Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wisdom of the market

There's a message for all corporate managers in the Chicago Tribune report "Keeping the Oil Flowing". BP paid a high price for deferred maintenance, according to author David Greising, in the 2005 explosion of a Texas refinery, the 2006 spill at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, and extended repairs to its Thunder Horse platform on the Gulf of Mexico.

But striking a balance between fiscal and quality priorities is not unique to Big Oil, and the balance is difficult even for a company chastened by experience. "The day someone says budget doesn't matter," said BP's top North American official, "well, then I'm working at the wrong company."

No one ever claimed money was no object in the news business. A sign of that industry's troubles came in the Chicago Tribune own lower circulation and flat readership in its most recent circulation audit. Top executive Scott Smith still could accurately characterize as "among the best in the industry."

This writer does not tell tales out of school, so here is not the place to find news of the Tribune Co's impending sale or who is being severed from the company. That only partly explains the lack of posts in this space of late.

Late hours at work also leave little time for establishing the East Village Association website, much less contributing to this one. This year's spring distractions include gardening (no soreness this weekend) and the White Sox (still smarting from Tampa Bay home stand).

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