The Cycle

Zell chats with Tribune reporters about company’s future

Tribune Co. CEO, and resident quote machine, Sam Zell detailed the future of his newspaper chain - operator of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and others - during a conference call with reporters on July 23.

Here’s how Tribune’s newspapers covered it:

  • The Baltimore Sun notes that Zell said he may need to reduce staff by as much as 25% in some newsrooms, and would not directly answer whether he’s planning future sales after that of the Chicago Cubs. Quote: “We’re not interested in trial by torture, not interested in dying by a thousand cuts.”
  • The Hartford Courant, which expects a 25% newsroom staff cut by 2010, recalls that Zell was applauded by his editorial staff in January for saying that he would resist newsroom cuts. Quote (from January): “I do not believe that anybody can grow a business by reducing the number of employees…It is not our game plan to, in effect, try and figure out how few people we can have run this business.”
  • Newsday reports that Zell said his to sell the newspaper to Cablevision could close as early as next week. Asked “what went wrong”since he bought the chain, Zell responded: “I don’t know that anybody has a frame of reference on advertising revenue destruction that in effect is as bad as this going all the way back to the Depression.”

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