Patton, as in Gen. George S., was the U.S. Army officer who was idolized for his success as a battlefield commander in World War II. He's remembered as much for his leadership as he was for bucking conventional wisdom and the political agenda.

Paton, as in John, is the CEO of Journal Register Co. While it's too early for history to judge Paton as leader of the formerly bankrupt newspaper publisher, it's clear - even though it's only been 10 months since he's been on the job - that he's ready to buck conventional wisdom.

Paton has taken JRC from a company whose reputation was as shabby as some of the facilities it operated to one that now sports a $40 million profit. And he's not afraid to make changes as he exhorts his fellow newspaper executives to follow suit.

"Start stacking the dimes," Paton advises his colleagues. And if a digital ad yields only 10 cents of the dollar a print ad generates, then you better begin to align your business to operate in an environment of dimes not dollars. "Find an effective way to attack those dimes. And if the newspaper industry has a (growing) digital audience that's worth only dimes, then you better find a cost-effective way to create and deliver content to that audience."

And if you're a publisher who remains to stubbornly wed to a print-centric business strategy? Paton says he'll take that person out to lunch and tell him the day and date that operation will go out of business.

One thing about Paton, John. He has strong ideas and strong opinions.

Just like that other Patton, George S.

See the next issue of News & Tech to read our One-on-One interview with Paton to find out what other steps he's taking to reinvent JRC.




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