Could Philly Newspapers Survive a Strike?

The Newspaper Guild has already printed picket signs in case of a possible strike.

The Newspaper Guild has already printed picket signs in case of a possible strike.

Philadelphia’s two major daily papers — the Inquirer and Daily News, along with their online cousin Philly.com — have survived one calamity after another over the past decade: A radical decline in revenues and circulation, bankruptcy, repeated changes of ownership and repeated airings of dirty laundry.

But can they survive a strike by the Newspaper Guild?

As others have noted, newspaper strikes used to hit this town all the time. But that was back when the newspaper industry was relatively flush. These days? Not so much the case. Yes, employees at Philadelphia Media Network are getting a profit-sharing check this year, but nobody would argue that the business, in Philly and elsewhere, is anything but fragile, and perhaps brittle.

Which raises a question for the journalists, ad sales personnel, circulation and support staffers who are now contemplating walking off the job: Would they have a job to return to?

Outside observers aren’t so sure. Read more »

Inquirer Journalists Launch Health Care Petition

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Members of the Newspaper Guild negotiating committee.

Members of the Newspaper Guild have launched a petition to pressure the Philadelphia Media Network — owner of the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com — to improve its health care proposals to the company’s journalists.

The Change.org petition had 129 signatures as of 8 a.m. today. A strike authorization vote by Guild workers is expected the first week of June. Read more »

PHOTO: Philadelphia Newspaper Strike a Real Possibility

See updates below with PMN’s memorandum to journalists, and the guild’s commentary on that memo.

[Original] We’re still waiting to hear back on the progress of today’s scheduled negotiations between the Philadelphia Media Network and the Newspaper Guild, but we received some photographic evidence this afternoon that the guild is serious about its intent to call a strike authorization vote next week:

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That was the scene this afternoon inside 8th and Market, where Philadelphia Media Network maintains the newsrooms of the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com. The guild represents journalists at those outlets. Our tipster was clear: No strike has been called as yet. But the signs have been printed. Read more »

The Lines in This Fox 29 Story About Poop Falling From the Sky, Ranked

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Monday night on Fox 29, reporter Brad Sattin covered quite the story: A Sweet 16 party in Levittown was interrupted by an airplane releasing its bathroom waste overhead. Shortly, the party was covered in poop.

As you might expect with such a story, Sattin delivered multiple poop puns and other similar lines during his report. Here they are, ranked from best to worst: Read more »

Inky Union Says Strike Authorization Vote Possible

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

[Update 7:20 p.m.] Stan Wischnowski, vice president of news operations for Philadelphia Media Network, responds by email: “We don’t agree at all with how the Guild has characterized these negotiations through their bulletins. We recognize that there are important issues still to be resolved and we’re working very diligently to find solutions that will better position the company and our employees for the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

[Original 5:46 p.m.] The union that represents journalists at the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com says it’s ready to call for a strike authorization vote if bargaining doesn’t produce a breakthrough in the next week.

“Our final scheduled mediation session is Wednesday morning,” the Newspaper Guild’s negotiating committee said in a Friday afternoon memorandum to its members at the Philadelphia Media Network. (See the full memorandum below.) “If the company again refuses to come with anything concrete to discuss, our only alternatives will be the filing of an Unfair Labor Practice charge and a strike authorization vote.”

A spokesman for Philadelphia Media Network did not return repeated calls for comment. Read more »

WATCH: This Is Why the Philly.com Comments Are Changing

Here are reporters from the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com reading comments on their stories at Philly.com. It’s funny and sad and, well, watch:

That actually seems tame and merely insulting, instead of dangerously racist and idiotic, but still: It’s a sampling of the stuff reporters at the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com deal with every day. Read more »

Humans of New York-Style Blog Spotlights Philly’s Cerebral Palsy Community

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When asked what she would say if she could speak to a million people, Lauren answered, “Do you have any pets?”

A new blog put together by three Penn students features photos and stories from what might be an unexpected location: the HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy, in University City. The blog, called A Different Kind of Expression, uses the style of Humans of New York (and its many imitators) to give the world a window into the lives of the kids who spend their days at the school, and the adults who support and educate them.

Nikhil Rajapuram, one of the founders of A Different Kind of Expression, has worked with HMS for almost two years, and he was looking for a way to share the amazing stories he saw there. “The biggest issue facing people with disabilities, especially cerebral palsy, is social stigma,” he says. He hopes that this site can help fight that stigma by helping people understand the cerebral palsy community.

Read more »

Dear Philadelphia Media: Stop Calling the Mayoral Race Boring

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So, so bored. We know. | Shutterstock.com

Yesterday, Citified’s Holly Otterbein was the latest journalist covering this year’s primary to call the race “dull.” This isn’t to pick on Holly. Plenty of other generally stellar journalists have described it as it boring, tedious or some other adjective for tiresome: Chris Brennan did it, John Baer did it, Patrick Kerkstra did it, and I did it, too (kind of).

We all need to stop it, right now. Read more »

Columbia Journalism School’s Damning Report on That UVA Rape Story

The Phi Kappa Psi house at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.

The Phi Kappa Psi house at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.

Last night, the report by the team assigned by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism to dissect what went wrong in Rolling Stone‘s story of a rape at the University of Virginia was made public. The 12,000-word result is a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of magazine journalism, and a cautionary tale that anyone reporting on controversial subjects — or reading about them — would do well to check out.

The author of the Rolling Stone story, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, once wrote for Philadelphia magazine; I worked with and liked and admired her then, and I feel the same way now. But parts of the Columbia report are difficult to read. Read more »

How the Founders of Philly Tech Week Built a New-Media Empire

This month’s Philly Tech Week is one way Wink, left, and Kirk, right, generate revenue. Photograph by Gene Smirnov

This month’s Philly Tech Week is one way Wink, left, and Kirk, right, generate revenue. Photograph by Gene Smirnov

It’s a frigid February day, and Union Transfer — as usual — is throbbing with young people. Only it’s not rock bands and sweaty, dancing concertgoers filling out the venue this afternoon, but bright-eyed, tech-oriented millennials and the companies that want to hire them. The event? A good old-fashioned job fair. Read more »

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