Pulse: Chatter: Opinions: How to Save a Dying Newspaper

A modest proposal

In March, the Daily News started arriving at newsstands with a new phrase printed under the logo: “an edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer.” The cost-cutting maneuver will conserve $500K a year by consolidating two Associated Press subscriptions, and it came on the heels of reports that the company’s creditors wanted to close the streetwise DN for good. Embattled CEO Brian P. Tierney wisely told them no. But we think he ought to take it a step further: The Daily News should absorb the Inquirer.

The Inky sells a concept no one believes in anymore  —  the objective Paper of Record. Yes, the DN occasionally throws up on itself. (Calling city managing director Camille Barnett’s husband her “hubby” in the headline announcing that he’d died in a car accident wasn’t colorful  —  it was stupid.) And yes, the DN could stand to expand its voice range beyond rowhouse Philly. But in an age when people have so many sources for national news, the only remaining niche for a city newspaper is to be local  —  hyper-local. And that, reader, is the DN’s greatest strength. The DN covers crime, politics and sports  —  the city’s three biggest industries  —  as well as or better than the Inky. And all with roughly one-third of the Inquirer’s reporting staff. Which brings us to a third point:

Staffers at the Inquirer seem to think they won all those Pulitzers yesterday. But the legendary streak they went on  —  17 Pulitzers in 18 years!  —  ended 19 years ago. By contrast, the reporters at the DN aren’t waiting for the Jerusalem Bureau to reopen or the Pulitzer board to call. They’re just doing the job; the best reporting this year was the DN’s takedown of corrupt narcotics cops. And closing the paper down, or subsuming it under the Inquirer’s banner, could just be another step toward a city with no newspapers.