Outsourcing: A threat to journalism, a threat to the future of the Globe

The media landscape is ever-changing. Boston Globe staff have kept pace with the times – and have continually adjusted and adapted the approach necessary to meet the needs of The Boston Globe. Reporters have demonstrated the ability to not just keep pace but to be a proactive force within this changing environment; current staff are the reason The Globe has been able to succeed in the digital space, as is often touted by executives.

And yet, despite that success, and despite continual adaptation, Boston Globe management’s proposals would:

  1. Give management the ability to outsource our jobs.
  2. Remove the clause in our current contract that would require any future owner to honor the bargaining agreement.
  3. Strip us of seniority rights during layoffs.

A power grab that gives management the ability to outsource the whole newsroom is not evolving to meet the challenges of the media landscape – it’s the opposite. It’s a short-sighted overreach that is an insult, and denigrates journalists and employees. Since Globe employees have clearly demonstrated their ability to find employment at other leading publications, this kind of scheme would ultimately hurt readers the most.

Outsourcing critical newsroom roles like copy editing, which often requires extensive local knowledge, can have disastrous impacts on the quality of the news. Copy editors play a critical role in ensuring stories ask and answer the tough questions that matter to Globe readers. Copy editors are part of the team that makes the difference between fake news and real news.

Boston Globe management’s current proposals would also strip successor language. No one knows what the future holds, but staff need to be sure hard-won protections endure if and when The Boston Globe is bought or sold. As slash and burn funds like Alden Global Capital take over papers across the country, making short-term profits by cutting newsrooms to the bone, successor language is a key protection we must stand behind to keep quality local journalism alive and sustainable.

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