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The New Jounali$m

July 26, 2010

Filed under: Coaching,Management,observations — admin @ 8:30 am

The following is an excerpt from a ‘Wall Street Journal’ interview with Randy Michaels, the CEO of the Tribune Companies. It reflects an attitude that will send a chill down the spine of local journalists everywhere and explains why these newspapers will never succeed as a group and will hopefully be sold off to revert to local ownership.

“WSJ: You’ve centralized the production of foreign and national news across your papers to save money and manpower. What have you done and why?

Mr. Michaels: Stories [are] laid out in modules — standard sizes with collections of headlines, content, images [reducing the need for layout and copy editors]. If you pick up the Allentown [Pa.] Morning Call, the foreign news was written in Los Angeles and the national news was written in either Chicago or Washington. It’s probably higher quality journalism than a local paper that size is going to be able to afford.”

In many ways I still consider myself a journalist – once it’s in your blood there’s not much you can do. I have seen too many newspapers ruined by this kind of number-crunching rationale and it pains me to see it repeated.

As a coach and managerial consultant it strikes me as exactly the wrong message to be sending to the employees who are working to get you out of the financial hole you put them in.

You can read the full interview here.

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