By Ken Doctor, Nieman Journalism Lab
Who expected a virtual coming-out party for the newspaper industry in late 2013?
In the past several weeks, we’ve seen new newspaper owners proudly raising the flags of their new enterprises, speaking grandly of their futures and spouting that most legacy of commodities: optimism for the future.
Jeff Bezos toured his new Post before closing the sale and wowed a group of very professional skeptics. Orange County Register president Eric Spitz, part of Aaron Kushner’s ownership group, gave a long interview extolling growth and investment. Then John Henry penned an open letter to the good citizens of Boston and beyond, laying out in fine detail why he bought The Boston Globe. (It’s been a good week for Henry.)
Each of these new owners said a number of intriguing things — sentiments and strategies that we can pick over, puncture, and praise. They all surface elements essential to success. Money? Check. A longer-term view? Check. A respect for the long-time community roles of newspapers? Check. A call for new ideas? Check.
But there’s one other commodity that stands out amid them all — the commodity of confidence. In light of financial downturn of the industry, we could even call it outrageous confidence.