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"100 Days Of Change" Coming To The Houston Chronicle

Hearst is the privately owned company that owns a ton of magazines, TV stations and newspapers, including our very own Houston Chronicle.

The longtime head of Hearst's newspaper division recently retired; the guy who replaced him has sent out a long memo to employees full of doom and gloom and re-invention.

The entire memo is way too long if the Hearst company is not issuing your paycheck, but there are some highlights.

What the Chron is doing well:

There are other promising bursts of innovation across our newspaper company. Early next year, both our Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Chronicle will launch a totally revamped weekend classifieds sections, transforming what have been gray and tiny listings into vibrant color and photo-filled, catalogue-like sections complete with the kinds of data readers need to continue their search online.

Our Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News have launched a project to combine their news feature operations, strengthening our coverage of common subjects like movies, TV and travel while allowing each newspaper to put more focus on uniquely local content.

And then there's the "100 Days of Change," complete with its own e-mail address for employees to send their ideas to.

So we're announcing that beginning January 5th we'll launch a program called "100 Days of Change" to sharpen our focus and speed the pace of innovation. Of course we won't get all we need done in 100 days, but we will lay down our blueprint for 2009 and beyond, and we'll make sure each of you has a full understanding of where we want to head and the opportunity to let us know what you think of our course.

We've got a number of initiatives in the works that we'll be telling you more about in the days and weeks to come. Many of the leaders of our newspaper company will head task forces to review our efforts in key areas, task forces that will have tight deadlines and that will report not just to senior management but to all of you. We also need your ideas, so we've established a new mailbox, 100daysofchange@hearst.com, for you to send us your thoughts on how we can make a better newspaper company.

Task forces! Be still our hearts.

We hope that none of this great innovation results in any hardworking reporters or Chron staffers losing their jobs, but we're not optimistic.

-- Richard Connelly

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