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:
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