Will New Blog Bring WHYY, Philly.com Together?

WHYY Blog Face

WHYY’s new blog covering the mayor’s race is just one piece of what could end up being a unique collaboration among Philadelphia’s most-powerful media outlets.

The blog, NinetyNine, debuted Wednesday at WHYY’s news site, NewsWorks.org, helmed by longtime Philadelphia reporter Brian Hickey. It’s expected to be the first piece of multi-platform coverage of the mayor’s race, which will ultimately be hosted at Philly.com.

“The blog will be our contribution,” said Chris Satullo, WHYY’s president for news and civic dialogue. ‘The blog will also be on Philly.com.”

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The Ultimate Recycled Christmas Tree Maze Opens in Media

Christmas Tree Maze

It’s that point in January when I start to make fun of people who still have their holiday decorations up. However, at one Media farm, they’re just getting started with thousands of Christmas trees.

Linvilla Orchards opened their Ultimate Recycled Tree Maze, which uses unsold Christmas trees from around the region. Normally, these unloved trees get chopped into mulch or end up in landfills, but Linvilla has given them second life in a wildly challenging family puzzle. Read more »

Media Startup Showdown: Ranking Philly’s Three New Online News Sites


Pay no attention to those gloomy statements coming out of the city’s long-established newspapers: Philadelphia’s media scene is growing by leaps and bounds! The launch last week of PhillyVoice.com completed the trifecta of new news organizations that have gotten their start in the last year. What they all have in common? They’re built by refugees from so-called “legacy media.” But none of them has a foot in the print world — they’re all digital (and even mostly mobile) all of the time.

Now it’s time to sit back and make some judgments. Here are the three new news sites, and what we make of them. Ranked in order of essentialness:

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ACLU Challenges Anti-Mumia Law


The ACLU has filed suit on behalf of a group of Pennsylvania journalists and academics, challenging the new law passed in the wake of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s commencement speech to a Vermont college last year.

The law lets crime victims collect damages from prison inmates whose conduct “causes a temporary or permanent state of mental anguish” in their original crime victim. “The ACLU challenged it in federal court Thursday, saying it stifles advocacy and debate on prison issues,” AP reports.
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Daily News Cartoonist: Paris Attackers “Came After Us”

When Signe Wilkinson heard about the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris, she was — like the rest of us — horrified. As a political cartoonist who once depicted the Prophet Mohammed in print, though, she had extra reason to be alarmed.

“You know, when you live in America, it’s not unknown to wake up and hear 12 people are shot somewhere. That’s kind of a recurring theme. But when it’s 12 people you feel affiliated with in a profound way — cartoonists feel pretty connected — it’s a terrible loss,” said Wilkinson, the longtime Philadelphia Daily News cartoonist who won a Pulitzer Prize for her work in 1992. “They came after us. It was not random.”

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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.”

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Lu Ann Cahn Takes Job at Temple University


Longtime NBC10 reporter Lu Ann Cahn announced last month she’s retiring from TV journalism — now we know where she’s landing: At Temple University, where she’ll be the director of career services at the School of Media and Communication. It’s a brand-new position.

“One of the most satisfying things I’ve been able to do during my career is mentor hundreds of interns who are now working journalists,” Cahn said in a press release from Temple. “There is no doubt Temple has the best media and communications program in our region and it’s growing. I feel so fortunate I now have this opportunity to work full time with Temple students and can’t wait to help launch the next generation of professional communicators.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to have someone of Lu Ann’s reputation, experience and integrity joining us,” said David Boardman, the school’s dean. “Her passion for excellence will inspire our students, and her wisdom and network will help them land great jobs and internships.”

Cahn had been at NBC10 since 1987. She led th station’s Emmy-award winning coverage of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, and she gained national recognition for her book on surviving breast cancer, I Dare Me.

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.

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New WHYY Reporter Has the Best Story About Being Fired

Bobby Allyn 940 x 540

Bobby Allyn, who starts next week as the newest reporter at WHYY, comes to Philadelphia with a host of reporting experience — but more than that, he’s got one of the best stories ever about losing a job in journalism.

Allyn had worked two years at the Nashville Tennessean before being laid off in the summer of 2013. The problem? He was in the middle of breaking a story about the musician Jack White’s divorce when he received news that he was being let go.

Allyn told Romenesko readers what happened next:

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