Posts for philly.com

Report: 16 Employees Accept Philadelphia Inquirer Buyout Packages

Kevin Kinkead - June 14, 2019

Friday news coming to us via Jeff Blumenthal at the Philadelphia Business Journal, who reports that Inquirer/Daily News/Philly.com bosses might be shifting to layoffs after not receiving the requisite buyout agreements from employees.

Writes Jeff:

NewsGuild President Diane Mastrull, a longtime business reporter and editor, said, as of Thursday, 16 members had accepted the package. That is well short of the 30 she said management claimed was needed to avoid implementing layoffs. Mastrull said the deadline for accepting the buyouts is Friday, but she does not think there will be 30 takers.

In a show of solidarity, Guild members delivered a petition to Vice President of our People and Culture Lauren Kauffman — Publisher Terry Egger was out of the office — signed by 255 of about 330 members to demand no layoffs.

….

“The possibility of layoffs remains,” Inquirer management said. “However, whether that step is necessary and how many might be affected won’t be known until the voluntary separation program is completed next week.”

Jeff went on to share a couple tweets confirming that sports editor Deborah Woodell and news reporter Jan Hefler would be accepting buyouts.

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Philly NewsGuild not Interested in Inquirer/Daily News Buyouts and Layoffs

Kevin Kinkead - June 6, 2019

There hasn’t been much movement when it comes to the latest round of buyouts and possible layoffs taking place at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com.

The latest update was that Philly.com would be re-branding as Inquirer.com, a move that seems strange to me, since Philly.com is one of the most recognizable brands and URLs in this region. Could foreshadow some kind of Daily News split, but I don’t know. It was also revealed that the “Philadelphia Media Network,” which owns the Inky/Daily News/Philly.com, will now be known as “Philadelphia Inquirer, PBC,” which stands for “public benefit corporation.”

Call it whatever; ownership is looking to cut “30 union jobs in the newsroom and other departments, plus an unspecified number of nonunion jobs,” as cited on… Philly.com. Buyouts will be offered to 140 employees, which includes 117 NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia members.

Apparently that’s no bueno with the guild, who posted this on their website as they circulate a petition, after the jump:

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How Much You Think It Burns the Loins of Marcus Hayes That We’re the Top Story on Philly.com Right Now?

Kyle Scott - February 20, 2017

Rob Tornoe writing about our newest addition, Leslie Gudel:

Her first piece seemed to balance Gudel’s reporting sensibilities with Crossing Broad’s outside-the-box coverage of Philadelphia sports. The veteran reporter interviewed Phillies outfielder Howie Kendrick, but chose to get to know him through the prism of his interesting and sometimes insightful Instagram profile.

“This might seem like a curious addition given the tone of the site — and it is — but I think we can continue to be our usual snarky selves while at the same time incorporating some more traditional reporting,” said Scott, who launched the growing, and often profane, sports blog seven years ago and now employs one full-time staffer, Jim Adair, and several paid contributors.

Often profane sports blog. You might think that this is where I would take the low hanging fruit and sarcastically write something like “fuck that” or “what a bullshit description.” But nope. I won’t feed the perception.

You can read the full thing here. The Takeover 2.0 continues.

Philly.com Doing Their Best Sal Pal

Jim Adair - February 20, 2015

JOHNFORELLI_2015-Feb-19

Guys, it’s about time we give up on the dream of getting Marcus Mariota unless, you know, there’s a way we could get Marcus Mariota. Keep hope alive/hope is dead.

It’s a rare opportunity when you’re able to look into a crystal ball and see exactly what your next five months are going to be like. This is that crystal ball.

H/T to reader John

Outgoing VP of Sales Blasts Editorial Strategy of Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com

Kyle Scott - May 31, 2014

Fun.

George Loesch, the outgoing VP of sales and marketing for the outgoing Interstate General Media, ripped into the editorial strategies of the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com. Quite spectacularly, I might add.

In an email to his colleagues obtained by the Philadelphia Business Journal, Loesch went in on the old-world tactics of the newsroom, which, at this point, is more of a concept fancied by ink-stained scriptuals than an actual thing:

Nixon is no longer President, and we need to re-invent and transform ourselves. Market research and Inquirer Customer satisfaction scores of the paper were consistently below average. There is an enemy called average, and I expected more from the newsroom and improvements to the product. More relevant and compelling content. The status quo and aiming for mediocrity is not journalistic excellence. If our Inquirer product was a soup, it would have been taken off the store shelves. As I’ve said, ‘not enough chicken in the chicken noodle soup’, and our readers told us that. Confront the brutal facts. The newsroom leadership despised me. Many others in the newsroom respected me, and inspired me to push for change and make a difference. Tried to bring accountability, performance and measurement to the newsroom.

