We need more newspapers

The odds are pretty good that one of America’s top-10 markets will be a one-newspaper town soon, but not before giving us a pretty good reminder of why newspapers are necessary.

The Boston Herald, which is bankrupt, is up for sale. The conglomerate — Gateway Media — that owns the Sleepy Eye (Minn.) Herald Dispatch and the The Wabasso Standard was poised to scoop up its skeleton.

The publisher of the Herald, prepping for its bankruptcy, has been pulling a $1 million salary out of the place because,he says, that’s how much he made working for Rupert Murdoch. His kids got taken care of, too.

The pensions that his employees were to depend on in retirement and unemployment? They’ll get pennies on the dollar. Maybe.

Who uncovered the story? The reporters of the Boston Herald. That’s guts.

The payments came as the paper slid into the red in recent years. The company owes $31 million, mostly in pensions and severance liabilities, and its current debts include hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid payments to its employee pension plans, according to court filings. The Herald, with about 240 employees, is set to lose nearly $3 million this fiscal year on about $34 million in sales.

Purcell said he set Magram’s compensation in light of “the outstanding job he did in negotiating various contracts” — from moving the Herald’s printing to Chicopee to relocating the newspaper to the Seaport.

The filing also outlined wages paid to Purcell’s four children on the Herald payroll.

The Boston Globe’s columnist Kevin Cullen calls it a metaphor for America.

Workers at the Herald are getting screwed. It’s not fair. And that the guy at the top is leaving with millions while ordinary workers are left swinging in the wind is merely a sad, depressing, and absolutely accurate metaphor for America in 2018, when CEOs earn hundreds and hundreds of times more than the people who give their blood, sweat, and tears for a company.

I worked at the Herald for a couple of years before joining the Globe. Had a blast, learned a lot. There are many good people at the Herald. I want it to survive.

The paper’s political slant is irrelevant to me, and gloating over its potential demise because you don’t like its politics or some of its writers, or maybe the fact that Purcell is riding off into the sunset with all that swag, is as mean-spirited and narrow-minded as Howie Carr’s juvenile lusting for the Globe’s demise.

The Herald employs 240 people. That’s 240 families.

After the Globe, it breaks more news — not some fire in some godforsaken town in the 495 belt, or a car crashing into an ATM in Randolph, but real news — than any other news organization in the metro area.

All you have to do is look at Washington to realize we need more, not fewer, newspapers.

In America yesterday, Walmart crowed about raising wages for its employees because of the tax reform legislation, then more quietly closed 63 Sam’s Club stores. Many employees weren’t told until they showed up for work yesterday and found the doors locked. About 11,000 employees could be affected.

As detailed yesterday, Americans hate their journalists. But some of its most wealthy are running cons, stealing people’s financial future and running off to Naples. Only one institution is calling them on it.

That’s why the same people are working so hard to get you to hate the news media too.