'Boston Herald' to Cut 35 Newsroom Jobs

By: Jennifer Saba Patrick Purcell, president and publisher of the Boston Herald, announced yesterday plans to cut some 35 positions from the 200-person editorial department.

Purcell cited a challenging business environment as the reason he needs to find $7 million in cost savings over the year, according to The Boston Globe, which reported the story earlier today. "The Herald, like the newspaper industry as a whole, is facing significant challenges that have forced us to make difficult decisions," Purcell said in a statement. "I met today with the representatives from the Editorial and Commercial Guild and informed them that we have identified $2 million in cost saving measures among Guild members in our editorial department."

Tom Mashberg, the Herald's shop steward, told E&P that the Guild, which represents 145 people in the newsroom, expects to see buyout offers within the next week and a half. Staff cuts will be in place by June. "It's been a shocking and disappointing day," he said.

The move, no doubt, will dramatically affect the overall editorial product. Mashberg said he did not know how that would play out until after the cuts have been made. "We want the paper to be good and having a strong staff allows you to put out a good paper," he said. "It's going to be a hard road in the future."

Herald Spokeswoman Gwen Gage would not say what other departments might be under the axe. The Herald employs roughly 800 people.

The Herald has been surrounded by competition including the Globe and the free Boston Metro, which has been chipping away at newsstand sales. Several changes could occur at the Herald, including free home-delivery.

Earlier this year, Purcell challenged the move by The New York Times Co. -- which owns the Globe -- to purhcase a 49% stake in Boston Metro by filing an antitrust complaint with the Department of Justice. The Justice Department approved the transaction.

Rumors have also circulated that Purcell is putting the Herald on the block. He told the Globe in March it wasn't happening.


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