As most of you have heard, our managers had a visit from Sam Zell here last week and we have now put the video of his remarks and Q&A session up on TimesLink. Any recap by me could not begin to do justice to Sam, so you will want to check out the video, but here are my headlines:
--High energy straight-talking business owner looking for same in us
--Committed and confident in the deal getting done (don’t focus too much on current stock price)
--He doesn’t associate with mediocrity, so wants to “go for greatness”
--Believes Los Angeles Times is very important and “has a great future”
--“I promise you I did not come here to be captain of the Titanic”
--“My head and neck only look forward;” “I don’t really give a [ ] about the past”
--So don’t talk about the excuses of the past (Chandlers, LA v. Chicago, etc.)
--Our success is about “relevance and revenue and respect”
--Focus, focus on our customers; find out what they want; readers are customers not some theoretical thing
--Without revenue we can’t print the paper
--Online is growing well – but latimes.com can be great only because the LA Times is great and stays relevant
--Need more sense of urgency to change and get things done; “Not next week – now”
--He’s a contrarian – looks to find value by looking at things differently
--Believes in giving people authority and local decision-making, and then holding them accountable
--“I can’t do it” has to be eliminated from our vocabulary
--The future is up to us; Sam wants our plans not his plans; wants open, candor from us (doesn’t kill the messenger)
So check it out, and I’d love to hear from you about what you take away from it.
Please also be aware that this session with Sam was off the record, and this material should not be disclosed outside the company.
Also, good news on shareholder approval of our transaction yesterday. Now need FCC approval, which is expected, and then deal should be completed before end of year.
Meanwhile, what can we do? Keep driving revenue to show improvement in the remainder of the year, and push ahead with our Times Change efforts with the urgency Sam displays.
SOURCE : Mark Lacter of LA Biz Observed
Editors note, if this information is not to be seen outside of the Los Angeles Times, how did Mark Lacter get a copy?