No need to rehash all of the insanity that’s taken place at the Inquirer in recent months, but the CliffsNotes version is that the top editor resigned after some poor soul published a column titled “Buildings Matter, Too“ which was deemed insensitive and caused an internal revolt.
Replacing Stan Wischnowski is Gabriel Escobar, a newspaper veteran who began a second Inquirer stint in 2012. He’s 64 years old and essentially served as the Inquirer’s second-in-command since 2017. He’s also a Colombia native and the thought here is that he’ll be a little more sensitive to the diversity issues that employees have flagged as needing attention.
The pandemic scattered The Inquirer staff from its Center City newsroom — with no plans to return until mid-2021 — and the ensuing recession meant a dramatic decline in revenue. Dozens of employees left the company or were laid off this year, although the newsroom downsizing has thus far been achieved through buyouts. (The company on Tuesday said it would suspend plans for newsroom layoffs at least until the end of the year.)
Last month, The Inquirer also announced it will close its Montgomery County printing facility and shift production to an outside vendor, leaving 500 employees out of work.
And yet by most measures, The Inquirer remains the dominant news outlet in one of the nation’s five largest media markets. The combined Inquirer and Daily News weekday circulation is about 91,000, and Inquirer.com averages 10.5 million unique users per month, with paid subscribers growing this year to more than 45,000.
It’s gonna be a tough job for Escobar, who has his work cut out for him. Good challenge, for sure.
From the same article, written by Anna Orso and Jesenai De Moyo Correa:
Diane Mastrull, a staff writer, editor, and president of the NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia, The Inquirer’s largest union, said she’s seen Escobar grow as a manager “interested in understanding and knowing the people that make up The Inquirer’s newsroom.”
But, she said, the newsroom must address “its decades of woeful performance when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” including a new commitment to equal pay and advancement opportunities for women and people of color. She said the staff and its leadership are too white and do not reflect the multicultural reality of the city it covers.
Best of luck to Gabriel Escobar.