Does anybody know what just happened at the Boston Globe? This morning Globe union staff, including news reporters & photojournalists, have been out helping deliver papers. As Craig Douglas reports for Boston Business Journal, it comes after an apparently disastrous switch to a new delivery vendor:
In an email today to Boston Newspaper Guild members, Guild President Scott Steeves said the Globe is “in crisis mode” following a Dec. 28 transition that saw the publishing giant switch to a new delivery vendor, ACI Media Group. The move triggered a wave of criticism from subscribers who failed to receive their daily deliveries of the Globe’s print edition following the change to ACI. […]
The Globe story said approximately 115,000 papers are delivered to subscribers each weekday, with another 205,000 slated for Sundays. If accurate, those figures would suggest that roughly 5,000-to-10,000 subscribers have seen delivery interruptions since the switch to ACI Media. The Globe story did not identify its prior delivery vendor or explain why service was negatively affected after the conversion to ACI.
What neither this morning’s Globe’s story nor any of the other news coverage reveals is exactly why all this has gone down. Was the Globe having trouble with its old vendor, or was this an attempt to cut costs at the expense of subscribers? Anyone know?
UPDATE 1/4: Mark Arsenault and Dan Adams report in today’s Globe that newspaper executives were warned the switch to new distributor ACI Media Group would be wrenching, but switched anyway to cut long-term costs:
[ACI’s president and chief operating officer Jack] Klunder, however, said he warned Globe executives that the switch would be enormously difficult. Globe officials dispute his account of those conversations.
“I said ‘I cannot describe to you how painful it is,’ ” Klunder said, recounting his warning to Globe officials. “I used the expression ‘massive disruption.’ . . . You’re going to get thousands of calls, e-mails — social media is going to be blistering you. The news media is going to be blistering you. You’re going to like where you are at the end of this cycle but you’re going to go through this.”
He said the fact that ACI’s contract with the paper carries no performance penalties for the first three months is “an acknowledgment on [Globe executives’] part of some level of pain.”
Owner John Henry has made clear he didn’t buy the Globe as a break-even, philanthropic enterprise – he bought it to turn a profit, and will keep cutting until he gets it. Whether that’s good for Globe subscribers or the Boston community? That doesn’t seem to be part of the equation.