We could do one of two things: Hold on to our current recipe and watch our business fade away OR transform and deliver on what our customers’ expectations are. Holding on to the protocols of a legacy news model and to the quasi solo ‘church and state’ views of the newsroom against the influence of business concerns is not a forward thinking strategy. However, the vision to transform and deliver on our customer expectations, and institutionalizing a customer centric culture, innovate and evolve products while focusing on a transition to digital over the strategic horizon, an innovation and transformation strategy could stabilize and grow the company.

He has two main points, as best as I see it:

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“Lexie has been trying to turn [Philly.com] into BuzzFeed”

Kyle Scott - April 24, 2014

If there was an article that I could just wrap my hands around and hug, it would be the City Paper’s takedown of the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com today:

“Two writers say stuffed Bigfoot is legit” and “I’ve never had sex with my husband” are the sort of headlines on Philly.com that fill Philadelphia Inquirer reporters with dread and despair.

The website, created as the web portal for the Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, is at the center of a spectacular ownership meltdown at Interstate General Media (IGM), which owns the three media properties.

Lexie Norcross [editor’s note: who is 26], daughter of owner and powerful South Jersey Democratic political boss George Norcross, has become a lightning rod for newsroom criticism in her role as vice president of digital operations and corporate services. The long-troubled website now competes against the two papers that it was created to support — and uses gossipy content to drive traffic.

“Most of the problems on that site … [are] because Lexie has been trying to turn it into a Buzzfeed,” says a former Philly.com staffer who, like others, spoke to City Paper only on the condition of anonymity.

The problem is two-fold:

1) You can’t take the biggest website in the city, which used to be filled with actual news and commentary, and turn it into BuzzFeed overnight. It’s… jarring. It’s not what people are looking for when they type doubaleu doubaleu doubaleu dot philly dot com into their you are el bar. It’d be like going to the New York Times’ website looking for a slideshow of the 10 Hottest FOX Cartoon Characters (Lois Griffin all the way, and quite frankly, it’s not even close). But if you are going to do that, then you need to inject some personality or have talented people give unique and humorous takes, not rely on the gaggle of mostly inexperienced twenty-somethings and non-writers, and syndicated content, like Philly.com does.

2) BuzzFeed uses the low-brow stuff to support the high-brow stuff. Philly.com has quality content – from the Inquirer and Daily News – but it’s impossible to find. End the pissing match and give people – people who are paying attention and who might actually have enough money to support advertisers – the good stuff that they went, and make that stuff easy to find. Or, better yet, create unique and progressive content, like what the NY Times did today with that baseball map, or what ESPN is doing with FiveThirtyEight, or what VOX is doing in general.

You can’t just start serving shit to people when they’re used to eating… um, something more edible than shit. Also, an editor helps.

Fun article.

Hey, the Inquirer and Daily News Continue to Fall Apart at the Seams

Kyle Scott - August 30, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 12.01.59 PM
Silly rabbit– newspapers don’t have seams. But they do have creases, and owners who don’t know what they’re doing, and a 25-year-old running Philly.com* whose last Tweet was, well, this:

Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 11.50.42 AM

They do have those things. And it’s all falling apart.

Interstate General Media, the company that owns the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com, which has put the papers behind strict paywalls** that force writers to Tweet out ridiculous promo codes***, which is using young, cheap labor to power a new Philly.com – perhaps because Philly.com is run by a young and presumably cheap daughter boss – that is basically killing the papers with said cheap labor and people like Bernie Parent instead of, you know, actual reporters and columnists, is cutting the Inquirer Opinion page because people don’t like our opinions(!!!).

This story from the City Paper is one of the saddest things you’ll ever read about a media company:

On Sept. 9, the Inquirer‘s opinion section will be cut from two pages to one, according to multiple newsroom sources. That means that editorials will likewise be cut in half, and there will be less space for op-eds and letters to the editor. One of two editorial writers,Melanie Burney, will be moved to an Inquirer bureau in New Jersey.

Most reporters blame co-owner George Norcross, a powerful South Jersey Democratic Party political boss.

“I have heard from a number of credible places that there was a desire to eliminate the entire opinion section — all of the opinion pages —going back quite a while,” says one newsroom source. “That at least one person in the ownership wanted that.”

The rationale that management is offering, however, is that a recent survey found that readers think the Inquirer is “biased.” Cutting down on opinion is the supposed remedy.

“We’re not happy,” says one source. “The worst thing about it is that this is the public’s section. This is their voice. They write us letters. All sorts of folks write op-eds.”

Many points of view remain available in Philly.com’s notorious and racially loaded comments sections.

