“A lot of his ideas sound hokey or demeaning, but there is a grain of truth to many of them,” says Marc Fisher. “We need to connect with readers, interact with readers, sell ourselves to readers. Those are not only legitimate ideas, but at this point probably essential. Lee despises snootiness and snobbery and anything that smacks of an elite—and we are an elite, especially print journalists. And if he can figure out ways to blow through that before the journalists gang up and blow him out of there, then he may succeed in some ways. He has a kid’s heart—a fan’s heart. He’s not the guy measuring how much someone’s written. He’s not the guy who has a secret formula for taking the newsroom down to six people. He wants newspapers to be something people love. He’s all about the emotion, which is the part that newspapers have traditionally been scared to death of.”

Robert Love is an adjunct professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and the executive editor of Best Life.