N.J. Star Ledger Could Shut Down

Publisher George Arwady of The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., has told employees that the paper will close on Jan. 5, 2009, if 200 buyouts and several union concessions are not met, or if the paper cannot be sold.

The e-mail, obtained by E&P, sent to workers today is posted below. It comes about a month and a half after the paper announced it would need 200 employees to take buyouts–and the drivers and mailers unions to renegotiate contracts–or the newspaper could be sold. In recent weeks, Arwady has indicated to staffers in other e-mails that the number of newsroom buyout takers has fallen short.

Editor Jim Willse and Arwady have not commented on how many staffers have applied for the buyouts first offered July 31. Calls to them were not returned today. Buyout applications are due Oct. 1.

Several staffers have said the overall 200-person buyout number may have been met, but the unofficial call for about 100 newsroom staffers is not being reached.

“At this time I have no update to give you on our buyouts thus far, except to tell you that the newsroom has a long way to go to reach the goal that Jim announced,” Arwady wrote to a reporter in an e-mail earlier this month.

To: All Star-Ledger Employees
From: George Arwady
Date: September 16, 2008
Re: Update

As I have previously told you, there are three conditions that must be met in order for The Star-Ledger to remain in business under its current ownership. Although we are making progress toward meeting two of our three conditions (the Mailers have a ratification vote scheduled for September 22), we still are far from an agreement with the Drivers