The New York-Boston Times-Globe

June 12, 1993

The sale of the Boston Globe to the New York Times has a familiar ring to Marylanders. Much the same thing, for much the same reasons, occurred here when The Sun and The Evening Sun were bought by the Times Mirror Co. in 1986. There aren't many independently owned major daily newspapers left in this country controlled by a family or two with a long tradition of publishing -- the Providence Journal-Bulletin and the Dallas Morning News are examples that come to mind. The New York Times is the family-controlled centerpiece of a publishing empire, as is the Los Angeles Times, flagship of Times Mirror.

Newspaper people greet such events with mixed emotions. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, chairman of the New York Times Co., has promised autonomy to the Globe's management and editors, just as Times Mirror has accorded it to this newspaper.

The economics of major-city daily newspaper publishing and the inevitable dispersion of family ownership through succeeding generations combine to make sales like these inevitable. Getting information to an audience that needs it quickly and in great variety is no longer just a matter of high-speed presses, rolls of paper and plenty of trucks. Much of the gathering, writing, editing and production of newspapers is accomplished electronically, and so inevitably will be its distribution. That often requires a major infusion of capital and shared technology. Frequently it coincides with the diffusion of stock ownership over the generations. Owners who want to preserve their heritage -- and not necessarily sell out to the highest bidder -- pick a buyer carefully.

The Globe is the dominant newspaper not just in the Boston area but in all of New England. It has a strong record for news enterprise and editorial courage. Not many newspapers have found it necessary to install bullet-proof glass in their newsroom windows, as the Globe did during the school desegregation upheaval two decades ago. But ownership by the New York Times will give one news organization influence over an entire region of this country, from northern New Jersey to Maine.

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