Abrams: Tribune Bankruptcy "Truly Sucks"

Here's the latest piece from Tribune Co. Chief Innovation Officer Lee Abrams. It jumps.


February 18, 2009


Time for a deep breath and a few thoughts about the dynamics of evolving and positioning ourselves for the new levels of success we can and will reach:

QUALITY AND INTEGRITY: This is a tough one because there are assumptions that we cant' deliver these attributes with the cutbacks and economics. NO-ONE likes these conditions. It truly sucks. But it's reality...painful and unfortunate. Commenting on Chapter 11 is way above my pay grade but I do know that there are two ways to view it:

1. Go into a negative state of anger, confusion and despair.

2. Come to terms with the condition of the Country and the company and pull out the stops to adapt and prevail. ..And to contribute to that spirit throughout the company.

#2 is best. What is tricky is to assume that quality and integrity are more difficult to attain under the current conditions. I believe that is grossly untrue. Living in Chicago, I read the Tribune every day and while the format and look has evolved, the quality of the stories , reporting and presentation remains high and compelling. Tough? Sure. Tougher than ever. But there's a media war out there and there are no other options than to dig and do what you gotta do to maintain excellence. I see excellence consistently throughout the company...I also see potential for greatness that's repressed because we are afraid that we'll blow up what we DO have by evolving too quickly or haphazardly.

Action- Attitude and adaptability. And not assuming, or buying into the thought that lowering the standards go hand in hand with downsizing or evolution. THAT is up to us to make sure it doesn't occur by understanding our brands history and focusing on the future.

SELF EXAMINATION: Our TV properties are operating exceptionally well, but I believe they can even get better if they examine themselves to the degree many of our newspapers have. I commented on how most anchor photos look plastic, smiley and plain silly--which undermines their credibility. I received 42 "Thank god someone mentioned that" letters, some from

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