Tribune Publishing Chairman Michael Ferro Worries About Bloggers, BuzzFeed

By Richard Horgan Comment

MichaelFerroHeadshotTo go along with today’s excellent profile of new Tribune Publishing chairman Michael Ferro, Chicago Tribune reporters Robert Channing and Becky Yerak have posted a full transcript of their Q&A.

The good news for newspapers like the Los Angeles Times is that Ferro has an extensive background in tech and online. And as is often the case when full transcripts are published, it’s some of the smaller details and asides that fascinate.

For example, in answering a question about his previous efforts to revive the Chicago Sun-Times, Ferro jumps at the end of his answer to a couple of sideline comments. Here’s the first:

“Journalism is important to save right now; it’s being taken over just like the weird politicians. Bloggers – that’s not journalism. You don’t use blind quotes most of the time. People believe BuzzFeed – it’s garbage. That’s the type of stuff I’m worried about.”

We’re not exactly sure what Ferro means by “people believe BuzzFeed.” The site certainly extends to the silliest side of things sometimes, especially on the burgeoning video front, but there is also a lot of solidly researched and executed content. Just as one example in the L.A. Times wheelhouse: the efforts of BuzzFeed’s Kate Aurthur.

And here’s the second comment at the end of that same Ferro answer that caught our eye:

“My wife asks if this [journalism] is a puzzle. I say, no, it’s a maze because you keep hitting dead ends and you have to go over again. It keeps your mind going. There’s a lot of need out there. There are a lot of other smart fellows — (Washington Post owner and Amazon CEO) Jeff Bezos – I was with in LA. (Netflix co-founder) Reed Hastings — we’ve had meetings. There will be other people who will hopefully help us.”

Hastings, now there’s an intriguing name-drop. The mind boggles at what the Netflix CEO might suggest applying from his domain to the mission of re-energizing a group of legacy print newspapers. And perhaps presently and most presciently: 1) Does Hastings subscribe digitally or in print to the L.A. Times? 2) If no, where does he go for his adopted hometown news?

Photo via: tribpub.com

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