The Star-Ledger, New Jersey's largest daily newspaper, has been trying to negotiate a new contract with its delivery drivers in an effort to save costs. The paper had already reached a pact with mailers and pressmen, but talks with the truckers have stalled. As a result, publisher George Arwady made this bleak announcement yesterday, according to Keith Kelly at the Post:
Since it is doubtful that the drivers will ratify an agreement by Oct. 8, 2008, we will be sending formal notices to all employees this week. . . advising [them] that the company will be sold or failing that, that it will close operation on Jan. 5, 2009.
JPMorgan Chase has already been retained to oversee a sale, though the drivers' union is still hopeful for a deal. The paper loses millions each year, despite a daily circulation of 350,000 and a Sunday circulation of 520,000. The Newhouse family, whose Advance Publications owns the company (including the Trenton Times), set an early October deadline to try to turn things around, and has already offered buyouts in an effort to cut staff by over 200 people. It's a sad day for a paper that has existed in some form in Newark since 1832, and for the people in New Jersey, who are seeing their local coverage shrink every year.
TIME FOR SHOWDOWN OR SHUTDOWN AT THE STAR-LEDGER [NYP]