Feature: Greg Osberg: Savior?

The genial but bold-thinking new CEO of the Inquirer and Daily News represents the papers’ last best hope to survive in the age of digital news. At stake is nothing less than how Philadelphia knows what it knows


“There is nothing to pull off the shelf and say, ‘If we execute this plan well, it will work,’” he told me earlier in his office, with a grin. “And to tell you the truth, that’s one of the things I found attractive about this, that succeeding is gonna demand some creativity.”

And so for all the uncertainty surrounding the future of this city’s newspapers, a central part of Osberg’s pitch to his board — his pitch to Philadelphia — seems to be that he, at least, is clear: He is located squarely in the time and space in which he most wishes to be. And as the cocktail party winds to a close, he never does get himself a drink. In fact, while the rest of the crowd piles into the auditorium, he gives the coat-check girl his ticket. And with only a celery stick in his belly to show he had ever been to a party at all, he puts his long coat back on over his suit and steps outside. He pauses, for just a moment, at the top of the Franklin Institute’s steep stone stairs, then charges downward, long-legging it back to work through a stiff winter wind.