By Paul Gillin | June 27, 2013 - 5:00 pm - Posted in Business News, Layoffs, Newspapers

The ax is falling again at Advance Publications.

The company that cut back frequencies in rapid succession at its once-daily newspapers in New Orleans, Syracuse, Cleveland and, most recently, Portland,  is now threatening to shut down the Newark Star-Ledger unless it wins substantial concessions from the paper’s unions.

Publisher Rich Vezza  said the Star-Ledger, which is New Jersey’s largest daily, lost $19.8 million last year and will lose about the same amount this year this year. It’s threatening to outsource printing and production unless unions representing pressman, mailers, engravers and machinists  make significant concessions by a September 27 deadline.

A union executive said  union members are willing to negotiate but that the Star-Ledger has shown little interest in meaningful proposals. Ed Shown, president of the Council of Star-Ledger Unions, said the latest management proposal demanded a 55% cut in  wages and benefits.  The unions issued a joint statement  challenging management’s $19.8 million loss  estimate.

Vezza said the frequency cutbacks implemented at other Advance titles aren’t an option here. If an agreement isn’t reached, the paper will close at the end of the year, presumably idling its 771 employees. “This is not a threat. This is reality,” he told Philly.com.

This is the second time management has threatened to shut down the Star-Ledger. It used a similar tactic to bring significant concessions from unions in 2008, when it also laid off 40% of its newsroom staff.  Five years ago the paper employed 330 editors, but that number has since fallen by nearly half.

Other publishers have used closure threats of closure to pressure their unions. In 2009 The New York Times Co. forced major concessions at the Boston Globe and Hearst Corp. came within a few weeks of  shuttering the San Francisco Chronicle before unions gave in.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, June 27th, 2013 at 5:00 pm and is filed under Business News, Layoffs, Newspapers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Comments

  1. July 2, 2013 @ 9:36 pm



    So, does the author realize that Philly.com, from which he received his information, is the website for the Philadelphia Inquirer? And the columnist who write who authored the column on frequency cuts is a newspaper columnist? Am I the only one who finds it ironic that this site celebrates the death of newspapers, but is still almost entirely dependent upon them for information.

    Posted by Patrick
  2. July 8, 2013 @ 1:28 am



    PAul you are on TELEREAD today re SNAILPAPERS go look! dan and wordspy also adds snailpaper today and quotes you

    WordSpy finally adds ‘snailpaper’ to the lexicon
    A A A A A A A July 7, 2013 | 11:00 am
    Posted in: newspapers
    Tags: blogs, Dan Bloom, Gene Weingarten, language, meme, newspaper, Newspaper Death Watch, snailmail, snailpaper, Taiwan, WordSpy

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    By Dan Bloom
    In 2009, Paul Gillin at a blogsite called Newspaper Death Watch (tagline: “Chronicling the Decline of Newspapers and the Rebirth of Journalism”) wrote about a new and humorous term he had just heard of for print newspapers, noting:

    ”[A blogger] has come up with a new word for newspapers. He calls them ‘snailpapers.’ But the longtime newspaperman insists this is a term of endearment, not derision. He thinks maybe if newspapers poked more fun at themselves instead of getting all righteously indignant about new media, they would generate more sympathy.”
    TeleRead recently published two articles (here and here) that mentioned the snailpaper meme, which apparently caught the attention of WordSpy editor Paul McFedries, who added “snailpaper” to his long list of new words and phrases.

    Defining a ”snailpaper” as ”a newspaper delivered physically and so more slowly compared to online news; the print edition of a newspaper,” WordSpy cited a TeleRead article headlined “Scissors, Paper, Screen: The Future of Reading”. McFedries also cited a February 2013 article from Vegas Inc., written by by Bruce Spotleson, which noted in a news brief that “April 7 is International Snailpapers Day, celebrating hard-copy media.”

    The earliest citation from WordSpy was dated 2005, and came from the Washington Post. “Those of us reading your snail-paper version of the BtB column this Sunday got a jolt when we turned from the front page of Style to the jump page 3,” wrote Gene Weingarten, a revered Post humorist, in his column titled “Chatological Humor.”

    McFedries notes that the novelty term is, of course, ”a play on snail mail: letters, bills, and other mail delivered physically and therefore much more slowly than e-mail. Slightly surprisingly, snail mail entered the language as far back as 1982 (h/t OED).”

    And it’s true. In 1982, Bill Lee wrote an email using the snail mail term (two words) for the first time, we believe, that read: “No one else may have answered this for you by now (our Unix-Wizard mail is slower than snail mail these days) but I’ll give it a shot.”

    In keeping with the good humor behind the snailpaper term as both a term of endearment and pointed humor, I wrote “The Snailpaper Statement” a few years ago and retrieved it today online.

    It reads:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that while the Digital Age is upon us fast and furious, the print newspaper—hereafter dubbed the “snailpaper”—shall persevere as a good daily read, a fascinating look at the world around us and a valuable tool for understanding oped pundits and above the fold headlines. Sure, the dear snailpaper will also be seen as a useful tool for wrapping fish at the local fish market or lining the bird cage in the den, but all kidding aside the daily snailpaper can hold its head high and be certain of its place in the culture.

    ”While news migrates in pixels and bytes to the Internet at an exponential rate, piling breaking story upon breaking story and turning everyone and his mother into a 24/7 news freak and RSS aggregator, the plodding snailpaper will nevertheless remain the bedrock of analysis and insight, from sea to shining sea, delivered at a snail’s pace, yes, read at a snail’s pace, yes, and absorbed, word for word—on glorious printed paper! white newsprint reflecting inked letters!—at a snail’s pace, yes, as long as the Republic of Letters shall live.”

    Dan Bloom is a longtime print newspaperman based in Taiwan who is still adjusting to the new world of online news and opinion.

    Posted by dan bloom
  3. July 20, 2013 @ 9:35 am



    Please read the About page. This site doesn’t celebrate the death of newspapers. In fact, we mourn them. It’s about the reinvention of journalism. As we have noted repeatedly, readership of the content provided by professional news organization is at an all-time high, yet the business model doesn’t support their long-term viability. That is the real irony.

    Posted by paulgillin
  4. September 27, 2013 @ 10:45 pm



    As an MHRA I get a big thrill out of the slow death of the main stream media.