Thursday, February 16, 2012

NYT: Philly papers' editorial freedom at stake

From a New York Times story today, about growing signs The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Daily News may be sold for as little as $40 million to an investor group led by Edward Rendell, the former Philadelphia mayor and Pennsylvania governor.

Reporters and editors believe that coverage has been steered to favor the prospective buyers and fear what might happen once they control the papers. On Feb. 6, the Inquirer killed an article about a real estate developer who had put together a competing bid to buy the company, which went on the market earlier this month. Then, on Feb. 7, a company spokesman removed a post on the Daily News’s PhillyClout blog that mentioned other potential buyers.

The situation in Philadelphia speaks to the vulnerability of regional newspapers. Long operated as functional monopolies with attractive margins, local papers have undergone a nosedive in earnings and advertising revenue. Having ceased to be sure-fire financial investments, these newspapers, the reporters fear, could still be attractive as a tool to advance new owners’ political and business interests.

By the numbers: circulation
The Inquirer, weekdays: 331,134; Sunday, 482,457.

Related: Yesterday, the papers said they would cut newsroom employment by 37 jobs through buyouts or layoffs.

1 comment:

  1. But reading Gannett Blog these past few years, I thought local ownership was the solution.


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