After spending four years cultivating a healthy dislike for the color crimson, most Yalies do not go into business with a bunch of ex-Harvard students. But that is just what Bill Kummel ’86 has done.
At the end of last year, Kummel was named the chief operating officer of the New York Sun, a five-day-a-week newspaper that he and several Harvard alumni plan to launch this spring.
Kummel said the goal of the paper is “to provide a quality dialogue in the New York daily newspaper market.”
Kummel and Sun founder Ira Stoll said they have not been pleased with the level of journalistic discourse in the city.
“There’s no other high-quality daily broadsheet that focuses on New York,” said Stoll, former president of the Harvard Crimson.
Stoll was involved the in founding of www.smartertimes.com, a Web site that provides a daily critique of The New York Times. Stoll said the critique of the Times may carry over from the Internet to the new newspaper, but he has not decided yet.
While both Kummel and Stoll said they want to improve the editorial quality of New York newspapers, Kummel’s involvement comes with the business side of the operation
Kummel ran a newspaper’s business before when he was publisher of the Yale Daily News in 1984.
Kummel said he is working on establishing relationships with advertisers and developing an infrastructure for the distribution of the paper. He said the challenges he faces in his new post are not unique to the newspaper business.
“There are many of the same challenges you see when you are involved in any new business,” Kummel said.
He said he could not be specific about any difficulties in his job because he is so new. He added that the paper will be publishing more information about its inception as the spring launch date draws nearer.
Nevertheless, the paper has lined up an impressive list of financial backers, which includes Charles Brunie, the chairman emeritus of Oppenheimer Capital.
According to the newspaper’s Web site, the president of the paper will be Seth Lipsky, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who, according to the site, has been described as “a legendary figure in contemporary journalism” by the Boston Globe.
Another Yalie, Benjamin Smith ’99, will be a reporter for the paper.