By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Beam sends a message to Welch

The quote of the day comes from Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam, who tells the New York Observer what would be wrong with a Jack Welch-led buyout of the Globe: “Jack Welch and David Geffen’s idea of journalism is like a Charlie Rose interview. ‘Gosh, Mr. Welch, tell us more about your fabulous career.’ That’s not our idea of journalism.”

Geffen, of course, is the entertainment-industry mogul who wants to buy the Los Angeles Times from the Tribune Co.

The Observer reports that New York Times Co. chief executive Janet Robinson will meet with the Globe staff on Feb. 8 and 9 to address the recent spate of bad news coming out of Morrissey Boulevard, including the closing of foreign bureaus, 125 job cuts at the Globe and at its sister paper, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and the company’s recent decision to devalue the Globe and the T&G by more than $800 million.

The Phoenix’s Adam Reilly has a good roundup here.

The questions all along have been two-fold: Will the advertising climate in Greater Boston turn around? And will the Times Co. sell?

It appears that Robinson is going to tell the troops “yes” and “no.” And that would be moderately good news. If you consider what’s going on in the newspaper business right now, continued Times Co. ownership might well be the least bad alternative.

Something (or someone) better might come along in two to five years. But for now, the Times Co. is probably a safer bet to preserve the Globe’s core local mission than any other prospective owners.

And kudos to Beam for dissing a zillionaire who could still somehow wind up as his boss. (Via Romenesko.)

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  1. Rick in Duxbury

    If you do what you always did, you get what you always got. Left unspoken is the fact that the Globe continues to write for a preening, hip, urban constituency that has had a nasty habit of moving out of town lately. The ad dollars between 128 and 495 will continue to migrate away from a paper that proclaims its superiority over the readers. Beam may be a great writer but only someone with his “chops” could beat his chest like that in this job environment, (don’t expect to hear it from the trenches).SOMEONE has to provide the capital for any business enterprise. If not Welch, then one hopes it is someone with a better feel for the suburban zeitgeist. Most of us spend our lives blissfully uninvolved with alternative lifestyles, Harvard or political agendas.

  2. Peter Porcupine

    Building upon what Mr. duxbury said -Why am I convinced that out of 125 jobs lot, 110 will be at the Telegram & Gazette (and I am old enough to remember when a family might take both papers – the Telegram was the AM businessman’s paper, the Gazette was more family oriented with more of what is now called ‘lifestyle’ stories – and they had different cartoon pages, too!) and only 15 will be lost at the Glob, on the theory that as Boston writes, so read the Commonwealth?Nothing ever happens in Worcester anyway, right? They didn’t do anything hip or new like discover cloning there or anything (Advacned Cell Technology of Worcester).

  3. Anonymous

    Kudos? For doing his job? How lame that a “journalist” should be applauded for doing his job by a “journalism professor.” It is not a badge of courage that a columnist speaks his mind. He’s supposed to.

  4. Citizen Charles Foster Kane

    “Most of us spend our lives blissfully uninvolved with alternative lifestyles, Harvard or political agendas.”It must be wonderful to live in a state of pure nature in Duxbury, your mind untroubled by such subjects. Or were you talking about other people? Besides, I thought being a poor persecuted conservative in Massachusetts was an alternative lifestyle at this point.

  5. Anonymous

    Your “Rosebud” is showing…

  6. Anonymous

    big ups to Peter P. for his nod to the Evening Gazette of yore. My folks were strict EG-heads when I was growing up in the dead center (in more ways than one) of the Bay State. A sad day, indeed, when the Telegram became our only choice for non-Boston-based regional news … but at least the paper picked up the Gazette’s features, doubling the comics pages and giving us both Ann Landers and Dear Abby. That kind of excess would never fly today. Like putting Doritos AND Cheetos on your plate. A cheesy, low-brow delight, sure, but a delight nevertheless.

  7. Anonymous

    Hey, whatever. Since anyone can get Knight-Ridder, sorry, McClatchy, for free over the Internet, why would anyone want to buy a hard copy of the Glob and have his hands soiled from the printer’s ink? Paper for fish wrapping and bird-cage lining can be purchased at far less than US$0.50 a day.Sorry, Dan. Local newspapers are done-for in the USofA. They might have a chance if they followed the German model–four or five nationally and internationally recognized newspapers, surrounded by a bevy of little “Revolverblatts” (boulevard newspapers). The Glob as a recognized newspapere is done for. In part because of the NYTimes, but in large part because of the Internet. In large part, it’s the economy of distribution. Newspapers are in the business of distributing information, not distributing paper.–raj

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