Posted by Jeremy Shulkin
Details are still pretty vague regarding Aaron Kushner’s announcement that he plans to offer a bid to the New York Times Co. for the New England Media Group, an entity that includes the Telegram & Gazette and the Boston Globe, but the former CEO of Marian Heath Greeting Cards offered a little bit more insight yesterday about the future of the T&G if the Times Co. accepts his proposal.
In his statement that was released a couple of weeks ago, much of the focus was on his plans for the Globe. So where does the Telegram fit in with his business strategy?
“In many ways the T&G has an even stronger place in its community than the Globe does in Boston,” he said. “Worcester, I think, is a very important part of the business.”
Regarding the Globe Kushner has said that he likes the content of the paper and planned on “augmenting” the staff there and infusing the publication with more resources rather than making cuts or layoffs — certainly welcome news for employees to hear.
Would he take a similar approach with the T&G?
“Indeed,” he said. “You can’t expect to grow a business by reducing it,” adding, “You have to have the structure and the management and money to invest in the quality of what you’re bringing to the community.”
His group, 2100 Trust, does have money and a diverse group of investors behind it. Just as important though, it doesn’t seem like a group of old publishers got together for one last go-around (well, Christopher Harte, former publisher of the “reorganizing” Minneapolis Star Tribune is involved), but one might dare say they have some new ideas to bring to the industry. Kushner is only 37 years old. Another member of 2100 Trust, Mitch Tyson, is the CEO of Advanced Electron Beams and co-founder of the New England Clean Energy Council. William Randolph Hearst, they are not.
But Kushner cautions against using technology just for technology’s sake. The subject of boosting the Telegram‘s reach to subscribers, whether through apps or eReaders comes up, but he doesn’t seem sold that that’s the direction to go right away.
“Technology is a means to an end, not an end itself,” he warns. “There are things you can only do in print and things you can only do with a mobile app.”
Kushner did not reveal any details about when he’ll submit an official bid, or say how much he’ll offer. I can’t wait to see if he walks the walk.