Over on the news side, the Inquirer is down to just two metro columnists: Karen Heller, who writes about Philly and Pennsylvania, and Jersey writer Kevin Riordan. Meanwhile, Philly.com has been promoting “Voices of Philly.com,” an online opinion section made up of writers who are not journalists. One of those voices, controversially, is Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. Another notable voice includes former Flyers goaltender Bernie Parent, who earlier this year advised that readers “stay horny.”

Philly.com, which was initially created as a vehicle to promote Inquirer and Daily Newscontent, has become a rival news-gathering organization under the control of Norcross’ 25-year old daughter, Lexie Norcross. Earlier this month, veteran Inquirer reporter Jennifer Lin threatened to quit after Philly.com re-reported a major gaming scoop instead of showcasing her original story.

It’s not like anyone who would read this site reads the Opinion page in the newspaper, but the rationale behind cutting smart opinions and replacing them, by proxy on Philly.com, with Bernie Parent and a sex columnist (and yes, those are different things) is kind of horrible and smells bad poo of desperation. I’m truly amazed that they still manage (and afford) to print two newspapers every day. There’s no way that lasts. No shot. Newspapers and legacy media companies are going in the shitter on their own. An inept ownership that has literally no idea what it’s doing is only greasing the skids.

*Whose Twitter bio says “my views do not reflect or express those of Philly.com” when she is the one who runs Philly.com. Odd.

**What’s worse is that when you search for “Philadelphia Inquirer,” the actual online site that they want you to pay for, it is the last result on the page. How do you not figure out the SEO on this or buy keywords? I mean, WHO IS GOING TO BUY AN ONLINE SUBSCRIPTION IF THEY CAN’T FUCKING FIND YOUR WEBSITE???

***I’m guessing they have no idea how to track such a thing, but the conversion rate on those promo codes has to be about 0.002%. 

H/T to legend CB reader (@PhillyPartyTwo), via Poynter

Bernie Parent Will Be Writing For Philly.com

Kyle Scott - January 28, 2013

image from mobilwi.typepad.com

Philly.com, as part of its never-ending quest to churn a profit by doing things that will NEVER CHURN A PROFIT, will add “New Voices” in an effort to pump up its content offering without, you know, hiring actual journalists: [Philly.com]

Ari Rabin-Havt, the nation’s most exciting new progressive commentator; Philadelphia’s own John Featherman with his unique and penetrating conservative viewpoints; Mark Segal, one of the region’s and nation’s most compelling gay leaders and the publisher of Philadelphia Gay News will add topical commentary in a new column entitled, Mark, uncensored;  Kenny Gamble, a Philadelphia cultural and business giant; Table Matters blogger Jason Wilson; leading interior designer Carrie Leskowitz; Dr. Jill McDevitt, a nationally recognized sexologist; technology pundit Eric Smith, co-founder of Geekadelphia; activist Chris Goldstein who writes about the issues surrounding marijuana; Maria Papadakis whose videos will cover the local social scene and celebrities; and Bernie Parent, an inspiring member of the NHL Hall of Fame who writes about self-empowerment and motivation.

 

I will look forward to Dr. Jill McDevitt’s sex talks, because…

Screen Shot 2013-01-28 at 10.08.49 AM
 … yeah.

And I’ll also look forward to articles by Bernie Parent, who continues to have the best life in the history of life:

"Bernie is one of the most legendary players in Flyers history who personally inspires me by the strong bond that he shares with so many in the community through his mentoring and leadership." said Lexie Norcross, Director of Interstate General Media, parent company of Philly.com.  “We are thrilled Bernie will be part of Philly.com and know that he will instantly entertain and motivate readers.”

 

For real, Parent is awesome. His existence basically consists of banquets, paid speaking gigs, fishing and cigar sponsorships (he writes a weekly fishing report and has his own cigar!), taking photos with topless chicks at Wing Bowl, and now, getting paid to write things on Philly.com.

I’m not so sure any of this makes business sense for Philly.com, because, chances are, 70% of the “New Voices” won’t be able to string coherent sentences together… but, Bernie will undoubtedly entertain.

Philly.com’s VP of Digital Advertising Steve Alessi explained the new initiative thusly:

“The New Voices” is a platform that will soon debut on Philly.com and will feature notable national and local leaders addressing a wide and diverse range of topics.  “Our goal, at Philly.com is to reach across the full breadth of our region’s ideas, its people and their lives,” said Steve Alessi, Vice President, Digital Advertising and General Manager of Philly.com. “Relevance and reach can be overused terms, but “The New Voices” reflects our desire to transform and deepen the traditional relationship between a media company and its community.”

 

I have no idea what that means.