Zell talks about trends in the newspaper business in very blunt (ie money) terms, and Media Bistro PULLS this juicy quote about Pulitzers:
I haven't figured out how to cash in a Pulitzer Prize. There was a day when a newspaper put "Winner of Pulitzer Prize" on the front page, and people flocked to read the Pulitzer Prize story. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that that's the case today But I also think that there are scale issues. In other words, I think that if the goal is a Pulitzer, it's in the wrong place. In other words, we're not in the business of, in effect, underwriting writers for the future. We're a business that, in effect, has a bottom line. So as far as we're concerned, I think Pulitzers are terrific, but Pulitzers should be the cream on the top of the coffee. They shouldn't be the grounds. And I think there are a lot of scenarios in the newspaper industry where the entire focus is on Pulitzers.
What Media Bistro DID NOT include is the next four sentences from the interview that finished the above thought:
The entire focus is on becoming an international correspondent. I mean, I know that because our newspaper sent somebody to Kabul to cover the "Afghan Idol Show." Now, I know Idol is the No. 1 TV program in the world, but do my readers really want a firsthand report on what this broad looked like who won the "Afghan Idol" Show"? Is that news?
Read the whole interview. Zell is clearly rethinking the whole business, which is good. I won't say he's coming to all the right conclusions, but when the industry is eroding in the double digits, everything has to be on the table to save it.
If you're wondering about the blog entry title, eleemosynary is a word Zell uses for what he isn't - a charity.