Journalists “Not Willing to Budge” in Newspaper Labor Stalemate

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Labor negotiations between the journalists union and the company that owns Philly’s two largest daily newspapers have taken a “grim turn,” the union announced this week.

Talks have faltered, union officials say, over Interstate General Media’s attempt to weaken “last in, first out” seniority rules for laying off reporters during times of financial crisis at the newspapers. The result? The company has reportedly withdrawn its pay-and-benefits proposals it had hoped would govern the next contract.
Read more »

Kane Lawyer: Inky Reporters Are “Wrong Target”

Kathleen Kane’s lawyer on Tuesday said that two reporters from the Inquirer should not be subpoenaed by investigators trying to determine who leaked information from grand jury proceedings suggesting that charges had been recommended against her.

The Inquirer revealed the existence of the subpoena on Monday. Tuesday, Lanny Davis said the leak should be investigated — but not by targeting journalists.
Read more »

Inky Reporters Subpoenaed by Grand Jury

Looks like we’re about to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

We noted last week that when the Inquirer reported that a grand jury had recommended charges against Attorney General Kathleen Kane for leaking information from an earlier grand jury case, the paper itself relied on information leaked from a grand jury. Kane’s attorney, Lanny Davis, made the same point.

So it’s probably inevitable that Inky reporters Craig R. McCoy and Angela Couloumbis have now been subpoenaed to appear before a statewide grand jury investigating who leaked that story to them.

The Inquirer, however, says it will protect its sources.
Read more »

At Daily News, New Fears About the Future

They're owned by the same company, but rivals just the same.

They’re owned by the same company, but rivals just the same.

An apparent hiring freeze and the exodus of several high-profile staffers to the Inquirer has left Daily News staffers feeling stretched thin and wondering — again — what the future holds for their long-beleaguered newspaper.

Interstate General Media, which owns both newspapers and Philly.com, has been restructuring operations ever since Gerry Lenfest took over as owner and publisher last year: The photo staffs of the two newspapers were combined this month — managed out of the Inky newsroom — and Philly.com has been hard at work building up its roster of talent while supplanting the old newspaper websites.

But this week’s announcement that political columnist Chris Brennan is moving to the Inquirer after 15 years at the tabloid appears to have unleashed fears among staffers that the Daily News is being left to wither slowly on the vine. And those frustrations are peaking while IGM and the Newspaper Guild — which represents employees of all three newsrooms — negotiate a new bargaining agreement to replace the contract that expires February 8th. 

“I think it’s fair to say the Daily News won’t be hiring anybody in the short run. Hopefully that will change,” said Howard Gensler, the Daily News gossip columnist and president of the guild. “The belief is that the Daily News has too many employees.”

But, he added: “I haven’t gotten any evidence from the company they don’t want there to be a Daily News.”

Read more »

DN’s Chris Brennan Moves to Inky

Capping off a day of local media moves, the Daily News‘ Chris Brennan — one of the city’s foremost political reporters — revealed today he’s moving over to the Inquirer after 15 years at the tabloid.

Read more »

Vince Fumo in Inquirer: Don’t Give Money to the Homeless

Former State Senator Vince Fumo has resurfaced today with an opinion piece in (of all places!) The Philadelphia Inquirer. Yes, Fumo has published an op-ed in the newspaper his lawyer accused of trying to destroy Fumo’s life just last year. You guys, the paper and the convicted felon have made up!

In the op-ed, Fumo says he “used to not really see the homeless” until he spent the past year riding with Project H.O.M.E.’s Sister Mary Scullion. Fumo says he’s also been interviewing people who Project H.O.M.E. has helped. Hey, good for him!

Read more »

Older Workers Targeted in IGM Buyout Offer

The-inquirer-doors-front-view-of-building

Interstate General Media — the parent company of Philly.com, Inquirer, and Daily News — is seeking to cut costs by eliminating some of the company’s longest-tenured workers.

IGM employees received a memo Wednesday afternoon from Howard Gensler and Bill Ross — president and director, respectively, of the Newspaper Guild that represents them in collective bargaining — informing them of the buyouts, and asserting that layoffs may be necessary if the company doesn’t reach its cost-cutting goals through volunteer departures.

The target of the buyout efforts: Employees who have stuck with IGM and its parent companies the longest.
Read more »

Meet the New Philly.com Brain Trust

topel ulken 940 x 540

Mike Topel, left, and Eric Ulken of Philly.com.

Meet the new braintrust of Philly.com. These are the guys who may hold the future of Philadelphia’s two major daily newspapers in their hands.

Mike Topel, the executive editor of Philly.com, is an old hand — he worked on the print side at the Inquirer, then Philly.com, before leaving for several years. He returned this summer to lead the operation. Eric Ulken arrived shortly after from the Seattle Times to become the site’s director of digital strategy — a position that has a foot both in journalism and the business of Philly.com

With the recent announcement that the Inquirer and Daily News sites are shutting down and folding into Philly.com, this duo’s work becomes more important than ever to the future of the Interstate General Media, which owns all three organizations. It’s a fraught assignment: The three newsrooms have a spotty record, at best, of cooperation. Philly.com has had its own reputational problems. But the duo vows a renewed emphasis on journalism — and on making that journalism look good on the web.

The two sat down with Philly Mag recently to talk about the future of Philly.com, how to get three newsrooms to cooperate together on the web, what went wrong with the newspapers’ websites, and Philly.com’s advantages in the marketplace.

Oh, and we talked about comments. Of course.

Read more »

« Older Posts  |  Newer Posts »