Andy Martin delivers “free lunch” to the Chicago Tribune newsroom
Martin tells Sam Zell that Zell can’t cut newspaper quality and expect to maintain monopoly profits. Martin says Zell is running a “Tony Soprano-style” organization based on the failed Clear Channel Communications model.
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ANNOUNCEMENT OF CHICAGO NEWS CONFERENCE JULY 12, 2008
ANDY MARTIN DELIVERS “FREE LUNCH” PACKAGE TO THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE NEWSROOM
INTERNET COLUMNIST/PERFORMANCE ARTIST MARTIN SAYS “WE CAN’T LET SAM ZELL STARVE HIS EMPLOYEES INTO SUBMISSION”
ANDY COMES TO THE TRIBUNE COMPANY’S RESCUE WITH ANOTHER CARE PACKAGE FOR EMBATTLED AND EMBITTERED TRIBUNE STAFFERS
IS ZELL BANKRUPTING AN AMERICAN INSTITUTION?
(CHICAGO)[July 12, 2008] Andy Martin will come to the rescue of the embattled and embittered Chicago Tribune newsroom with a “free lunch” on Saturday. This is Andy’s second “care package” to the suffering Tribune staff.
“Friday’s (July 11th) paper was obese with ads. And Zell wants to add more advertising? Does this man’s greed have no limits? Zell wants to cheapen the Tribune Company product but charge the same price. Is he a genius, or what?
“Zell seemingly wants to run a mafia-style ‘bust-out’ instead of a genuine newspaper/TV/communications company. He’ll sell everything off as he destroys the company. This is Sam Zell’s Tony Soprano version of ‘journalism.’
“The Tribune Tower? Peddle that. Put the employees in a sweltering strip mall.
“Markets fluctuate and the economy certainly fluctuates. Zell wants to use the recession to destroy the Tribune Company’s newspapers. He has begun by cutting the L. A. Times to the bone, and by introducing mind-numbing measurement statistics, as well an asinine orientation on human/animal sex. I am sure Zell could temporarily trump up more interest if he put space ‘aliens’ on the front page. But how long would that trick last?
“The fact that Mr. Zell is an ignoramus, or that he feels his success squeezing higher rents out of old ladies in trailer parks entitles him to be a management guru, is not the issue. Even stupid people are often smart enough to hire experienced employees. Zell wants to chase experienced people out the door, cut the newsroom staff to barely above national Enquirer levels, and then ramp up profits. It won’t happen.
“The Clear Channel Communications model Zell is using destroyed the radio industry, shafted stockholders, and left behind a company no one wanted. They had to file a lawsuit to get someone to buy Clear Channel.
“Newspapers undoubtedly face a difficult economic environment. But instead of dismantling news organization, I believe that keeping these operations intact is a far better long-term strategy. Newspapers are never going to return monopoly profits again. But if you look at Friday’s Tribune, fat as it is with ads and special sections, the print media can still be very profitable. It is greed that gets you in trouble. And Zell’s ego makes him greedy.
“Can you cover the growing Los Angeles market with half the reporters the former owners used? Can you cover the growing Chicago area with half the reporters the Tribune had? Orlando, Florida with half the reporters? That’s where Zell is heading.
“Cutting is easy; destroying is easy. Building is hard. Zell is a destroyer, not a builder. If you follow Zell’s reasoning, he should fire all his newsroom staff and let a computer assemble the paper ‘Google News’-style. But that would not be a newspaper anyone would pay to read. So you can’t cut your product to boost profitability. Worse, no one would advertise in a McZell paper produced by automatons.
“Zell is not going to save the Tribune Company. He will sell off parts-–some of them unrelated to communications such as the Chicago Clubs, and thus justifiably saleable—and continue to shrink his news staff and dilute the quality of his remaining product. Will he attract new readers with a cheaper product? Oy, vey, Sammy. Even young internet-focused readers will see a pig-in-a-poke when you water down the Tribune and the other company newspapers.
“Ultimately, Zell has overleveraged, and he may have to file for Chapter 11. He will end up having an ego trip and destroying the value created over a hundred years. The employees? They get wiped out, United Airlines-style. ESOPS? A legalized scam to steal from employees. It’s all very sad for American journalism, “Martin will state. “Zell will end up in bankruptcy or liquidation. Thirteen billion dollars is too much debt.
After his news conference Martin will deliver a “free lunch” to the embattled Tribune newsroom. “It’s the least I can do,” says Andy. “There are a lot of good writers and fine journalists at the Tribune. I feel for them being abused by a jerk such as Zell. My conscience will not let me stand by in silence as Zell hacks away at a great newspaper company. We are witnessing a tragedy in the making.”
SUNDAY: Andy Martin offers Sam Zell a cost-saving measure.
NEWS CONFERENCE DETAILS:
WHO: Internet Columnist/media critic/artist Andy Martin
WHERE: Public sidewalk, 435 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
WHEN: Saturday July 12, 12:00 P. M. (noon)
MEDIA CONTACT: (866) 706-2639
Andy Martin is a legendary Chicago muckraker, media critic, author, Internet columnist, radio talk show host and broadcaster. Andy is the Executive Editor and publisher of http://www.ContrarianCommentary.com. © Copyright by Andy Martin 2008. Martin covers regional, national and world events with over forty years of experience. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. Columns are also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com; contrariancommentary.wordpress.com. Andy is the author of Obama: The Man Behind The Mask, being published in July 2008, see http://www.OrangeStatePress.com. MEDIA CONTACT: (866) 706-2639 E-MAIL: AndyMart20@aol.com [NOTE: We frequently correct typographical errors and additions/subtractions on our blogs, where you can find the latest edition of this release.]