1. Monday, February 4, 2008

    even though the signs at the Times say “you own this place” 

    Sam Zell is really the owner

    last month zell was in florida speaking to the Orlando Sentinel, one of the many Trib-owned media outlets. a woman asked a question that has been one that ive heard every week during my first few weeks at my dream job: what is news? what should we cover? what do the people want? what should we give them that they dont know they want yet?

    after the photographer asked sam the question and he answered, she followed up. he then followed up and concluded with an interesting lil f-bomb. this is how it will be described in tomorrows paper:

    In Orlando, Sentinel photographer Sara Fajardo asked Zell at the staff meeting for his views on “the role journalism plays in the community, because we’re not the Pennysaver, we’re a newspaper.”

    Zell, standing at a podium, responded, “I want to make enough money so that I can afford you. You need to in effect help me by being a journalist that focuses on what our readers want that generates more revenue.”

    Fajardo told Zell that “what readers want are puppy dogs,” presumably referring to soft feature stories. She added, “We also need to inform the community.”

    Zell shot back: “I’m sorry but you’re giving me the classic, what I would call, journalistic arrogance by deciding that puppies don’t count. . . . What I’m interested in is how can we generate additional interest in our products and additional revenue so we can make our product better and better and hopefully we get to the point where our revenue is so significant that we can do puppies and Iraq.”

    As he finished his remarks, he stepped back from the podium and muttered the obscenity.

    what’s interesting is when you watch and listen to the video below of the exchange, it doesnt sound all that bad. especially if you believe that maybe zell was reacting to the accusation that the woman turned her back on the owner when he was concluding his statement.

    either way, no one told me that it would be boring at the LAT, and therefore no one has been wrong. sam visits the LAT on super thursday, i hope i get to shake his hand.

    in other news our Homicide Report writer, the amazing Jill Leovy, is stepping down after a year, and explains that even during a year when murders went down here in LA, she always had a lot of work to investigate and report on. and it was far from easy.

    not only was i lucky enough to meet her, but ive recently met the man who will replace her and not only was he a cool guy, but he’s been reading the busblog for a few years now which always blows my mind.