Will Philly Papers Go Up for Sale Again?
This just in from the Philadelphia Newspaper Wars: The majority owners, led by George Norcross, announced this afternoon they are filing appeal of Friday’s decision restoring Bill Marimow to the editor’s seat at The Inquirer.
USA Today’s Rem Rieder, meanwhile, has an overview of the Philadelphia Newspaper War now that Bill Marimow has been restored to the Job That He Can’t Be Fully Fired From as editor of the Inquirer. (Seriously: Marimow is now the Inky’s version of Billy Martin. Has there ever been another newspaper career like this?)
The Katz/Marimow camp is said to be considering the possibility of going to court to dissolve the ownership agreement on the grounds that there is an insurmountable impasse. (Ya think?) The idea would be to have the company put up for sale. If it ended up with the papers, the group is thinking about converting the company into a non-profit.
This would be an odd moment to convert the paper to a non-profit, considering that just a month ago everybody associated with the paper said it was on the verge of profitability. The lawyer’s bills since then may have reversed the situation entirely, admittedly. Still, it’s the one part of the whole war that I’ve never understood: Everybody seems to agree that the Inquirer is, at long last, possibly improving its position after years of decline. Why would anybody—everybody, as it turns out—want to eff with that? Were the egos just too massive?
Anyway, we’re curious to see what a non-profit Inky would look like. (Just look at the last decade! Hey-oooh!) Would it solicit “memberships” like WHYY does? Would advertising still continue, or would local businesses become “sponsors”—and would that be worth anything to them? Is there an example of this kind of thing actually working?