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Boston Globe avoids shutdown – at least for now

Could it produce a prototype that other struggling big-city newspapers could use to survive the current recession?

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The Boston Globe will survive for at least another day, but the economic problems dogging New England's storied newspaper are reflective of an entire industry in the midst of a historic, wrenching transformation.

The Globe, which is owned by The New York Times Co., is reportedly on track to lose $85 million this year. That's almost a third of its operating costs. The owners, which had threatened to file a formal notice of intention to shut the paper down in 60 days, said Monday morning that they will defer that filing because they reached agreements with six of the Globe's seven unions.

Media analysts are watching closely how the Globe and the Times deal with the paper's daunting losses. Some hope the decisions could produce a prototype that other struggling big-city newspapers could model to survive the current recession, during which advertising revenues have plummeted and both readers and advertisers have flocked to Internet.

Boston Globe spokesman Robert Powers said the Globe is "very pleased" with the progress made so far, even though it's "disappointed" not to have reached agreement with its largest union, the Boston Newspaper Guild.

"Because of that, we are evaluating our alternatives under both the Guild contract and applicable law to achieve as quickly as possible the workplace flexibility and remaining cost savings we need to help put The Globe on a sound financial footing," he said in a statement issued late Monday morning.

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