When Your Worst Nightmare Comes True
What to Do if a World-class Bully Becomes Your Boss
May 30, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 42
IN THE NEWS
Ex-'Inky' Editor: New Ownership Of Philly Papers Could Be 'Dangerous'
NEW YORK--Former Philadelphia Inquirer Editor Robert Rosenthal, who spent 22 years at the paper, said the sale to a local investors group could prove problematic.
"It is a unique situation and I don't think it is necessarily a great one for journalism," said Rosenthal, who is currently managing editor at the San Francisco Chronicle. "Many of them are some of the most influential business people in Philadelphia and people who actively support politicians locally and nationally."
The veteran editor called the situation "very interesting and dangerous ... at times." He said it would be interesting "to see where the paths and relationships cross when it comes to the owners' relationships in the city and where the journalism leads." He added, "I don't think there is a situation like this in the country where the ownership group is so much a part of the political and economic power structure of a city."
--Joe Strupp, Editor & Publisher, May 21, 2006
It's a very sexy idea--two major newspapers, The Philadelphia Inquirer (Inky) and Daily News, being sold to a syndicate of local investors rather than finding themselves under the aegis of a faceless conglomerate in Minneapolis, New York or Sacramento, Calif.
Ideally, they won't be squeezed unto death for every last nickel and force-fed to grow like a Strasbourg goose in order to meet the projections of faceless financial analysts.
Instead, the papers should be able to take a deep breath, find their niche, their audience, their advertisers and their growth pattern to serve their community rather than Wall Street.
However, the buyer and new chief executive, Brian Tierney, has the reputation of being an in-your-face intimidator, whose prior history as a fierce advocate for his PR clients has been to coerce Inky reporters and management into quashing stories.