The Boston Herald said today it needs 20 employees, about 5 percent of its staff, to take buy-outs as the recession takes a toll on advertising.
"The efficiencies the Boston Herald has undertaken in the past few years have allowed us to control expenses and perform reasonably well,'' Herald president and publisher Patrick J. Purcell (in photo) said in a statement. "But an unprecedented, ongoing downturn in the economy has resulted in additional decline in advertising revenue." Purcell declined to be interviewed.
Roughly 400 employees received letters today detailing the buy-out offer, according to the Herald. Last summer the tabloid laid off more than 100 employees and outsourced its printing to Chicopee and Norwood. Brian Whelan, president of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Boston, which represents unionized employees at the Herald, did not immediately return a phone call.
The buy-out offer comes at a difficult time for the news industry. Papers across the country are grappling with a withering economy, shrinking ad revenue, and pressure to make online news more profitable. Four major newspaper companies have filed for bankruptcy reorganization in recent weeks. The Rocky Mountain News, a daily newspaper in Denver, printed its final issue today after its owner, E.W. Scripps Co., decided to shutter the 150-year-old publication.
The economy is forcing many newspapers to reduce their staffs and cut pages to reduce costs. The Boston Globe is offering buy-outs after saying last month that needs to reduce its newsroom staff by as many as 50 positions.
(By Johnny Diaz, Globe staff)