Business leaders, media watchers, and tables full of Boston Globe staffers gathered at the Mandarin Oriental for a Boston Chamber of Commerce Executive Forum featuring remarks from businessman John Henry, principal owner of the Fenway Sports Group and outright owner of the Boston Globe.
Henry did his best to address everyone in the room. Much of Henry’s speech focused on his sports teams and the similarities between Boston and Liverpool. Those of us who went in looking for more insight on how Henry will steward the Globe through journalism’s dramatic changes had to read closely between the lines for most of the morning to get a read on his thoughts.
Here are some highlights:
The “pyramid of success” is comprised of fortune, smarts, and hard work. Henry was talking in the context of sports, but it’s hard not to apply his thoughts to journalism. Henry has a smart and hard-working staff at the Globe, but fortune (in the sense of luck—clearly, Henry has plenty of lucre on hand) hasn’t been with many newspapers recently. Can he make it work without that third category?
Chemistry is important. Henry confessed he didn’t believe in chemistry—until the infamous chicken and beer season that ended terribly for the Red Sox. How a group works together plays a part in success. Will this mean reshuffling of the newsroom or structure at the Globe? Hard to tell.
Local and national as a path to success. Henry pointed out we’re all “one click away” from great content. Henry said he aims to make the Globe the national leader in news from New England across all sectors. Can hyperlocal journalism go national?
The Globe will try anything to remain relevant. Boston Globe TV? Your daily paper delivered by drones? Henry said he will stop at nothing to find innovations that help the Globe succeed in a tough economic climate.
Henry didn’t break any major news in his speech—a bit of a letdown for media junkies. But the Chamber speech provided a glimpse into the mind of the man who will lead the Globe forward.