Posts for inquirer

UPDATE: The Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com Began Layoffs Today

Kyle Scott - November 4, 2015

This is highly unfortunate assuming it means what it looks like it means. We rip on the beat writers frequently, but Lawrence, who’s covered the Phillies for as long as I’ve been doing this, was (is) one of the best, who uses social media quite well.

The Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com plan on laying off 46 newsroom staff, as well as additional managers, effective December 4. The first – that we’re aware of – is a bad one.

We’ll keep this updated if are any other notables are included.

UPDATE: New Flyers beat writer Jeff Neiburg– gone:

This seems to be a great strategy: Lay off the young, potentially more talented and savvy guys because unions! That’ll save the dying business!!!

The cuts overall actually seem to be the right decision (unfortunately), but it looks like they’re going to make the wrong choices.

UPDATE 2: Multiple people tell me the union protected the old-timers, hence why you’re seeing so many young folks let go. [Billy Penn has a list of non-sports people.] Jeff Blumenthal reports 17 or 29 Philly.com staffers were cut:

Gensler said 17 of 29 Philly.com editorial staff were laid off, while 17 of 60 Daily News editorial staff were affected and 12 members of the Inquirer editorial staff — estimated to be between 150 to 200 people — lost their jobs.

Question: How do you focus on being successful online if you cut mostly the young online reporters? What’s more, they’re still going to print a Daily News (which is seriously mind-boggling) despite cutting almost a third of its staff. There is a different style and tone needed for online reporting, social media use, etc. I’m not advocating keeping only young people. There are some very talented senior folks and columnists that need to stay. But cutting the young beat guys and keeping the old clock punchers who have no idea how to navigate the media landscape in 2015 is what will do in the entire company. You can’t focus on a digital future… by firing the digital staff, or, more specifically, the staffers who understand digital. Talk about a shortsighted decision.

Here’s what they should’ve done: Determined the number of people that needed to be laid off (agreed that the company was too bloated in editorial), cut the worst ones, regardless of age, and made sure to get rid of any redundancies (multiple reporters covering same beat). Then, get rid of the Daily News (it’s a waste) and put out one daily publication with the combined best efforts of the remaining staff – the Inquirer – and have it continuously updated online – Philly.com – for one unified experience. Done.

These decisions just hastened the demise of the whole company. And the union will be to blame.

UPDATE 3: More sports related staffers:

I believe there’s another one coming from a more prominent writer.

UPDATE 4: Jake Kaplan has been let go to, according to countless people. He hasn’t announced it on Twitter yet, but it appears Phil Sheridan did it for him:

So, yes, if you’re keeping score at home, they let go of both of their Phillies beat writers– Lawrence and Kaplan.

The Inquirer and Daily News Websites Are No More

Kyle Scott - December 10, 2014

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Congratulations to the Inquirer and Daily News, whose misguided attempt at spinning off the city’s largest journalistic operations from the city’s most-read website to poorly-designed, confusing, promo code-needing micro sites has finally come to an end:

Today, Inquirer.com and PhiladelphiaDailyNews.com became part of Philly.com, our flagship website. When you visit www.Inquirer.com or www.PhiladelphiaDailyNews.com, your browser will redirect you to an Inquirer page or a Daily News page on Philly.com.

There you will find the journalism you are used to reading on Inquirer.com and PhiladelphiaDailyNews.com, as part of one easily accessible website with content from all of our award-winning publications.

New-ish director of digital strategy for the papers Eric Ulken told me on Twitter that all digital subscriptions to the Inquirer and Daily News will still unlock the digital replica of the papers (…). Inquirer and Daily News content will, once again, be FREE on Philly.com.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must step off my journalistic snark sled so I can post another Taylor Swift video from last night:

Is there like a, I don’t know, director’s cut or something from this?

At Least One Inquirer Reporter Knows That Philly.com is Pretty Terrible

Kyle Scott - March 5, 2014

Really interesting and fair article on Axis Philly today containing candid interviews with Inquirer reporters about what the fuck is wrong with the paper.

Somewhat surprisingly, most of the staff seems to get that the web is important and an area in which ownership and management is clueless. None better demonstrated that view than this anonymous reporter:

“There is immense confusion among our readership as to who the Inquirer is and who Philly.com is. We have three different websites, all purporting to be the newspapers. You don’t have that at the New York Times. You don’t have that at theWashington Post. You don’t have that at the Chicago Tribune, either. Here the Inky is behind one pay wall, the Daily News behind another, and nobody reads those, then there is this amalgamation of real journalism and complete bullshit on the Philly.com website. Eagle cheerleader stories. Teasers about snipers on the freeway, but it’s in Sacramento from a week ago. Hyped stories about snow coming. Just drawing clicks. It’s incredibly stupid and frustrating because the people who run the joint defend it. They don’t see it as something that needs to be changed. They see it as something that has added value, like getting poked in the eye is added value.”

