After wowing us with his analogy of newspapers as the new Rock’n’Roll, Lee Abrams, Chief Innovation Officer, for Tribune sends his troops this e-mail:
Someone asked me why I was moving to Tribune and continued with the comment that newspapers were the print version of the passenger train. I thought that News and Information has a lot in common with the transportation industry. Maybe newspapers ARE the modern day equivalent of the passenger train. Looked at by those old enough to remember, with great nostalgia. A tribute to a slower and saner era. Fair enough. But the New York Central Railroad would still be in the passenger business if, many decades ago, it evolved into delivering short, low cost, fast corridor travel instead of hoping there are enough people scared of flying to compete with jets. My point is simply flexing with the times. Just because railroad passenger departments blew it doesnâ€™t mean newspapers will.
Further on the transportation analogy, there’s the Internet. That’s space travel. No limits. Not yet even a microcosm of its potential. And TV — that’s the airlines. Very competitive and the standard. So, in general terms — newspapers need to re-invent themselves, Internet needs to build and fly the enterprise and TV needs to re-think itself in light of the competitive options on your set. Looks good on paper, but executing? It’s complex and intensive, but it ain’t rocket science. It can be done. Better yet — it HAS to be done.