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Sam Zell Press Conference Roundup

Tell Zell reports that after missing the Sam Zell/Randy Michaels press conference yesterday, he caught it and was unimpressed:

The entire argument collapses on a single point. No newspaper is losing money. Each paper takes in more cash than it pays out. The problem is, they don’t take in enough money to pay off Sam’s $13-billion debt.

(Extra points go to the InkStained Retch for linking to this Los Angeles Magazine piece.

The Hartford Courant wasn’t any easier on Zell:

In January, Zell won applause during a meeting with employees in Hartford for saying that he would reverse the trend of trimming staffs in the face of declining revenue.

But Tuesday, Zell said the rules had changed…

“I don’t believe it’s fair to hold me to the sentence that I expressed when I was [in Hartford] six months ago,” Zell said. “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. So I think the circumstances are dramatically worse than anyone could have possibly predicted.”

Meanwhile someone at the Chicago Tribune is clearly trying not to get fired, treating the press conference like a re-written press release:

Michaels, in charge of the company’s newspapers, touched on several initiatives he hopes will improve revenue, apart from the redesigns and efforts to revamp sales incentives. He said the Los Angeles Times, for instance, has formed a team of salespeople to go after the large portion of many advertisers’ budgets devoted to promotions, not traditional display advertising.

In cities where Tribune owns several media outlets, Michaels said, the company will soon create “breaking news centers,” combined newsrooms that use all of Tribune’s local resources to pump stories onto the Internet for distribution to all kinds of information devices.

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