Thursday, August 30, 2007

Don't Listen To The Vikings

Fucking Vikings. I don't know if you saw it, but they backed out of our deal with us. They were supposed to buy some of the land that the Star Tribune owns, but decided that the price was too high and that they would look too committed to being in Minneapolis. Then they wouldn't be able to get as much public funding as they wanted.

I told them that they could make a killing off that land. All they had to do was try and include something with LRT to connect up with the new bridge and they'd get all the government money they could want. Instead of buying the land and giving us some capital to sustain our operation for awhile, they backed out and we got screwed. You probably don't know this, but land sales are a great way to generate short term capital. There was even a piece in the journal about it. But now we're stuck with the land and pretty soon we will be stuck with an empty building when we finish consolidating workspace. And I had to make up a bullshit story for a press release. Thanks Zigi.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"The Deadline"

With everything that I've got to do as Publisher I haven't had time to tell you about some new developments with my screenplay.

First off, I've come up with a title. "The Deadline". It's like you can just picture someone saying at the end of the preview, "we have to make the deadline!" And then it just cuts to a black screen. When I came up with the title I told it to one of my buddies. He said, "Dude, there's got to be a movie called Deadline already." I hadn't thought about that because the name is so good. I had my secretary look it up on the internet and yeah there's a bunch of movies called Deadline. But it's cool because I added "the" in front of the title to set aside the name of my screenplay from the other Deadlines.

I'm also wondering if part of the film should be set in Europe. Right now I don't really have it set anywhere except a really gritty city that takes a strong character to survive, especially in the journalism business.

And to tell you the truth, I was thinking about dropping Elle MacPherson from the project. I found out that she's kind of old to be a lead and I hadn't seen a picture of her lately. But then my buddy sent this picture of her to me and she's still smoking hot. Having an older actress play Emily Scott will also give the movie some drama cred.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Par Posts

These internet blogs are really hard to keep up. Even though the entries are short, you have to write one every day or you forget about it.

Did you see that Joel Kramer made an official announcement on his new internet paper? His business philosophy is to hire the reporters who earned big salaries at the real papers for not really doing anything and pay them peanuts. I wonder what that will get him. Also, if Kramer thinks that his new venture will go anywhere when it looks about as good as my internet blog that I haven't updated in two weeks, he's wackier than Singleton.

Someone also told me that the old editor of the City Pages was starting the same thing. I'm guessing it will just as silly, but with more stories on police brutality. Good luck, guys, you're going to need it. Raising money is one thing, getting reporters to work and competing with the big dogs is much harder.

Monday, August 13, 2007

More Truth from the Trial

I found some more information on my trial in the media. No, not local media or internet of course! They're too busy with sex offenders and murders and Karl Rove. It's from Editor & Publisher, where they actually report accurate information on publishers.

At my trial, OhSang Kwon, one of the founding partners behind Avista gave a deposition. You should read the excerpt. Kwon basically says that I let him know that in getting ready to move from Saint Paul that I found some old non-compete agreements in my secretary's desk.

You know how when you move you find stuff you forgot you had? That's what these papers were like. My secretary and I talked about shredding them. That way they wouldn't be a big deal. But first I checked with Kwon to see if he thought they were worth saving. He didn't know and told me to ask my lawyer. And they weren't a big deal until we got sued by that ass Singleton.

The other thing about the non-competes is that they don't really matter anyway. I'm the publisher and could void them if I wanted. Which I did.

Kwon also mentions that he wishes I didn't take those spreadsheets with me when I came over. Believe me, me too. He even says that I wish I didn't. He also said that nothing was done that was illegal. Take that Singleton.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Truth Will Set You Free

The truth is finally making its way out to the media about my trial. Well, some of the media. I've checked through the local papers and looked on the internet hack sites, but no one seems to care that transcripts with important points from my trial are now out there.

Let me tell you a little about publishing. It's not like being the editor. Editors just sit in their offices all day and say "this story will get traction" or "that angle won't work, find another one". Every once and a while editors will also get a story idea and tell a reporter to go out and report on it. Then the editors check in with each other and see how the paper turned out. Big deal.

It's not like that for publishers and managers. They have to direct everything that's happening for their paper. They have to know how their business is doing, whether they are succeeding, getting people to purchase their paper. They have to also know their market, like how other papers are doing. And not just papers, but other places advertisers are placing ads.

