Philly.com Editor Departs for NY Job

Mike Topel had overseen a revamping of the oft-criticized newspaper website.

mike topel

Mike Topel, the executive editor of Philly.com, is departing that position for a job in New York.

A spokesperson for Philadelphia Media Network confirmed today that Topel will start his new job on Jan. 18. Details of the new venture are still under wraps.

“While we hate to lose him because of his significant impact here at PMN, we wish him the very best in his next chapter,” PMN’s Amy Buckman said in a statement emailed to Philly Mag.

Topel is a longtime veteran of the Philadelphia Inquirer, though he came to his current job after a stint with Digital First Media. He was appointed to lead Philly.com shortly after owner Gerry Lenfest took control of PMN — along with the Inky, Daily News, and Philly.com — in mid-2014.

He oversaw an overhaul of the oft-criticized website that re-emphasized news and de-emphasized the site’s notorious commenters, installing a system that let readers choose whether the comments would be visible or not. His team also tried new digital storytelling techniques, and was in the midst of a site revamp to make Philly.com more attractive — and more native — to cell phones and tablets that increasingly where people get their news.

“I don’t know exactly why Philly.com has the reputation that it has, but I believe that there’s enough potential there for us to overcome some of the bad rap that it may have gotten,” he told Philly Mag in 2014.

But recent layoffs at PMN hit Philly.com particularly hard: The website lost 17 staffers, about half its production staff.

Topel was not immediately available for comment. Buckman said a replacement has not yet been chosen to lead Philly.com.