Guild head resigns as Philly news orgs face growing turmoil

Philadelphia Inquirer | Philadelphia
Daily News reporter Dan Gross is taking a buyout from the paper and will also resign as head of the union that represents workers at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and, Mike Armstrong reports. His resignation from the union is effective immediately; he leaves the paper Feb. 1.

“It would not be prudent, nor fair to the membership for me to . . . take part in any meetings or conversations with Interstate General Media about a future for which I will not be around,” Gross said in the statement.

“…My decision was not based on fear, but on opportunity. Taking time to explore alternative career interests is what was the right choice for me and my family.”

Gross’ departure comes amid growing turmoil at the Philadelphia news organizations. Last week the Guild said new owners Interstate General Media had threatened to liquidate or sell the assets if it couldn’t come to an agreement with its unions. (On Friday and again today, an IGM spokesperson declined to comment when I contacted the company.)

Armstrong reports IGM has asked the unions for a meeting Thursday. “In addition to seeking buyouts to cut costs,” he writes, “the company is offering a reduced four-day workweek to all Guild members for the rest of 2013 and 2014.”

IGM is seeking $8 million in benefit and wage cuts, the Guild said last week.

Consider what happens if the owners win,” Joel Mathis writes in Philadelphia magazine.

That $8 million in cuts would probably eliminate roughly 80 journalists from those newspapers. Given that total employment between the Inky and Daily News is estimated somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 journalists, news coverage and its quality would be radically affected. There would be no “doing more with less” in this scenario, only … less.

PreviouslyGuild: Owners say they may liquidate or sell Philly papers this month | Philadelphia newspapers lose $16 million, seek $28 million in cuts| New owners tell Poynter: “We’re not cutters, we’re people who want to grow.”

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  • PodcastSteve

    So the takeaway is don’t believe anything the new owners of any newspaper tell you. And the theory that local owners would care more about the news product is also bogus. The only thing that matters to them is money.