The Power of the Press: Jersey Style

So, I’m sipping a cup of Wawa hazelnut coffee yesterday scrolling PolitickerNJ on my laptop when I see this ominous headline: Publisher says Star Ledger could be sold or closed by January.

My first thought was Yikes! I can’t imagine Jersey without the Ledger. What will Christie do to keep his name recognition numbers up?

My second thought after seeing the Star Ledger’s own story in its business section today was it’s admirable the Ledger assign a veteran reporter to write a real news story about its own business troubles.

The Star-Ledger. Champion of full disclosure! Leader by example!

But then I realized the Ledger wasn’t spilling its last drops of ink to bare its corporate woes; the paper was baring its knuckles on its drivers’ union.

That’s right. The Star-Ledger is using its power of the press to muscle the Mail Deliverers Union into submission on contract concessions.

A new contract with the drivers’ union is one of three conditions Advance Publications, the Star-ledger’s parent company, says it needs or else it will shut down the presses. The other conditions are voluntary staff reductions at the paper, and concessions from the mailers’ union.

"It’s most unfortunate that we have to send out this notice, but the drivers have left us with no choice," publisher George Arwady is quoted as writing in an email to Ledger employees.

Donald Newhouse joined in a little contract negotiation saber-rattling by warning the newspaper will be put on the block or closed in January unless a resolution with the drivers’ union, as well as the other conditions, are met by Oct. 8.

But then Newhouse goes on to say of the situation with the drivers: "It's in negotiations, and it would be counterproductive for me to discuss the negotiations."

Ha!

You know the old saying: Don’t pick a fight with someone who buys their ink by the barrel.

The Power of the Press: Jersey Style