Occasionally these days, Daily News staffers wander past a vacant portion of the paper’s increasingly vacant newsroom and say, “You know, this would make a great bocce court.” To which assistant managing editor Wendy Warren now has a standard reply: “You’re right. That’s why we’re getting one.”
Sometime in the next few months, the People Paper, lately beset by eroding circulation and declining staff size, is expected to install a full-fledged bocce court in its North Broad Street headquarters. “We developed some extra real estate in the newsroom,” Warren says, coyly referring to last fall’s buyouts and layoffs, which shrank the newsroom staff of 130 by 25 people. “Instead of crying about it, we decided to redevelop the area with the best and highest use in mind.” And that would be chucking small balls around like a bunch of Italian retirees. Warren says the game hasn’t really been a staple of Daily News culture, but that with numerous lifelong Philadelphians on the staff, there’s a natural affinity for it.
The staff has recently been preoccupied with other matters — the paper’s new owners, led by local adman Brian Tierney, took over at the end of June — but momentum for the project hasn’t slowed. Plans have been drawn up, and conversations have been held with company carpenters about installation.
So is the new boss, Tierney, a bocce lover? “I have no idea,” Warren says. “But he’s throwing out the first pitch at a Phillies game. Maybe he can throw out the first bocce ball here.”