Lenfest to Inquirer, Daily News Reporters: “Work Hard But Rest Easy”

Tells Newspaper Guild he's committed to two papers in Philadelphia.

Leaders of the Newspaper Guild, the union that represents the journalists of the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com, had their first formal meeting with new owner Gerry Lenfest on Tuesday. Some developments:

• Lenfest told the journalists he is “committed” to continuing with two papers, meaning the perpetually in danger Daily News can rest easy for the moment.

• He’s considering keeping Philly.com as its own, independent entity with its own identity.

• He expects to have a publisher in place within three months.

• He does not expect to seek any wage cuts from journalists, and may offer a contract longer than two years during the next round of negotiations.

• He buried the hatchet with Bill Ross, the guild’s executive director. The two famously feuded by letter during the Inky’s ownership crisis.

A full memo from the Guild regarding the meeting, after the jump:

Members of the Newspaper Guild Executive Board had a productive meeting with new owner Gerry Lenfest this afternoon.
Lenfest hopes to have a new publisher in place within three months, he is committed to continuing two print publications and he is considering keeping philly.com as its own entity with its own identity. Lenfest also added that he will be moving ahead without any business partners or investors. While specific decisions will be up to the incoming publisher, Lenfest wanted Guild members to know that they should “work hard but rest easy.” At this time he does not expect cuts to staff or wages and even discussed the possibility of a contract longer than two years when the Guild and the company return to the bargaining table.  
Before the executive board meeting, Lenfest met one-on-one with Guild Executive Director, Bill Ross.  They agreed to put all past differences behind them and work toward making the company a great success moving forward.
In solidarity,
The Executive Board of the Newspaper Guild, Local 38010