CLAP CLAP CLAP. BRAVO. BRAVO.

Could not agree more. Sure, I’m the guy who writes about players partying and saying dumb things on camera. But I’m also not the main website for the two biggest newspapers in the city. Philly.com is easily its most well-read and well-known site (and it’s probably not even close). So what did the Inquirer and Daily News do with this valuable URL? Separated themselves from it to form brand new, subscription-based websites. The result is a post-nuclear blast grab bag, which features a mix of halfway decent work from the Inquirer and Daily News… and a whole bunch of rubbish (British accent). One doesn’t need to explain. Just have a look at some of the top stories today:

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Those look more like junk sponsored links (of which I’m not above…) than actual news articles.

Obviously, there’s a place for that stuff. It’s entertainment. But that place isn’t the homepage of the biggest print and online media outlet in the city. People going to Philly.com are looking for real, actual, useful news and information, not SHIT. Shit is fine, and entertaining. In fact, I love bathing in its pageviews. But it needs to be accompanied by some unique or humorous commentary. There’s little of that at Philly.com, partly because you can only push the envelope so far at a mainstream website… and partly because they hire people who literally aren’t writers. Some (of the real ones) are good – I like Mike Bertha and Matt Mullin – but most are pretty terrible. And all that is setting aside the fact that the people who go to Philly.com WANT actual, boring news. With some shit mixed in.

Anyway, it’s nice to see an old school reporter who gets all that.

Video: New Documentary Focuses on Slow Death of The Inquirer and Daily News

Kyle Scott - December 17, 2013


This documentary, Black and White and Dead All Over, which focuses on the collapse of the newspaper industry through the lens of Philadelphia, looks fantastic, and I can’t wait to watch it. It’s available for free online here. But this one line from the trailer (3:20) pretty much hints at its (misguided) slant: Where is the Internet going to get its information if the newspaper in your town goes out of business?

Uh, that makes no sense. Do I get a lot of stories from the papers and Philly.com? You bet. But it has nothing to do with there being a physical newspaper or the crummy business model associated with it. It has everything to do with there being reporters – some very good – at those places. When the newspaper goes out of business, there can, could and should be online-only outlets – blogs or otherwise – that crop up to do the same great journalism formatted for a different medium. It’s not rocket science, and this is sometimes the problem with print people– they always assume that journalism can’t be done on the web or elsewhere. That makes no sense. Look no further than The Verge, Medium or dozens of other web-only sites that produce quality work. Newsflash, ink people: Information now starts on the web, not in a 12-hour-old publication.

Anyway, this is your homework over the holidays. Watch this documentary.

via Philebrity

The Amaro Lies: Inquirer Launches All-Out Assault on Phillies’ Gestapo

Kyle Scott - May 20, 2012

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Spring Training photo– Phillies, Phillies.com and Phillies broadcast employees with red dots 

Oh my God, the Inquirer launched an all-out assault on the Phillies and the gestapo that is their media relations department.

First, in an article on the front page of the paper, known curmudgeon Frank Fitzpatrick wrote about seven million words on how a September 18 cortisone shot may have contributed – or caused – Ryan Howard’s ruptured Achilles. The story consists of mostly second-guessing, which is about seven months too late, but cites many doctors, who all agreed that a cortisone shot in the heel can contribute to a ruptured Achilles. 

It’s worth a read, but one section, a thinly-veiled swipe at the Phillies and their lack of transparency, stood out: [Philly.com

Answers are difficult to come by. When The Inquirer requested an interview on the subject with team physician Michael Ciccotti, a Phillies representative replied in an e-mail that the club preferred to "pass on participation for this story."

Howard, meanwhile, remains off-limits during his rehabilitation in Clearwater, where, again according to the team, he is unavailable for comment. His agent, Casey Close, also preferred not to comment.

 

Not that the Phillies have anything to gain in speculating about Howard’s injury, but usually those bits of tid don’t creep into stories… unless some pent-up frustration exists between the team and reporter.

And that’s exactly the case for Bob Brookover, who wrote this article, “Workouts by Phillies' Howard are off-limits, as reporter finds out,” which appeared in the paper’s sports section today.

Brookover has been covering the Phillies since 1989. He was in the Tampa-Clearwater-St. Pete area this week, he says, to write about some single-A players and the Red Sox, who were playing the Rays before heading to Philadelphia for the weekend series. 

The long-time scriptual decided to see if he could catch a glimpse of Howard, who recently began what is expected to be a lengthy rehab process.

Brookover had no such luck.

He was asked to leave Bright House Field by a Threshers employee, escorted out of the ballpark, and told that no one outside the Phillies organization is allowed to watch Howard work out, which, at this point, I would imagine resembles a young fawn learning to walk. 

Take it away, Mr. Brookover: [Philly.com]

Outside in the parking lot, I called Phillies communications director Greg Casterioto and told him of my predicament. He explained his concern of the 24-hour news cycle and how general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and team president David Montgomery should not have to learn on Twitter if Howard were to have a setback while I was watching.