If you read my testimony, you'll see that management at newspapers get information on competing papers in their markets. They do this because a lot of those papers don't have similar sized competition in their area, so it's tough to set benchmarks to measure success. You can't know how successful you are or aren't unless you have a way to measure. You also can't measure performance.

Take Tiger for example. If Tiger didn't play with any other golfers, he wouldn't know if he was good or not. But when he beats everyone for the PGA Championship, he knows and everyone else knows how awesome he is at golf. And playing with other pro players on different courses, he can also see where his game needs improvement.

It's the same with publishing. We need to know how we're doing. And some of us are like Tiger. We're good, but we still care about improving our game. If our paper is losing money from not managing the labor line, we need to work on that part of game. But we can't work on it unless we know it's a problem.

Here's a question for you. If it's okay to get information for benchmarks on papers in totally different parts of the Midwest, why wouldn't it be okay to use the information you compiled yourself for the last several years at a paper that's in the same city? It's like Tiger from this year playing against Tiger from a few years ago!

Hopefully more of the trial will make its way out. It's helpful to clear up the misconceptions people have on what really happened.

(And congratulations on the PGA Championship, Tiger.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Screenplay Idea

It's been pretty hectic around the Star Tribune since the 35W bridge collapsed. I haven't really been able to update my internet blog with all the chaos. We've been updating the website and sending out reporters to cover the bridge and working the numbers on maybe some more resizing of the staff. The bridge collapsing also affected traffic downtown by our building. Anyway, it's been busy.

Today is the first day that I've had some free time to myself. Remember when I mentioned that I might want to write a screenplay? I think I might start to work on it. Here's the idea.

A young manager works for newspaper in a mid-sized city. Maybe Philadelphia because it's gritty. The manager finds out that one of his reporters who is working on an explosive story goes missing and the manager discovers some clues to the disappearance on the reporter's work computer. While he's investigating the clues, he runs into an editor from a rival paper who is also working on the same explosive story. She's also smoking hot, but really smart. The manager and the hot editor form a team and try to find the missing reporter. Along the way you can feel the tension between the two and the suspense as they get deeper into the investigation.

That's what I've got so far. There also needs to be some comedy in there somewhere, like some comic relief. And I'm not sure who would play the danger loving manager, but someone like Elle MacPherson could play the competing editor that falls in love with the manager and defects to his paper.

I also need to think of a title.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Welcome to the Future.

If you haven't seen the front of the Star Tribune's homepage, you'll want to go over there right now and take a look at the top right hand corner.

That's right. Video.

All the other news organizations have video and now so do we. It's doesn't have Amy Hockert or crazy stuff on it like YouTube, but it does have news footage that went into our print articles. It really is like we're in the future. The future of journalism. In a week or two our tech people should have Hecker's logo at the beginning of each video, too, and that will be like the future of advertising.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Bridge Collapse

Wow. That's all I can say.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Building A Championship Team

It wasn't easy to hear about KG getting traded. What in the world are those front office folks thinking, I thought. But I've thought about it a little more. And after some thinking, sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do, either to win a championship or in the case of the T-Wolves to build a championship team.

It's the same with being running a newspaper. Yeah, there are people who've been on your team for a long time. People that the fans really like. Faces of the franchise. But sometimes it doesn't work out with those players and you've got to let them go. Remember J.R. Rider? Lots of people had J.R. Rider jerseys on at the games back when he was playing. But Rider wasn't helping the team win and the team got rid of him. For the good of the team. And it turns out Rider was just a thug and it was the right move.

The Wolves have had some good players and some really good players and even a great player with Garnett. And the Star Tribune has had some good people work for it. But if the paper is going to be a championship paper, the front office will have to make some hard moves.

We've already traded some of our key players. And it helped. We're already a better team than when we were two years ago. But we're not great. And we want a great team. So we're going to have to let more people go to help the team become a championship team.

Glen Taylor didn't like to see KG go and I don't like that more people are going to go from the Star Tribune. The biased coverage against us is almost enough to never let anyone go ever again. This next round will probably be another shit storm of people saying that the sky is falling without even looking at our bottom line. But that comes with any business, whether it's publishing or coaching a basketball team.

I'll miss you, Kev. But we can catch up after the Wolves make it to the West Coast Finals next year.