Lurking in the background of all this is Mr. Zell. During a meeting in the newsroom on Feb. 7, the fractions were evident. In the Chandler Auditorium, people clapped and laughed; there was a palpable energy in the room.
“I found it really inspiring,” said one editor. “It was really, really invigorating and it was quite a show—that gets him far.”
But then there were those still unconvinced.
Mr. Rabin, the demographics reporter, said that the Chandler Auditorium was so overcrowded that he was sent into a spillover room; he said it was quiet in there, and that the only noises people made were occasional groans.
“The way I would characterize it is, people are holding their breath and waiting for the other shoe to drop,” said Mr. Rabin. “Until people have the opportunity to understand what this means, people are guardedly hopeful. We’ve already been through too much of this.”
“Sam treats us like we’re a bunch of people resisting change,” said Mr. Rempel. “We don’t need to hear that—we’re adapting to change constantly. If you want to change this ship around, you’re probably tinkering to do more harm than good.”
But to several staffers, the ones who back Mr. Stanton, that change has hardly happened.
“This place needs to shift in massive and uncomfortable ways,” said one staffer. “The whole model has to be turned on its head, it all has to change.”
“The younger people here are amazed at the entitlement of the old people here,” said an editor. “We need to acknowledge that newspapers need to transform and talk to readers differently without losing their integrity, and learn how to use the Web more intelligently. A battle of the heart and soul of the paper? No, the younger people here can’t believe that these people think they can continue doing what they’re doing while we’re hemorrhaging readers.”