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Saturday, June 17, 2006

In black and blue

By Jeff Jarvis
June 15th, 2006

The next newspaper company to face a coup is Tribune (for whom I worked on three newspapers). As has been reported quite openly, the Chandler and the McCormick clans are fighting over breaking up the remnants of their conjoined has-been empires. So sad. When Tribune announced its stock buyback, I said to myself (which is to say, I never got around to blogging it) that this was a clear indication of the lack of vision, innovation and balls; it was an effort to prop up the stock rather than invest in the future. Other newspaper stocks are suffering similarly, the Times shows in various charts today (not online, so far as I can see).

I was also amused to see Chandler argue that media cross-ownership wasn’t working. All those who fear and try to regulate media companies from growing through acquisition are only helping them put off the inevitable lesson that bigger isn’t safer. There is no synergy.

What’s needed in media is not sell-offs and buybacks and stock props and rollups. Piggy, piggy, come here, I have some pretty lipstick for you. No, what’s needed is vision and the bravery to build the future. I see a few — too few — individuals who have that but no companies that do. This is an industry in desperate search for balls.

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