Inquirer, Daily News to share content, raising questions about future of separate Philly papers

Philadelphia Inquirer | Poynter
In a meeting with their newsrooms Thursday, editors of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Daily News and Philly.com told journalists that their rivalry would soon turn to cooperation. As the separate, competitive operations merge into one shared physical space, they will also begin to coordinate coverage so there is less duplication of efforts, though the same stories may appear in both publications, reports Mike Armstrong.

“Some writers, such as columnists, editorial writers, and investigative-reporting teams, would remain separate, enabling the papers to retain their distinctive voices, [Inquirer Editor Stan] Wischnowski said. In addition, staffing would be adjusted to provide 24-hour, seven-day-a-week breaking-news coverage.

Under the plan, some elements of sports coverage, arts and other features stories, city and suburban reporting, and various editing functions would be coordinated and shared, Wischnowski said.

The announcement comes as Philadelphia Media Network plans to eliminate 37 Guild positions. The papers are also in the process of being sold, most likely to a group led by former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. At a time of such challenge, said Art Caplan, it’s “hard to figure out why these things haven’t merged.” Caplan, a professor of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania and an Inquirer contributor, said by phone last week that “the case for trying to meld them together grows stronger if the alternative is to sell them off to somebody who’s distant or somebody within the power establishment locally who isn’t going to be as critical or independent.” The Philadelphia resident said, “Fighting to keep them separate, when you’re killing both of them slowly, never seemed to be the ethical thing to do.” || Timeline: Philadelphia newspapers have five owners in six years || Related: Sale of Philly papers will test whether local owners can stay out of the newsroom | Philly papers will likely be sold to group led by former Governor Ed Rendell in closed bidding process

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