Attention Mr. Geffen

May 27, 2009, 4:29 PM UTC

geffenHi, David.

I read in a magazine someplace that you were interested in saving the New York Times. I think it’s a terrific idea. Something about setting up a non-profit foundation that would run it, so the pressures of the business would not impinge on Journalism being done there. I can’t think of a better idea. It’s clear the newspaper business is in some kind of trouble, with Craig’s List snatching all its classifieds and the citizen journalists getting things wrong so they don’t have to.

I have one other idea for you. It came to me when I was reading the Thompson/Reuters news rundown this morning. Here is the item I read in its entirety:

According to the AP, Unions that represent mailers and printers at The Boston Globe have agreed to concessions they hope will keep the newspaper, owned by The New York Times, publishing. The Boston Mailers Union voted 107-95 to approve $5 million in cuts, while the Boston Printing Pressman’s Union accepted $2.2 million in concessions.

That was really interesting to me. The Boston Globe, which I believe is owned by the New York Times Co., can only stay in business if the working people who help to distribute the newspaper give back a total of $7.2 million. I know that’s a lot of money to a pressman or mailer, particularly when it’s expressed in personal terms. But in the vast scheme of things, I was honestly quite surprised at the small scale of the problem that could wreck the business system to the extent that the newspaper might go under if it wasn’t solved.

So, Mr. Geffen, I guess I’m just suggesting that as you contemplate laying down hundreds of millions of dollars to set up a foundation to save Journalism – a truly laudable goal that just might be necessary to the preservation of our democracy – is it possible that some little wafer of that largesse might be applied to what appears to be a very small part of the much larger problem?

And to my readers: Yeah, that’s right, you guys. I’m talking about NOT sticking it to the Unions. You wanna make something of it?