Oct 13, 2010

Lee Abrams suspended, but not for the right reasons

Tribune Co. innovation officer Lee Abrams got suspended today for emailing around a memo with links to "inappropriate" videos, including a parody video from the Onion labeled "Sluts." It's likely he'll be fired.

However stupid this memo was, it's really not the reason Abrams should be suspended. How about all of the other memos Abrams sent out that simultaneously failed to innovate and succeeded at breaking every rule of effective communication? Indeed, is an Onion video really more harmful to the Tribune Co. than having its Chief Innovation Officer say this (blanket sic):
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.
Or write this:
Think like your reader. Were does the paper intersect you reader's life? If you had a real job what stories could we collect that would make your live easier or make you smarter..
Or any of this:
Historically, TV kills newspapers in NOTICABILITY because it's while its BETTER CONTENT in print, it's usually not packaged very well and doesn't get the traction it deserves. A little of what CNN and FOX do ala "Historic Election 2008" with big logo, intro music and always at a reliable time are components we can all do better...or hopefully BEST ... or we'll be handing it over to other media...and that would be tragic.
Frankly, I'm more offended at his punctuation choices and his gratuitous use of the caps lock to MAKE HIS POINTS than his latest memo.

Having heard Abrams speak to the LA Press Club, I'd say he's a perfectly nice man who has had some interesting thoughts about broadcasting, especially radio. His rambling memos, however, show a contempt for the care and thought most reporters put into their writing, as well as a willful ignorance about what journalists actually do. They are mind purges that, even when they get right what newspapers do wrong turn, are not insightful or useful. He did more to help blogs like mine than he ever did for media outlets that were supposed to benefit. He should have been let go long before he hit send on the latest memo - his bosses owed him, and every other Tribune employee, that kind of good judgment.

(h/t LA Observed)


Anonymous said...

My favorite comment comes from Memo #2: "If you had a real job..."

Anonymous said...

kind of like al capone going in for tax evasion instead of all the other stuff they couldn't prove...not that I am comparing this clown with capone...al had some class.

Anonymous said...

Maybe HR was developing its case to oust the guy. Think they call it "progressive discipline". No? I give him high marks for taking responsibility. That makes a total of one mark.

Anonymous said...

3:06pm--Copone had a plan too.