The stress in the board room was palpable. Nervous partners and investors were gathered to discuss the greatest threat to the newspaper industry since satellite radio.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” said Andrei Prokofiev, editor-in-chief of the Picayune Observer. The group hushed at the words of the legendary newspaperman. “The threat is real, no doubt. But we can weather the storm.”
“How can you be sure?” asked one board member. “Newspapers are dropping like flies all over the country.”
Prokofiev stood up straight and adjusted his suspenders. He appeared larger than life. “How? By being innovative. We’re going to do something no one else can do. We’re going to live up to the great name of Picayune.”
A wave of optimism swept across the room. Board members nodded to each other in approval. This was the kind of leadership they came to expect from the wily 25 year news veteran.
“Ladies and gentleman, I won’t tell you my plan, I’ll show you,” he announced proudly. He yelled to the door, “Boys, what’ve you got?”
Three reporters burst into the room, writing pads at the ready.
“May I present the new age of the Picayune Observer,” said Prokofiev, who nodded to the first reporter.
“Well, sir, through careful study we’ve learned that on average the wind speed is 5 to 7 miles an hour faster downtown than in the suburbs,” said reporter number one.
“Hmm,” thought Prokofiev. “‘Downtown Blessed With Fresh Air’. Great work.”
“Sir,” said the second reporter, “I learned that the library building is eight hundred and forty-six bricks wide by four thousand, six hundred and sixty-two bricks high. That’s a 28% increase in size over the last fifteen years.”
“‘Library Grows to Fit City Demands’,” said Prokifiev. “Excellent, could be front page material. Jensen, you’re up.”
“Yes sir. I have big news. I’ve observed the activities of the mayor over the last month only to discover that this ties have widened by half an inch.”
“Good grief, Jensen,” exclaimed Prokofiev, clapping his hands. “Tomorrow’s headline, write it down. ‘Mayor Widens Tie to Support Government Spillage’. Fantastic! Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll be back to number one in no time.”
The board sat stunned. Andrei Prokofiev sat in his chair sporting a satisfied grin. At the far end of the room one board member leaned over to the one beside her and whispered, “Good thing I already sold off my stock.”