The Inquirer’s Parent Company Gets $1M to Fund Investigative Journalism, Diversity Efforts

lenfest

The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News newspapers sit on display on a newsstand in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The recently established Lenfest Institute for Journalism has announced the recipients of its first set of grant awards.

The nonprofit will distribute $2 million in funding to support diversity, innovation, and sustainability among journalism platforms and entrepreneurs in Philly, New York, California, Austin, and Cambridge, Mass. Half the money will benefit the institute-owned Philadelphia Media Network, parent company of the Inquirer, Philly.com and Daily News.

“We’re really trying to help build a renaissance of journalism across the ecosystem, not only PMN,” said Jim Friedlich, executive director of the Lenfest Institute. “We think there’s a digital news renaissance happening in Philadelphia, and we want to be very much a part of it.” Read more »

The Inquirer and Daily News Don’t Know How to Talk About Racism

iStockphoto | ymgerman

As a black man in Philadelphia, telling me that racists exist in the city is like reminding me that oxygen is in the atmosphere. I don’t need disturbing graphic images to trigger me — I observe it when noticing a white woman clutch her purse as I walk by her in Rittenhouse Square, complying with an embarrassing stop-and-frisk near a SEPTA station, or being asked by security guards for a receipt upon leaving Liberty Place plaza downtown. Read more »

Inquirer, Daily News Hiking Newsstand Prices to $1.50

inquirer daily news newspapers

Philadelphia Media Network — the parent company of the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com — will be raising the price of weekday single issues of both papers from $1.00 to $1.50 beginning May 23rd.

“Our pricing reflects the value associated with our products,” said a PMN spokeswoman in statement.  Read more »

Stu Bykofsky Demands Daily News Remove His Byline from Article

Photo by Victor Fiorillo

Photo | Victor Fiorillo

If you happened to pick up a copy of the Daily News on Monday at your local newsstand, one thing you wouldn’t have seen in it was a column from Stu Bykofsky. Oh, the longtime Daily News staffer did write a story, which wound up online and, apparently, in a home delivery edition, but it was omitted from the majority of the newspapers out there. So what gives? Read more »

Seth Williams Reacts to Lawsuit Report

Seth Williams

District Attorney Seth Williams today responded to a Daily News report that his office had settled a racial discrimination lawsuit with a former employee, taking to the paper’s letters-to-the-editor page to assert: “I am proud of my record, my decisions and the way I have run the District Attorney’s Office.”

The paper reported Tuesday that the suit was brought by MK Feeney, a white female homicide prosecutor who says she was fired in 2011, accused of being “untruthful” in the aftermath of a Daily News cover story about turmoil in the the prosecutor’s office. Her suit said that a fellow homicide prosecutor — a black man, and a member of the same fraternity as Williams — later confessed to leaking the info, but was not fired. The city settled the complaint for $190,000, and Williams admitted no wrongdoing.

“In the (Daily News) story, the reporter failed to mention two things,” Williams wrote today. “First, that he was the reporter who received the leaked information in 2011 from the individual profiled and failed to disclose that in his article. Second, that the individual who was not fired was treated differently because he was honest, remorseful and admitted that he conspired with the profiled employee to improperly share expungement information that could harm another assistant district attorney.”
Read more »

Report: City Settled Race Discrimination Suit Against D.A.

District Attorney Seth Williams | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

District Attorney Seth Williams | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

City Hall in 2014 settled a racial discrimination lawsuit aimed at District Attorney Seth Williams, the Daily News reported today.

The suit was brought by MK Feeney, a white female homicide prosecutor who says she was fired in 2011, accused of being “untruthful” in the aftermath of a Daily News cover story about turmoil in the the prosecutor’s office. Her suit said that a fellow homicide prosecutor — a black man, and a member of the same fraternity as Williams — later confessed to leaking the info, but was not fired. That man has since left the D.A.’s office.

“She would not have been fired if she was black. She was not the right color. She was not in the same fraternity,” a source told the paper. Read more »

What They’re Saying About the Inky’s New Non-Profit Ownership

inquirer daily news newspapers

As expected, the news industry is taking notice of Gerry Lenfest’s decision to transfer ownership of Philly’s major newspapers — the Inquirer and Daily News, along with Philly.com — to a newly created non-profit institute.

After years of declining revenues and staff cuts, newspapers around the country want to see if Lenfest has hit upon the answer — finally — to guaranteeing the future of large-scale community news coverage. The verdict? There seem to be as many questions as answers.

Here’s what they’re saying: Read more »

10 Burning Questions About the Inquirer‘s New Nonprofit Ownership

Gerry Lenfest enters Tuesday's ownership announcement at the National Constitution Center | Joel Mathis for Philly Mag.

Gerry Lenfest enters Tuesday’s ownership announcement at the National Constitution Center. Photo | Joel Mathis

Three themes emerged from Tuesday morning’s formal announcement that Philadelphia Media Network — owner of the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com — is being placed under the ownership of a new non-profit institute.

First: The new ownership structure will halt the revolving-door ownership that has afflicted the company with five different ownership groups over the last decade or so. That, in turn, should provide stability for a news organization that has been mired in chaos and, at times, bankruptcy during that time.

“It is, I think, a perfect combination for the future of journalism in Philadelphia,” said Gerry Lenfest, who created the nonprofit — the Institute for Journalism in New Media (IJNM) — and “donated” the papers to it.

Second: The non-profit structure will make it easier for the papers to seek financial sustainability by attracting grant funding to help pay for their journalism.

And third: There’s still a lot of work to be done to figure out how to make large-scale journalism pay for itself in the 21st century. Today’s announcement doesn’t preclude the possibility that there could be layoffs at the papers later this year if advertising revenues continue to decline.

In the short term, PMN publisher Terry Egger said, the new ownership structure “doesn’t solve our problems.” Richard Fox, the Dilworth Paxson attorney who oversaw the arrangements, added: “This is not a short-term measure. It’s a long-term measure.”

So what does the new ownership structure do? We’ll try to answer the biggest questions raised by this situation based on public documents and discussions with various officials involved in the transaction, including Egger and Fox. Read more »

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