Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Next R&B Publisher?

Soon after The Red & Black publisher Harry Montevideo resigned, people began to wonder who might take his seat high on Baxter Hill.

I have no candidates in mind and I'm unlikely to play a role in the search, which means from the safety of my "academic perch" (as one critic described it) I can offer all kinds of suggestions without any of those pesky responsibilities.

I expect the search will be inundated with the names of impressive pros looking to leave the industry. Searchers, fight the temptation of a splashy name or a splashy newspaper. One of those folks may very well turn out to be your best choice, but I'd prefer to see a young and hungry entrepreneur, someone not necessarily from the newsroom but someone who gets journalism.

Someone with ideas. Not someone with war stories.

In other words, someone who approaches the R&B like a startup, someone willing to reboot The Lady on the Hill. But -- and I can't emphasize this enough -- mindful of the R&B's storied past, its role in the University community, and of course the role journalism plays in society. Someone who can talk to townies and business leaders and university administrators and please talk to the students who spend countless hours at the newspaper because, dammit, they've gone and caught the journalism bug even though their momma warned them to practice safe studentdom and daddy insisted they get a degree in something that pays more.

Is there such a person out there?  If so, please apply.  If so, search committee, please hire.

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