FBLA EXCLUSIVE: E&P Publisher of the Year N. Christian Anderson Looked Bush in the Eye, Didn’t Blink

AndersonChris_L.jpgEditor & Publisher named N. Christian Anderson III, editor of the year this week, lauding the publisher of The Orange County Register for helming a paper that “was one of the first, and strongest, opponents of the war in Iraq.”

Anderson tells FBLA that opposing the war was a no-brainer for the libertarian daily.

“The Iraqi government had done nothing to cause us harm, protestations from the president notwithstanding,” Anderson said. “I remember a conversation I had with President Bush when he visited Santa Ana. I suggested — at the behest of Cathy Taylor, our VP of opinion and commentary — that he follow the Powell doctrine and make a decision on invading Iraq based on those principles.

“He looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘Saddam is a bad guy.’

“I didn’t and don’t think that is a reason to go to war.”

E&P also says the Register under Anderson’s leadership is “pointing a path for newspaper revitalization,” in a time when so many think newspapers are on their death beds.

Perhaps counter-intuitively, Anderson says the only way for newspapers to survive is if they stop being just newspapers.

“To endure, of course newspapers must be relevant and thus ever changing. But the key to our future is to take all the talented people we have and figure out how to turn their wonderful work into content that can be delivered in a variety of ways,” he said. “First and foremost is how to deliver it in interactive formats.”

“So while I can’t say precisely how newspapers need to adapt, other than listening to customers and responding to their needs, I can say that we need to think of ourselves as more than newspapers.”