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NYT's David Carr rips Tribune execs

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Cousin Jeffrey, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    Very indicting take on Sam Zell's disastrous tenure at the Tribune, especially in hiring shock jock Randy Michaels to run the show. Too bad they didn't print more of Lee Abrams' hilarious missives.

  2. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    It reads like "American Pie: Newspaper Camp," except only journalism got screwed.
  3. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    The surprise isn't that someone was stupid enough to buy a media property in the last 10 years and think they could make money off it. The surprise is how they were smart enough to make the money to buy a media property in the first place.
  4. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    It's very hard not to call this simply an organized theft ring. They used debt to get the power to steal from the employees, now they're using blackmail in bankruptcy to steal from the creditors.
  5. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Well, here's a shock:

    "Despite the company’s problems, the managers have been rewarded handsomely. From May 2009 to February 2010, a total of $57.3 million in bonuses were paid to the current management with the approval of the judge overseeing the bankruptcy. In 2009, the top 10 managers received $5.9 million at a time when cash flow was plummeting.

    Mr. Wood, the board member, said, “We think they earned those bonuses. They’ve done a fabulous job in very difficult circumstances.” "

    A 'fabulous job'? Really?

    Where are the indictments?
  6. goalmouth

    goalmouth Active Member

    Little new info in Carr's piece we haven't heard over and over. Saddest part is comments from readers who say they are hearing it for the first time. Tribune was dying anyway; Zell played Kevorkian then emptied the corpse's pockets.
  7. Jersey_Guy

    Jersey_Guy Active Member

    I find their new web format so unreadable and ad-dominated that I intentionally avoid clicking on links to LA Times and Baltimore Sun stories.

    And, yes, I think you could certainly make a case against Zell and Co., perhaps more for breach of fiduciary duty than criminal theft.
  8. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    As it happens, I'm going to Chicago tonight to do a radio show about my book on The Washington Post -- WGN, Milt Rosenberg the host, 10-to-midnight -- and he's bringing in the top two editors at the Trib and the Sun-Times editor -- this should be fun!....
  9. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Hey Dave, I know you want to pump your book, a fine top priority. But if you get the chance, try to hold those editors' feet to the fire a little on presiding over the sinking of their ships. Not all of Tribune's or Sun-Times' problems were the result of bad ownership. Poor newsroom management for years and years has contributed to the decline at most places -- often from the wrong people getting promoted into the (absence of) leadership roles. In a city big, vibrant and newsy enough to have two newspapers superior to what it currently has.
  10. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    Absolutely, Joe, that's what I meant by "this should be fun"....it's stunning to consider the talent that's been dumped by the Trib as a result (mostly) of Zell's grave-dancing deal....of course, the Sun-Times lost its way long before...
  11. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    It's pretty clear that Michaels is a clown but can they get anyone to go on the record?

    Are these really reasons to grant someone anonymity?

    As for the product, it's a joke. It looks good only in comparison to the Sun-Times.

    The most interesting stories often come from the LA Times, but have no local relevance. The website is a disaster. It's unappealing to look at, it's not updated often enough, and it's full of "lists" like "Chicago's Best Burgers."

    The iPhone app also sucks.

    Why is the New York Times capable of building an attractive & useful website (and app), but the Tribune isn't?
  12. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Am repeatedly surprised at how thin the content in the Tribune is. Though I guess that "repeatedly" part is really on me for picking one up again and again. Hoping for a better outcome, I suppose.

    And while I know what you're saying, YankeeFan, in terms of pure content, I'm annoyed when I see the Tribune-generated stories from, for example, other outlets like L.A. or Baltimore in the Chicago newspaper. That is a reminder of how little ambition the individual papers have and rude treatment of local readers, serving them something cooked up in another market. Some stories span the local boundaries, but the Tribune papers go to ridiculous lengths.

    Sports is a prime offender, forcing fans in one city to read the "national" writers based in other cities. The worst is the stupid point-counterpoint topics where a couple of writers who have nothing to do with the paper you're reading -- and often work at more Podunky places -- takes sides on some editor-generated "issue." Zzzzzzzzzzz....
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