Concerns raised over editorial independence after Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News sold to local advertising guru. (DUH)
Posted by Yvette, who is replacing Liza because she's going on vacation after filling in for John while he's on vacation. Anyone want to take me on vacation? I'm free after this blog babysitting gig is up.
And now for the real news.
In the weeks following the sale of newspaper chain giant Knight Ridder to the McClatchy Company, Philadelphia readers and journalists alike found themselves in limbo after learning that The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News' $50 million a year profit wasn't enough to make them "keepers."
The papers were being sold once again, but to who? Sensationalized stories of money hungry Canadians looking to buy the papers and slash newsroom staff made us temporarily forget that we support immigrants who come here to work. Yucaipa Companies, not to be confused with Yaucono Coffee, was solicited by the papers' unions to embark on a homegrown campaign that pulled on heartstrings, favoring employee ownership and a commitment to keeping both papers alive.
Its website, www.2papertown.com, invokes nostalgia with brief histories, letters of support from Charles Barkley and Jerry Blavat, and images of archived front pages. A writer for the Daily News kept emailing me articles and links to the site, encouraging all of Philadelphia to rally behind the Yucaipa/employee bid. But in the end, it was ads, not editorial, that won.
Now that Philadelphia Media Holdings, L.L.C., led by CEO and local PR and advertising heavyweight Brian Tierney, has won the bid (at a cost of $562 million), and thus now owns 2 major daily papers in the country's 5th largest City (okay, barely), how do we ensure that editorial independence and diversity will reign free?Newspaper industry watchdog Editor and Publisher says that Tierney has " berated reporters and clashed with editors over stories that were damaging to his public relations clients." Furthermore, if Tierney himself has promised to stay out of the newsroom and invest his energy into the advertising department, who will go into the newsroom and focus on bringing the papers back to their 17 Pulitzers in 18 years glory?
Shouldn't content be a part of the strategy? If so, shouldn't staffers be writing about that instead of numbers? On another note, shouldn't 2PaperTown give a concession speech? The last post was on May 22, and now, it just seems like a GhostTown.