"Our headquarters is in cyberspace, man!"
TAKING THE WORLD IN A LOVE EMBRACE, MISSION VALLEY - "Here's the main thing," says Papa Doug Manchester, real-estate developer and owner of the U-T San Diego newspaper, as he opens a discussion of his proposal to turn the paper's Mission Valley headquarters into a mixed-use development for residence and retail. "This is not about real estate development. Real estate development is just what happens afterwards, because nature abhors a vacuum. It's filling in the space that gets left behind. The main thing is that news wants to be free. It wants to move. And we've been keeping it cooped up inside four walls for way, way too long."
"The old brick-and-mortar business model for news is dead dead dead, Daddy-o," continues Papa Doug as he turns slowly in a circle, arms outstretched. "And our old offices are literally brick and mortar. I visited once, and it was like walking into a crypt. I couldn't breathe, you know? I mean, it's no wonder we were producing such stale, moribund content. We were writing in our own graves!"
The solution, says Manchester, is "to dive into the digital age from a digital platform. To build a virtual newsroom that is at the same time everywhere and nowhere. No more reporters chained to desks. All you need to do news is a smartphone and a business card. Your desk is wherever you happen to be at the moment. Your conference room is Skype. Your break room is Starbucks. Freedom, baby. Freedom to find the news that's out there."
"So yeah, we'll put something where the old HQ used to be," he concludes. "I mean, as long as we own the land. Waste not, want not, you know?"
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