"I am ecstatic with no-bullshit excitement and pride in joining The Tribune Company," writes Lee Abrams, hired from XM Satellite Radio. He calls news and information "the NEW Rock n Roll." His intranet blog post is published at Romenesko memos.
News and Information has been around since the dawn of Man, but it's a lot like where music was in 1952: Poised for a dynamic breakthrough that re-invest the media. The NEW Rock n Roll isn't about Elvis or James Dean, but it IS about re-inventing media with the exact same moxie that the fathers of Rock n Roll had. The Tribune has the choice of doing to News/Information/Entertainment what Rock n Roll did to music...to be the Ray Charles, Dylan's, Beatles and U2's of the Information age...or have someone else figure it out, or worse, let these American institutions disappear into irrelevancy. I think Rock n Roll is the best choice. America needs a heartbeat, and we can deliver that on 21st Century terms. Rock n Roll musically is behind us. NEWS & INFORMATION IS THE NEW ROCK N ROLL
Next: Terrorists don't scare him, but "a dumb America" does.
One thing that drives me nuts is Pop Culture's evil cousin that I call Junk Culture. Terrorists don't scare me...a dumb America is frightening. On a very personal level, it is important to me that I help Tribune fight 'junk culture'. Smart re-invention that enlightens. Websites can be Disneyland for the mind; TV stations (especially news) can put the Kent Brockman cliché to rest and create a visual experience that intoxicates with brilliance and freshness; And Newspapers! We owe it to our culture to make sure they thrive...We can make America smarter. Not more elite...just smarter.
Soul. I hope I can bring that out in us. Soul is something that big companies rarely have. And having it not only improvers the spirit, but it's a competitive advantage. Most media companies are soul-less. If we have Soul, we have a dramatic intangible advantage. Historically, the great companies had Soul. In the modern era, they do not. You know the ones that do. Those companies have FANS not just users.
Art. How unfashionable in today's bottom line World. But we need to be artists. Media Artists. A great artist delivers something that lasts and touches people. If we approach EVERYTHING from mail delivery in the building to breaking stories with an artist Point of View, we will create lasting change. Artists create Quality. Quality lasts. Art enriches lives. We can/will re-define the art of brilliant media.
The economics. I am an economic dunce. My old company would give me free vacation days during budget season so I'd stay out of the process. I know the "buzz" is cutbacks, fear, paranoia etc...Hey---that's part of the reality for survival. But I hope to encourage revenue growth in a different way.
More over there.