08 April 2007

What Sam Zell Should Do . . .

Sam Zell bought the Chicago Tribune empire, but seems most interested in the media portions and plans on dumping the Cubbies (who wouldn't).

He's assured of a tidy profit if a higher offer for the company comes in from the other billionaires interested (mainly Ron Burkle and David Geffen).

Here's how to make sure that higher offer comes in.

Don't touch the Tribune, that isn't the paper Burkle and Geffen want, they are in it for their hometown paper, the LA Times (and possibly also the local CW affiliate, KTLA).

Turn those entities into rabidly right wing/libertarian bastions that would make the Washington Times look like The NY Times.

This wouldn't be done for ideological reasons, but rather to increase the urgency on the part of the liberal billionaires who want the paper.

Watching the LA Times morph into a conservative paper would drive them crazy. They'd throw nearly every penny they have to get the LA Times back if they thought this was going to be a permanent shift in editorial direction.

You could probably sell just the LA Times alone for the price you paid for the entire Chicago Tribune empire. Think of it as a media company version of 'flipping'.

As a bonus, an unabashedly conservative/libertarian LA Times might gain far more readership than it loses if they do so in an entertaining fashion.

LA Times would look great as a Daily Sun or NY Post style tabloid, and given that the main industry here is Hollywood, a tabloid paper makes a lot more sense then some self-serious broadsheet NY Times or Guardian rip-off.

One sure way to make circulation skyrocket would be to have an entertainment section that was actually entertaining. On top of that, make sure you write a lot of nasty pieces about David Geffen, Ron Burkle and their cronies. Be as bad as you can be without being slanderous, that will infuriate them to the point where they'll be willing to pay through the nose to end this new slant.

It's only business, and if Sam Zell is a real businessman, he'll follow my advice.

As an added bonus, we'll have a fun newspaper for 6-12 months out of it.

(and if the circulation and advertising numbers blow up, then you can keep the new monster you created and enjoy the profits)

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