Newhouse's threats to shutter the Star-Ledger, despite claims it loses up to $40 million a year putting it and the Trenton Times out.
Getting rid of the Star-Ledger would have effectively spelled the end for two other papers, the Jersey Journal and the Staten Island Advance, which rely on the Star-Ledger for some of their content.
Maybe Donald Newhouse was that serious. Still, the thought he would invoke newspaperdom's version of the nuclear option remains hard to contemplate. But I can understand why staffers didn't want to find out.
Meantime, the Star-Ledger's newsroom will be about one-third thinner, after 130 reporters and editors take voluntary buyouts. What's telling is a lot more than 130 signed up to leave.
Editor Jim Wilse says the Star-Ledger will remain the "watchdog" of New Jersey despite the cuts.
Sounds like he's barking up the wrong tree.

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