But over time, my love of philosophy, combined with my passion for baseball statistics, provided the foundation for a far different kind of mission: understanding investment markets objectively. I made enough money in my commodity trading business to pursue my dream of owning a professional baseball team. I arrived in baseball in 1989, became a partner in the New York Yankees in 1991, and bought the Florida Marlins in 1999. In 2002, I was fortunate enough to join with Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino, and local partners to acquire the Boston Red Sox.
With the Red Sox came the most compelling cause in baseball. I knew I would wake up every morning to responsibilities that mattered to millions of passionate Sox fans — to end a dry spell of eight-plus decades without the joys of a World Series championship. The Red Sox provided a strong connection — between neighbors, family members, co-workers, and generations. And who wouldn’t go to work at Fenway Park if they had the opportunity! When we acquired the Red Sox, profit was literally at the bottom of our list of goals. We were determined to do whatever it took to win.
Now I see The Boston Globe and all that it represents as another great Boston institution that is worth fighting for. There isn’t a clear financial model for the news business in the future. Thus, some people have expressed puzzlement about this investment because they expect that the purchase of a business is based on the pursuit of profit. But this investment isn’t about profit at all. It’s about sustainability. Any great paper, the Globe included, must generate enough revenue to support its vital mission.
Put another way, the future of vibrant journalism — trustworthy news coverage, informed opinion, and fearless accountability reporting — is dependent on solving tough financial issues. This is a bit of an irony, because I haven’t met anyone in the business whose main reason for being there is to make money.
My every intention is to push the kind of boldness and investment that will make the Globe a laboratory for major newspapers across the country. We already have the great fortune to have incredible allies in the Nieman Journalism Lab and the Shorenstein Center at Harvard, as well as the MIT Media Lab. Greater Boston is a hive of technologists and writers, all of whom can contribute to the creation of a compelling newspaper for the future. And the Globe is fortunate to be in New England, a region filled with smart, engaged people who have a unique appreciation for the written word.
Make no mistake: The Boston Globe will survive. There is too much talent at the paper, too much passion among its readers and advertisers, too glorious a history, and too great a need for its journalism, to ever think otherwise.
Back when I was an idealistic 18-year-old on my way to Chicago, I might have believed that being on the side of virtue would guarantee a good outcome. These many years later, I know better. We will succeed, but it will take long hours, creative thinking, and hard work ahead.
The Globe Standard
There is no shortage of information today, but much of it is unsubstantiated, too voluminous to understand, or presented in entirely self-interested ways. Thus, as Clayton Christensen of the Harvard Business School often says in the context of innovation, “There is a job to be done here.”
Since Aug. 3 I have been meeting with the people of The Boston Globe to define our mission at the beginning of our journey together. This much is clear: The overriding mission of The Boston Globe will be to ensure that its readers are getting news they can trust. The Globe will place its emphasis on hard-hitting, investigative accountability that readers can rely on. Not only will the Globe seek to hold people and institutions accountable for their actions, we will hold ourselves accountable for fairness, balance, and fact-checking.
Today, reliable information has never been more valuable. A newspaper needs to provide the breadth of perspective and diligent analysis that gets to the heart of what is going on in our world. The Globe will never be the prisoner of any ideology or political agenda.
Our enterprise reporting will shed new light on important issues of the day, with intellectual honesty and discipline. We will provide our readers with the assurance that if they read the Globe, they will know that time, effort, and thought were put into each and every report.
A major job of the Globe will be to determine not only what news will be of interest to its readers, but what news should be of interest. Every day, the Globe will have to earn the trust of readers who can’t possibly harvest all the information available across the spectrum; they have to be able to rely on the Globe, through all its platforms, to inform their lives in the areas they want and require. Continued...