On his first day as editor of the Chicago Tribune, Bruce Dold challenged his staff to do a better job of presenting and distributing the news.
“Don’t just accept change,” he told editorial employees Thursday. “Drive it.”
Capping a 38-year career with the Tribune — including the last 16 years as editorial page editor — Dold, 60, stepped up this week to what he called “the honor of a lifetime.” He was named to succeed Gerry Kern, 66, who retired after eight years as top editor.
“We will continue to build an organization and a culture that serves readers whenever and wherever they want to connect with us,” Dold wrote in an email. “We will maintain the integrity that is at the heart of the confidence and trust readers place in us.”
Here is the text of Dold’s message:
To the Tribune staff,
First, I want to say a word about Gerry Kern, who has been an outstanding editor and is my friend. He has been an innovative leader, one of the best in the business. The Chicago Tribune is stronger in many ways today than it was the day he became editor, thanks to his efforts. He deserves our gratitude.
It is a tremendous honor to lead the Tribune. As I said Wednesday when we announced this transition, I grew up in this newsroom and I love it. I covered the suburbs and I know those communities are a rich source for stories. One of the smartest moves the Tribune has made in recent years was to buy the suburban newspapers that gave us an unmatched regional reporting team. When it was time to step up—when a riveting story of national interest hit Fox Lake—you did.
I covered City Hall, which allowed me to report on the most raw and vibrant city politics in the nation. Our readers want sharp, insightful political reporting and we’ll deliver it.
I joined and then led the Tribune Editorial Board, which gave me the chance to challenge leaders whose priorities were self-interest rather than public interest. Our distinctive, must-read opinion leadership will stay strong.
I’m no less admiring of departments where I haven’t worked. Our readers depend on our efforts in Business, Digital, Entertainment, Photography, Sports and other sections. Our readers depend on us to delight and provoke them, to make them informed citizens. We need to remember they are not a captive audience. We have to earn their readership every day.
You are a smart, quick, dedicated team. You’re more open to change and innovation than the newsroom was two years, five years, ten years ago. But here’s what I ask of you: Don’t just accept change. Drive it.
Engaging news, information and commentary that personally touches our readers is the foundation of our digital future. We need more of it and we need to do a better job of presenting and distributing what we create. We need to make our content more habit-forming and compelling for readers. We need to get the results of our hard work out on all the platforms our readers use to connect with us. We need to be in front of our readers when they want us to be there. Our success depends on expanding our audience and deepening its engagement with our work.
We will continue to build an organization and a culture that serves readers whenever and wherever they want to connect with us. We will maintain the integrity that is at the heart of the confidence and trust readers place in us.