After a sometimes heated discussion, we reached an agreement that I could reenter the ballpark and watch Howard's workout, but there would be no interview afterward and no tweets either.

I reentered, headed for the press box, and was spotted by Howard on Whale Beach.

"What are you doing here?" Howard asked. "Spring training is over."

Yes, it is, and has been for more than six weeks. For Howard, however, spring training has just begun, and a lot of people in Philadelphia want to know how he's progressing in his rehab from the infection setback after his Achilles tendon surgery. 

 

Shortly after that conversation, Brookover was again forced out of the ballpark. Ruben Amaro called him:

"I just feel uncomfortable having it be a public issue," Amaro said. "I feel more comfortable – and I feel this way about every single rehab assignment – that we have them prepare for the season in their own private way. You don't have access to them during the course of the offseason, so why should this be any different?"

We do have access during spring training, so why should this be any different?

"Because we just don't feel in this particular case that it's necessary for the public to know," Amaro said. "It's more of a case-by-case basis. People weren't in watching Chase [Utley] doing his rehab, so there is no reason they should be watching Ryan do his rehab."

 

No one saw much of Utley’s rehab because the Phillies sent him to Phoenix, away from the prying eyes of fans, reporters and bloggers. 

There’s more from today’s Inquirer.

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Worker Killed By Giant Roll of Newsprint at Inquirer Plant

Kyle Scott - May 18, 2012

image from cfnewsads.thomasnet.com
Not this guy

What. a. lousy. way. to. die.

According to a report on Philly.com, a worker was killed this morning by a giant roll of newsprint at the Schuylkill Printing Plant for the Inquirer and Daily News: 

Initial reports from the scene indicated that the victim was a railroad worker who was crushed around 9:30 a.m. when he opened a boxcar and the roll fell out.

 

If you’ve never seen those rolls in person, they are massive. Giant rolls of paper, wound tightly, stacked and transported in a variety of ways. 

Sadly, it’s possible that this worker’s death is reported tomorrow in an oh-so-meta way on the very same paper that killed him. 

Well, It Looks Like Some of Your Favorite Sports Reporters Will No Longer Be Covering Games

Kyle Scott - February 17, 2012

image from mobilwi.typepad.com


Picture of David Murphy is used for effect… no idea which beat writers will be cut or reassigned

Today in "what is going horribly wrong for your papers of record?"…

Wednesday night the New York Times reported on the impending sale of Philadelphia Media Network– owners of the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com. In addition to addressing an earlier report that the company would lay off 37 newsroom employees, the NYT – one of the few newspaper companies that has handled the digital realm quite well – reported that PMN’s owner, Greg Osberg, was a bit too involved with the editorial process on stories involving the company’s sale and potential buyers. Osberg reportedly nixed details about the company’s worth – reported as $40 million (which is to say somewhere between a Jimmy Rollins and a Jonathan Papelbon, or just less than an Ilya Bryzgalov) but with a sale price of a $100 million – and steered stories about potential buyers toward a group led by Ed Rendell and Ed Snider.

Yeah, that’s not ethical… and this is coming from a guy whose last two post titles include the word fuck and boner, one for an article about a person whose newborn he (I) posted a picture of in December.

Anyway, it’s appearing increasingly likely that Rendell and Snider may be part owners of the city’s papers. Which raises the issue of something called “instrumentalization,” as described by NiemanLab.org:

This is what media and communications scholars call “instrumentalization,”where news organizations are owned and operated by groups less concerned with the day-to-day profitability of an independent outlet than with the influence media afford — the ability to advance various political or business interests. (And often both, for those involved in regulation-sensitive areas like real estate, telecommunications, and various forms of government-related contracting.) News media acquisitions in the U.S. are still mainly seen in a narrow business perspective, explained in terms of their real estate assets or brand value. But one should not forget that controlling a media company also holds out the promise of something more primordial than quarterly profits: power.

 

That’s a whole different issue which we’re not going to get into. What we are going to talk about, though, is this: Today, the Inquirer reported on what will happen to its news and sports staffs. 

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The Gov And Ed Snider Are Interested In Buying The Inquirer And Daily News

Kyle - February 4, 2012

Ed Rendell And Ed Snider

Maybe that bat phone that Ed Snider uses has been busy making calls to the Daily News and Inquirer.

Rendell and Snider are apparently leading a "civic-minded" effort to buy the two newspapers. [The Washington Post]

The six-person group submitted a non-binding “letter of interest” Thursday in Philadelphia Media Network, which operates The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.

News reports surfaced this week that two hedge funds with major stakes in the company want to sell. The firms, Alden Global Capital and Angelo Gordon, had led the creditors’ $139 million takeover of the company at a September 2010 bankruptcy auction.

 

The Gov has a vision. “These are civic-minded people who believe we should have healthy, strong newspapers," he said.

That's deep.