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If you haven’t seen this yet, it is a fascinating Q&A with the guy who orchestrated Platinum Equity’s purchase of the Union-Tribune.
Louis Samson is the kind of person that could really do some special things with that organization. He obviously knows business and he has that kind of brutal confidence that both scares and inspires people.
I wish him all the best — it’s in nobody’s interest to see the paper dissolve or lose focus any further than it has.
But I did find the below exchange pretty odd when contrasted with one further down. Perhaps I’m not the only one.
First, his goals:
How long can a significant print audience be sustained, given low readership in younger demographic groups? Do you feel that the newspaper content needs to be changed or improved to sustain the audience, and if so how? Do you plan to pursue younger readers or target the paper at the current, older core audience? Do you plan additional promotions or any other changes in marketing strategy?
Improving the product and focusing on readership are fundamental elements of our plans for the business. Where and how we do that will be determined by management in a comprehensive strategic plan. We aim to ensure the Union-Tribune’s relevance and value proposition — in print and online — is well-defined, well-understood and well-targeted.
Now, I’m curious how he squares that with this further down:
Who will be running the paper? Will someone have the title CEO and/or publisher? Will there be a new editor?
We are hopeful that Karin Winner will continue as editor of the paper. Her experience and leadership will be important not only in preserving and improving the content of the newspaper, but also in developing and executing its overall business plan.
Do these visionary new owners really hope that Karin Winner will continue to serve as the editor of the U-T? Perhaps I’m off but it seems odd that you would simultaneously say the product needs improvement — and that is the core of your business plan — while expressing confidence that the person who’s been in charge of that product, for so many years now, is the one you hope will continue in that role.
Then again, there’s a reason that guy has so much more money than I do. We’ll see if he knows what he’s talking about.