I recently had the privilege of chatting with NPR's On the Media about the ongoing Boston Globe crisis. If you're going to listen, do it fast, because after today's big union-management confab, the situation could be radically changed.
One comment I made in the segment requires clarification. At the 2:49 mark, I told Bob Garfield that the Times Co. "refuses to publicly say what [the Globe's] losses are specifically."
The Times Co. has said, in public filings, that the Globe's 2009 operating losses were estimated to be $85 million, prior to the implementation of new recent revenue-generating measures and the securing of union concessions--a striking departure from the company's policy of not disclosing the profitability, or lack thereof, of its individual newspapers.
What the Times Co. hasn't done is provide a detailed accounting of the various losses that comprise that $85 million. For example, Times Co. spokesperson Catherine Mathis recently told the Poynter Institute's Rick Edmonds that the $85 million figure included depreciation, amortization, and special charges. But Mathis declined to provide an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) loss figure.
My recollection is that, after making my comment about the Times Co.'s lack of specificity, I cited Edmonds' interview with Mathis. No such reference is included in the audio, however--so either it was edited out or my memory is faulty. In any case, that's where the Times Co. has balked at giving publicly giving specific Globe-loss details.