Rich Zannino, CEO of Dow Jones (the first non-journalist to hold the post) was the luncheon speaker at SABEW. Here are some excerpts from his speech:

Hi. I am a non-journalist. I am a business news junkie so I have a sense of what you do.<

Zannino thinks we’re in a trough when it comes to newsprint:

It is a gloomy period for newspapers. Why? There is an aging population. Young people supposedly do not read newspapers (except his children who he said read the paper every day). Many people do not make time for serious stuff. There is a credibility issue with news reporters. A pack journalism mentality. Then, there is the incredibly shrinking newspaper: Smaller revenues, profits, circulation,
workforces, webs (paper size), buybacks and a cost control focus.

He also said that we cannot think of ourselves as newspaper people, but as content people, publishing people. Quality journalism matters more than ever before.

Zannino’s response to the concept of outsourcing newsrooms to Poland and India: I do not think it is possible to cover an area if you do not live in an area.

I thought he was impressive. The buzz around SABEW regulars is he seems like a good guy with good ideas. Time will tell.

May 1, 2006