Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News Newsrooms to Merge

Restructuring will result in job reductions in "every area" of the company.

Updated with comment from PMN. See below.

The newsrooms of the Inquirer, Daily News, and will merge, the publisher of the papers told reporters today, part of a radical restructuring of parent company Philadelphia Media Network that will include job reduction in “every area” of the company, the city’s biggest news organization.

The Inquirer and Daily News will continue to publish as separate newspapers, however. Stan Wischnowski, the vice president of news operations for PMN, will reportedly be in charge of the combined newsroom.

Terry Egger, the new publisher of Philadelphia Media Network, made the announcement in a 10:30 a.m. meeting with the company’s journalists. A separate 3:30 p.m. meeting was scheduled for remaining employees unable to make the morning meeting.

A spokesman for the company did not immediately comment. (See the update below for PMN comment.)  Journalists at the meeting confirmed the details privately; Inky reporter Bob Fernandez released some of the details publicly:

Such a restructuring had seemed in the cards ever since Egger was named publisher in August. He suggested to Philly Mag at the time that separate newsrooms for both papers and was unsustainable for the company.

“Can we afford some of the inefficiencies that are inherent in having three entirely separate newsrooms?” he asked. His clear answer after a couple of months on the job: No.

Egger was hired by owner Gerry Lenfest, who, in 2014, took control of the papers, website, and their parent company.

While the combining of newsrooms might make financial sense — there’s been discussion of it for years, possibly since the Daily News was purchased and made a sister paper to the Inquirer by owner Walter Annenberg in 1957 — there remains some cultural differences between the Inquirer and Daily News newsrooms that will require smoothing out as journalists transition to being, finally and officially, on the same team: Some Inky journalists have openly wondered why the Daily News continues to publish; some DN journalists think their broadsheet cousins are snobs.

[Update at 1 pm] Amy Buckman, a spokeswoman for PMN, offered the following comment:

“In an open meeting with our employees today, PMN Publisher Terry Egger gave an update on the state of our business and some of the key components of our strategic plan, with special emphasis on enhancing content, products and delivery methods, and revenue streams.  We had a candid discussion about our plans to move toward a more unified newsroom, while also maintaining the individual products (Inquirer, Daily News and and keeping an eye on serving audiences where, when and how they want our award-winning news reports.

“We touched upon the need to reduce expenses, which unfortunately will mean some lost jobs. We are not unique to this economic reality, as evidenced by similar moves in recent weeks by media companies ranging from ESPN, Twitter and multiple newspaper companies.  Out of respect for our employees, and in compliance with our contractual obligations, we are not prepared to release additional details at this time.”

This is a developing story.

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