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Zell: Pulitzer, Shmulitzer, just show me the money

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by goalmouth, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. goalmouth

    goalmouth Active Member

  2. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    "Fewer investigative reporters . . . more for dirtbags to rob and steal," say I.
  3. Sly

    Sly Active Member

    I wish it didn't come at the cost of jobs for our colleagues and the life of an American institution (the Trib), but I'm enjoying a bit of schadenfreude watching Sam Zell fall flat on his fucking face.
  4. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    Once again, a successful businessman suggests that newspapers have to operate like successful businesses to have a future, and this board rebels.
    I'm not a fan of cutting to success, either, but so many of his ideas here make perfect sense. And you think he's a villain?
    No wonder our business is in the crapper.
  5. Sly

    Sly Active Member

    I don't think anyone is disagreeing with newspapers having to find a successful business model in the times of an economic downturn and the death of classified advertising. I think most of us are instantly turned off by the scorn and disgust that Zell heaps upon us, our values and our profession every chance he gets.
  6. There's a way to phrase these things without pissing on the Pulitzer Prize, something us silly idealists still place on a deserved pedestal.
  7. goalmouth

    goalmouth Active Member

    I visited the Tribune tower several years ago and got to touch one of the many Pulitzer plaques displayed there. Call me sentimental, but it's our industry's version of the Stanley Cup, and a goal to which so many of us aspire.

    So a philistine such as Sam Zell can just as well fuck off.
  8. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Agree with:

    The part where he is talking about trying to find the weather in the newspaper so he knows the temperature for riding his motorcycle is moronic.

    Of course, goalmouth's proclamation of what was said is nowhere to be found and cannot be inferred by anyone who actually read the interview without bringing in an agenda. Still, it's apparent Zell has no clue as to how to change anything that's going on in the newspaper industry.
  9. McNuggetsMan

    McNuggetsMan Member

    Not defending Sam Zell because I have many problems with the tactics he is taking...

    But to say that a Pulitzer is a "goal to which so many of us aspire" is also a major problem. Newspapers should be in the business of informing readers. If Pulitzers naturally follow that goal, so be it. But how many papers try so hard to win a Pultzer that they ignore other less acclaimed issues that might be of far greater interest to readers and actually serve readers better. I am not talking about dumping all substantive news coverage to focus on britney spears. I am talking about redirecting some of the money that goes into funding large investigative teams that crank out 1-2 packages of stories each year in an attempt to win the pulitzer and instead spend those resources on producing 3-4 stories each month that will touch more readers and make the paper stronger.

    For all the Pulitzers that the LA Times won, did it really make the paper better? Could those resources have been better used in a way that would create more stories and touch more readers lives? The goal should be first to do good journalism and second to win a pulitzer. You compared the Pulitzer to the Stanley Cup. I think it should be more like the Hart. It's nice to win the Hart (Pulitzer) but you really want to win the Stanley Cup (quality journalism). If you spend all your time trying to win the Hart, your team night not win the Cup. But if you try to win the Cup, you will have a good chance at winning the Hart. Do good journalism and you might win a Pulitzer, but you will certainly create a great news product.
  10. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    I wonder if the Stanley Cup legend extends to the Pulitzer Prize.

    Meaning, you touched a Pulitzer before you won one.....and now you never will.
  11. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    As for Sam Zell, I can believe his claim that he didn't buy the company so he could be the captain of the Titanic.

    Looks more like he'd rather buy the ship after it sinks, or as it's still going down, so he can plunder the wreck AND make a fortune on the scrap metal market. "The Grave Dancer" indeed.

    "If you want to be a charitable trust, be a charitable trust. If you don't want to be a charitable trust, then you've got to focus on producing a return for investors' capital, and it's just that simple."

    Well, at least he's a newspaper owner who doesn't lie about why he's really in this business. No false nobility here.
  12. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    McNuggetsMan makes a point I actually agree with, although I do think that the stories the Times won Pulitzers for made the paper better. David Simon made this point a lot after he left the Baltimore Sun, and it's sort of the whole point of Season 5 of The Wire. You do good journalism for the sake of doing good journalism, not because you want to win a prize, because then too often, reporters become fixated on the actual prize as opposed to the storytelling and muckraking.

    Zell doesn't really understand what readers want, all he knows is that it makes him seem smart to declare that the current model is fucked and broken. I think it's very possible that we'll see a major newspaper go under in the next few years, and more and more, I'm betting it's going to be one of the Tribune properties. This idea that "we need to start giving the readers what they want" is absurd because it treats the readers like one giant package. They're no such thing. My neighbors don't want the same thing I do, and the people across the street don't give a shit about the weather, and my in-laws out in the county are made because the paper is too liberal, and the people a block away think it's too conservative, and they all just end up reading it on the web anyway.

    Until some bold thinker like Zell has the balls to say "We're no longer giving this away for free on the internet" then people aren't going to start reading the paper again no matter how many puppies or Pulitzers you dangle in front of their noses.
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