Can Aaron Kushner Save the Globe?
Aaron Kushner, the former CEO of a small South Shore greeting-card company, has a top-secret cure for the dying newspaper industry. And he plans to put it to the test by buying the Boston Globe.
And yet, midway through our interview, Kushner’s phone, which he’d placed on the table between us, lights up with the words “Ben Bradlee Jr.” Bradlee spent 25 years at the Globe, including in the post of deputy managing editor. Without missing a beat, Kushner flips his phone onto its face. Maybe this guy is not so outsider after all.
When I call Bradlee later, he explains that Kushner approached him for guidance on his business plan. Bradlee was impressed enough to introduce him around town to potential investors.
“I totally support his goal to bring local ownership to the Globe again,” says Bradlee. “And he views it the way I do — as a prized civic asset, which hopefully can be brought back to its glory days.”
[EDITOR’S UPDATE: As this story was going to press, the Globe reported that Benjamin and Stephen Taylor, former Globe executives, had also joined Kushner’s investment team.]
THE GLOBE — AND ALL NEWSPAPERS — face an uncertain future. No one knows what they will look like just 10 years from now. What is certain, though, is that the people ushering them into their next era bear an enormous responsibility. Perhaps recognizing this, Kushner says, “You know, in my own modest way, if I can move that needle further along, change the direction, how could I not?”
The comment suggests that Kushner feels a kind of calling to this titanic endeavor — and that he may be further on in the process than we realized.
At the end of our interview, Kushner doesn’t have time to linger. He rises, offers a quick, firm handshake, and then, like a man with a full day of important meetings ahead of him, strides toward the lobby and disappears.