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Sam Zell Has a Plan

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Michael_ Gee, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    According to Romanesko, which I cannot link to for computer reasons, Sam Zell told Tribune staff two things.
    1. "We're not giving readers what they want."
    2. "We need to print smaller papers with more advertising."

    Tribune readers want less news and more ads. Who knew?

    You know, I'd respect the guy if he said, we're in a tough spot and here's what we need to and part of the tough spot is my responsibility. But America's executives don't seem to have any means of communication except self-serving bullshit.
  2. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    I just something on MSNBC about Zell cutting more staff and more pages.
  3. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    In some markets, I don't doubt that's true. I think without coupons, some small papers would die. But not in markets the size that Tribune Co. papers serve.
  4. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Here's one

    One of the main strategies outlined by Tribune Chief Operating Officer Randy Michaels involves measuring the productivity of journalists. "This is a new thing," he said. "Nobody ever said, 'How many column inches did someone produce?'"

    Michaels knows, and then proceeded to tell listeners, that in Los Angeles the average journalist at the Los Angeles Times produces about 51 pages a year, while in Harford, Conn., the average is more like 300 pages a year.

    Michaels acknowledged that different reporters, such as those dedicated to investigative stories, turn out various amount of copy depending on job descriptions. He did not mention if online contributions are included in the count.

    "You find you eliminate a fair number of people while not eliminating very much content," Michaels explained about the strategy. "I understand there are other factors. ... If you work hard and are producing a lot for us, everything is great."
  5. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Here's another


    The first paper to embrace this new customer-centric design will be the Orlando Sentinel, and it will debut on June 22. You'll see all of our papers incorporate some level of redesign by the end of September.

    Second, we must also strategically align the size of the paper we produce with what advertisers want. We will be assuming a 50/50 ad-to-editorial ratio base as a floor to right-size our papers. With that benchmark we can significantly scale back the size of the papers we print, and take significant costs out of our operating run rate.
  6. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    Whaddya expect Zellie ... you're giving them Iraq and puppies on the front!
  7. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    I would hate to be the projects guy at the Trib right about now.
    The guy who does one story a month.
  8. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    And there is, of course, no way to measure which stories readers remember for years and even decades and the goodwill that gives the paper. There may be an occasional deadline piece like Breslin on the gravedigger or Gammons on Game 7, but I'd guess most of them required an investment of time.

    I worked with a woman whose byline output was low and peers would snipe and management didn't appreciate her. But it seemed like every time she'd write, I'd get up and my wife had already read the paper and had written "Holy shit!" or "Wow!" on something that woman wrote in case I'd missed it. I finally got to work with her on a project right before she left, mentioned it to my wife and she said, "Who's she?" I said, well, she wrote blah-blah-blah and yadda-yadda-yadda. My wife said, "Oh, yeah, her! Great writer! What does she need you for?"
  9. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Shrinking the paper is cutting edge strategery!
  10. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Prediction: Zell will be broke within 18 months, and some major U.S. city will be without a daily newspaper.
  11. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    Zell to staffers: Write shorter stories so we can cut you during the next round of layoffs.
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    The first folks I would eliminate is whoever thought this was a smart, innovate idea and anyone who nodded their lapdoggy heads in agreement.
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