A Q&A with Don Russell, New Editor-in-Chief of Philly Weekly

Don Russell - Joe Sixpack - photo of him holding a beer

Photo via joesixpack.net

Earlier this week, Broad Street Media announced it had been purchased by Donnelly Distribution, an advertising and circular company in New Jersey. Donnelly’s purchased gave them a chain of community newspapers in Philadelphia and the suburbs, including the Northeast Times, the South Philly Review and the Fishtown Star. It also bought Philadelphia Weekly, the remaining alt-weekly in town.

At the time of the announcement, Donnelly Distribution also announced it had installed a new editor-in-chief of all its publications: Don Russell. Best known as beer columnist Joe Sixpack, he recently announced he’d be taking his column away from the Daily News and to the Weekly and its sister publications. Before taking a buyout at the DN in 2005, he was a longtime reporter for the tabloid pub.

Philadelphia magazine chatted with Russell about the future of PW and the other papers. This interview has been lightly edited for style and condensed. Read more »

Philly Weekly, Northeast Times Sold to N.J. Circular Company

Joe Sixpack - PW

Don Russell (aka Joe Sixpack) is the new editor-in-chief of a group of publications that includes Philadelphia Weekly, the Northeast Times and the South Philly Review.

A company that drops circulars on Philadelphia-area doorsteps just got a bit bigger.

Donnelly Distribution, a Pennsauken-based circular distribution company that was previously a minority owner of the newspaper group, announced today it had acquired Broad Street Media from former CEO Darwin Oordt and other owners. Broad Street Media owns Philadelphia Weekly, the Northeast Times, South Philly Review as well as other smaller newspapers.

Don Russell, the longtime Daily News scribe who worked at the paper for years and penned the Joe Sixpack beer column, has been named the editor-in-chief of Broad Street Media. Russell announced he was moving the column to the Broad Street Media papers earlier this month.

“I’m a true believer in the value of community newspapers, and it’s my aim to support journalistic excellence at all of these publications,” Donnelly Distribution president Richard Donnelly said. “We have already developed exciting plans for their future.” Read more »

Meet the Philly Student Magazine That Just Got Credentialed to Cover the DNC

The Motivos teams at Taller Puertorriqueño's Meet the Author series. Courtesy of Jenée Chizick-Agüero

The Motivos teams at Taller Puertorriqueño’s Meet the Author series. Courtesy of Jenée Chizick-Agüero

If this freaky electoral season has given us anything to be certain about, it is that diversity and inclusion are still quite an issue in our country.

From Donald Trump’s exclusion of Mexicans and Muslims from the “we” that is supposed to describe America, to Hillary Clinton’s inability to convince young Bernie voters that the mainstream Democratic Party is inclusive enough to welcome them and their core issues — the United States is going through what amounts to an identity crisis.

And, for better or worse, that identity crisis — at least the Democratic side of it — will be in evidence at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

But it won’t manifest in the media coverage. Or at least not in all of the media coverage. Motivos — a bilingual magazine staffed and produced by college and graduating high school-age journalists and headquartered West Poplar Community Center in Fairmount — just received notice of preliminary credentialing to cover the Democratic National Convention.

Unexpected. And unexpectedly inclusive.  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 »

Executive Editor Sabrina Vourvoulias Leaves Al Día

al-dia-sabrina-Vourvoulias-940x540

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comment from Al Día founder and CEO Hernán Guaracao.

Al Día News‘ Executive Editor, Sabrina Vourvoulias, has left the publication, she announced Sunday on Facebook.

“In personal news: I’ve just tendered my resignation at Al Día News,” she wrote. “I have loved working with many fine colleagues during my four years there and I walk away with some absolutely terrific memories. I’ll be freelance writing, editing and opining (in two languages, of course), and intend to do coffee in Philly often — so hit me up!”

Under Vourvoulias’ leadership, Al Día launched English language content, which quickly became a must-read for many of the city’s decision makers. Through smart commentary, she and the publication advanced the city’s conversation about race. Vourvoulias, who had been with the company since 2012, declined to comment on her resignation.  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 »

What Acel Moore Meant to Journalism — in Philadelphia and Beyond

Acel Moore. Photo | NABJ Facebook

Acel Moore. Photo | NABJ Facebook

The Civil Rights Movement and the riots that swept through dozens of American cities in the 1960s also exposed a hole in mainstream newsrooms across the land.

The white reporters and editors who staffed those newsrooms had little knowledge of the people who fueled the movement or the communities that erupted in rage.

To make matters worse, many of those reporters and editors didn’t know how much they didn’t know, because there was no one in their universe to tell them.

The Philadelphia Inquirer was fortunate to hire someone early on who could. That person was Acel Moore, who spent his entire career at the paper and died this past Friday at age 75. Read more »

Billy Doe’s Lawyer Pushes Back on Newsweek Cover Story

Ralph Cipriano, left. Slade McLaughlin, right.

Ralph Cipriano, left. Slade McLaughlin, right.

Billy Doe’s lawyer is pushing back against a Newsweek cover story that questions his client’s veracity in several Philadelphia Catholic Church sex abuse cases.

“I would think Newsweek would do some modicum of investigation of its journalism to make sure it was fair and unbiased,” said Slade McLaughlin. He took particular aim at the story’s author, Ralph Cipriano, a longtime Philly journalist who has covered the case closely for years.

“Ralph has an agenda,” McLaughlin said. “Ralph has his points to make.”

Cipriano this week stood by his reporting. “There’s no reason to believe this kid,” he told Philly Mag. He said criticism of the story amounted to “shooting the messenger” — and avoiding tackling hard questions raised by his reporting.

“My agenda was to expose a suspect prosecution and a fraudulent ‘victim’ who gamed the system,” Cipriano said in response to McLaughlin’s quote. “And he couldn’t have done it without his legal enablers, beginning in the district attorney’s office and ending with Slade McLaughlin.

Newsweek deputy editor Bob Roe also defended the story in an email to Philly Mag, saying Cipriano ” has consistently demonstrated that his loyalty is to the truth, not the players. We stand by the story.” Read more »

Will Inky, WHYY Compete for Grant Money?

Is this town big enough for two large-scale, grant-funded reporting enterprises? We’re about to find out.

Tuesday’s announcement that the Philadelphia Media Network — owner of the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com — was converting to non-profit ownership in order to attract grant money raised eyebrows across town at public radio station WHYY, whose own non-profit reporting efforts are, of course, largely paid for by grants and donations.

We asked Tuesday if the philanthropic pie was big enough to support both news organizations. It seems that WHYY officials have the same question on their mind.

“There is real potential that we will have more competition for our own fundraising among the donor community,” WHYY CEO Bill Marazzo said in a Tuesday email to staff, adding: “I have no doubt that WHYY has the quality of staff and the depth of experience in news and information to fully meet the challenges ahead.” Read more »

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