Is Upstart Metro Buying City Paper?

CP publisher: “We are evaluating strategic alternatives.”


Metro, the free daily tabloid newspaper, is reportedly looking to buy Philadelphia City Paper, the stalwart alt-weekly that has been buffeted in recent years by the newspaper industry’s headwinds.

Several sources suggested on Tuesday afternoon that the sale had been agreed to, but according to City Paper publisher Nancy Stuski, the situation between the papers was still in flux.

“We are evaluating strategic alternatives,” Stuski told Philly Mag Tuesday afternoon, declining further comment.

Philadelphia has long been unusual in that it is home to not one but two major alt-weekly newspapers, neither of them part of a larger national chain: City Paper and Philadelphia Weekly have been competing for decades, but both have seen a radical decline in ad pages in recent years. City Paper, for its part, managed to maintain a reputation for strong journalism amid the budget cuts.

Metro, meanwhile, is part of the larger Metro U.S. chain of newspapers, known for their short articles aimed at big-city commuters — and for the fact that it is still apparently growing in the otherwise rapidly consolidating newspaper industry.

It was impossible to say on Tuesday afternoon what the combined organizations might look like, or how they would collaborate. But rubbing elbows wouldn’t be new for the staffs of the two papers: They already share a floor in the offices at 30 South 15th Street.

There was no word on when an announcement might emerge in the matter.

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  • Isaiah Thompson

    Wow, never started an online discussion thread before. And it’s PhillyMag. Well. Anyway, thought I’d get the first word in here while I still could.

    As a staff writer and sometime editor for City Paper for nearly five years, I obviously hope that whatever happens is good for the paper and its staff, and helps keep a great and crucial voice in this city going strong. I have no reason to think this isn’t good, and Nancy Stuski, its publisher, has done nothing but fight as she can for the paper — not just its finances, but for its editorial integrity.

    I hope that whoever winds up calling the shots at CP will continue to recognize, as its current and former publishers have, the vital importance of maintaining City Paper as a source of aggressive, investigative, and unflinching original news — new of the kind that, despite the good work of many fine journalists here, has been declining in Philadelphia for some time.

    Most readers of CP think of it first, I’m sure, as a source of listings and (top notch) arts, culture and food reviews. And well they should: CP does that better than anyone.

    But since it began, the paper’s first few pages (not, as has changed at PW, those buried deep inside) have always been devoted to an ambitious, hard-hitting, original News section, powered by a tiny news team — an editor, a couple of reporters, and a few reliable freelancers, usually — which nonetheless manages to stay competitive with, and occasionally flog, the biggest news outlets in town, and which has always broken big, and not infrequently risky, news stories.

    That’s because its reporters have always been given a mandate to do so. We believed, as a newsroom and as a staff and as a company that breaking big stories, challenging other news outlets, and generally prodding and poking and digging where we weren’t wanted was more than a business idea.

    I hope that whoever’s calling the shots for CP going forward agrees. Good luck dudes. — I

    • Sean

      Who in their right mind would want to buy the City Paper? Outside of guys looking for prostitutes and massage parlors, the readers are almost non-existent. Perhaps the Metro has plans to improve the quality of predictable editorials that CP tries to cram down the reader’s (are there any left) throats. But, even if they could improve the content; will anyone advertise in it? Maybe they know something the rest of us don’t. Good Riddance