Monday, April 20, 2009

US Senate panel to look at future of newspapers

Senator John F. Kerry will hold hearings in Washington next week on the financial problems facing the newspaper industry, as dwindling advertising dollars push many US papers to the brink of closure.

The hearings by the Senate Commerce Committee, beginning April 30, are the latest effort in the nation's capital to help out newspapers. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, Democrat of Maryland, introduced a bill last month that would enable newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits.

Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of a Commerce subcommittee, moved to spotlight the financial plight of newspapers after The New York Times Co. threatened earlier this month to shut down The Boston Globe unless its labor unions agree to $20 million in cost concessions, including pay and benefit cuts. The Globe is on track to lose $85 million this year, executives told labor representatives.

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The Globe has also posted Kerry's letter in PDF format.

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