The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Saturday, January 15, 2005

New York Times and the Boston Metro - the real story?

The New York Times Company is under the spotlight for its sub-par performance and lack of strategic direction (January 13).

Whether the connection is casual or causal, the Metro affair may turn out as an illustration of some of these problems.

The NYT Co agreed to pay $16 million [1] for 49% of the Boston Metro - the joint press release dated January 4 2005 has a slice of the usual guff from Chief Operating Officer of the NYT Co Janet Robinson [2]:
"We are very pleased about this new venture with Metro USA. It furthers our long-term strategy of serving our audiences in Boston.

The NYT Co already owns the Globe, of course.

Quite what is in it for the the NYT Co is not clear - Metro retains management control and there will be no input from Globe people in editorial production.

On the downside, there is the nigger-joke kerfuffle (January 11) - which is not going away any time soon (more later on that).

And - surprise, surprise! - the Boston Herald is not best pleased. Herald Media have complained to the Justice Department that the Metro deal breaches anti-trust laws (Globe January 14) [3].

The Globe journo kindly marks our card:
Some legal specialists say the Justice Department is traditionally skeptical of antitrust complaints brought by competitors, while complaints by consumers, which in media cases might include advertisers, tend to have more weight.

My guess is that the NYT Co takeover of the Globe was not that popular in Beantown; and that, though the Herald is clearly sectional and also has a giant commercial axe to grind, there are enough Dittoheads in the Bay State (who can write) to have quite a party - stopping the Metro deal would be a bonus - at the expense of the Emmanuel Goldstein of the liberal media. (I'm sure the local talkers will be on it - perhaps even O'Reilly and Limbaugh.)

Which brings us back to the nigger-joke story. And the question, why now?

Which I'll get onto shortly.

  1. By way of comparison, net income for 2003 was $303 million (10K - p22).

  2. Who has just taken over in the job from Russell Lewis.

  3. According to E&P, Herald Media itself tried to do a deal for a production contract for the Metro which came to nothing.

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