Ex-media mogul Conrad Black hints at a comeback

Michael Calderone
October 28, 2010
Conrad Black may return to media
Conrad Black may return to media

Conrad Black, the convicted press baron currently out on bail, is hinting that he might return to the media business.

"I think they have been so devalued that some of them are bargains now," Black said of newspapers on BBC Radio 4's "The Media Show." "I mean, many of these great American newspapers are now in the hands of receiver managers, and if they can be had for almost nothing, they are a bargain."

Black said that he didn't plan on running a media organization "as a chief occupation and not in a public company" but added that "it might happen" "in some capacity."

The Canadian-born Black served as chief executive of Hollinger International and was one of the most powerful media moguls before his 2007 fraud conviction.

At the time, Hollinger oversaw several major newspapers — the Chicago Sun-Times, Jerusalem Post, Sydney Morning Herald, National Post and Daily Telegraph — and hundreds of community newspapers. Black has also written several books, including an autobiography and 1,000-plus-page biographies of Franklin Roosevelt and Richard Nixon — the latter completed while in prison. But lately, Black has also written on the press.

Last week, Black pilloried the navel-gazing journalistic establishment in an essay on a couple of recent newspaper books — one on Rupert Murdoch's purchase of the Wall Street Journal and the other on the Washington Post — along with Gay Talese's classic on the New York Times, "The Kingdom and the Power."

Black's return to the media world might depend on the outcome of his appeal, after being found guilty on three counts of fraud and an obstruction of justice charge. He's now out on $2 million bail after serving two years of a six-and-a-half year sentence.

(Photo of Black leaving federal courthouse in Chicago in July 2007: AP/ Charles Rex Arbogast)