Tribune Co.’s Chief Innovation Officer Gets Extra Innovative

lee_abrams-1.jpgYesterday we discovered that Sam Zell thinks newspapers have never recovered from defining success as they experienced it during Watergate — everyone wants to be Woodward & Bernstein (this ties into Zell’s belief that you can’t monetize Pulitzers). Today we hear from The Tribune Co.’s “Chief Innovation Officer” Lee Abrams who’s certainly being “innovative” (also not at all hesitant to put the CAP LOCKS function to use) in his latest memo.

In the memo Abrams is rethinking local television coverage (“What with the suits and ties. I’m not suggesting sloppy…but business casual…maybe even eccentric as the Crime expert could be in a Columbo styled rumpled sweater”), as well as pointing out that USA Today may be a model to emulate. Here’s a taste, and it’s definitely worth a read if only for the spasticness of it all but also to drive home the fact that actually noone has any idea what’s going on.

Part of the scenario is that there’s SO much pressure to meet revenue goals that the content re-invention is off the radar. Cant worry about that when there are more pressing issues. Well, as with our newspapers, it’s never been more important to re-invent CONTENT and HOW WE EXECUTE, in ADDITION to the extreme revenue pressures…
*BLOW IT UP. OK, not where it’s performing well, but I think maybe we need to isolate a station that is NOT doing well and do a complete

TOP 10. Number the stories. Give them a “handle” “In tonight’s Top Ten: #1 Obama announces he’s a Muslim; #2 Pirates sink US Sub; #3 etc……

*LEFT/RIGHT: We are in a polar political society. This is Pure 100% argument starting tension. A local Shana Alexander thing. No shortage of topics.

*CLASSIC NEWS: A 5 years ago, 10 years ago flashback segment. Classic works in EVERY media…why not TV. Mine the archives!

*HOME MOVIES: A daily local YouTube.

NEWSPAPERS: What if we REALLY balanced;

*Great writing
*Story selection that was always dead on the mark
*Stunning design
*Edgy and noticeable marketing
*Realistic staffing levels
*Competitive focus (beyond getting the story first…I’m talking re-claiming news dominance to the mainstream)
*Web Interaction that was, well, really web interaction
*Technological advances that rival the pure tech businesses
*Ad Sales that were revenue machines.