“There is nothing to pull off the shelf and say, ‘If we execute this plan well, it will work,’” he told me earlier in his office, with a grin. “And to tell you the truth, that’s one of the things I found attractive about this, that succeeding is gonna demand some creativity.”
And so for all the uncertainty surrounding the future of this city’s newspapers, a central part of Osberg’s pitch to his board — his pitch to Philadelphia — seems to be that he, at least, is clear: He is located squarely in the time and space in which he most wishes to be. And as the cocktail party winds to a close, he never does get himself a drink. In fact, while the rest of the crowd piles into the auditorium, he gives the coat-check girl his ticket. And with only a celery stick in his belly to show he had ever been to a party at all, he puts his long coat back on over his suit and steps outside. He pauses, for just a moment, at the top of the Franklin Institute’s steep stone stairs, then charges downward, long-legging it back to work through a stiff winter wind.