Saturday, April 04, 2009

Too Many Closings

These are dire economic times, with the signs all around. In the town where I live, several stores have closed in the town center -- and my favorite imported goodies store has frighteningly bare shelves & a nearly empty cheese cooler. I fear the worst.

On a much bigger scale, today's Boston Globe carried a headline that the same newspaper may close unless significant labor concessions are made by its unions, confirming previous speculation that the Globe was hemorrhaging money from its owner the New York Times. This week marked another round of cutbacks in the newsroom, and it seems about every 6 months or so another redesign occurs to attempt to hide (and cope with) the shrinking number of pages.

One of those redesigns has been the elimination of a separate business section, with instead the business section contained within the Metro section -- they are physically, but not logically merged. And as many may know, yesterday's had an obituary for my recent employer, which also noted the recent or imminent demise of several other biotechs.

It should be noted that the Globe seems a tad slow on the news. Codon, of course, unloaded the majority of its staff two weeks ago. Okay, nobody squealed loudly. It is a bit more striking that the Globe article stated that the ultimatum to the unions had been delivered Thursday -- how could nobody at the newspaper been tipped off to that!

The possibility of losing the Globe is very sad too me, as I truly have newspaper in my blood. No, I don't mean my family has a history of careers in the industry (though we do seem to dabble in it); I mean I've been reading the newspaper since I can remember, so I've certainly assimilated a good deal of into my cellular structures! I too dabbled in the industry, delivering for one paper (which ended operations shortly after I quit) and doing high school sports photography and reporting for two others (one of which also appears to be bust). I also edited my high school's newspaper, so I can take a tiny claim to once being an ink-stained wretch (is it possible to be stained with bits?). All through college and beyond, I've always had a subscription to the daily paper. While various deficiencies in local delivery have in recent years tested my loyalty, I still subscribe. Perhaps not much longer -- but not by my choice.

I do want to allay any concerns that this particular enterprise might be headed for a similar fate. Fear not dear readers! While revenue has stayed completely flat, in these times that must be considered an accomplishment. Omics! Omics! balance sheet remains out of the red -- as it always has. And just think -- any future revenue would mean infinite revenue growth!

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