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Got a Foreign Correspondent, Scream it Out

Look, I am no fan of Sam Zell and what he is doing at the LA Times and Chicago Tribune, however I was taken by an interview at with one of his minions, Lee Abrams, the chief innovation officer at the Tribune company.

Abrams was surprised that the company had a Iraq reporter and more surprised that they didn’t make a bigger deal of having that reporter on foreign ground. Stories of course have to sell themselves, but it does not hurt to promote exceptional work and extra expense. Let the audience know that these things don’t come for free. Remind them that good journalism is a costly enterprise.

Here is Abrams in the interview:

JG: Why were you surprised to find out that your company has reporters based in Iraq?
LA: I was in Los Angeles, sitting in this casual little meeting waiting for someone to show up, and there was this lady who had just got back from four years in Iraq, I forgot her name, I met 300 people in two days, and she was telling me about security problems, bullets in the background and all that, and it really struck me that there should be pictures of her with Iraqi children in the newspaper to show she was there. Whereas in the newspaper, it just says, “Times Staff Reporter.” I really never thought about it, that there was really a person over there going through hell to get this.
JG: It didn’t strike you that there were employees of the newspaper over there doing this work?
LA: It was just ink to me, just reading. Oh yeah, here’s what’s happening in Iraq, but then I didn’t feel the human side.
JG: So more first-person in the papers, then?
LA: I would have loved to see diaries, because what she was telling me was fascinating, living in these special secured floors of the Baghdad Hotel. It was like theater of the mind.

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