Articles about "Interstate General Media"


Drew Katz, Lewis Katz

Lewis Katz planned ‘a new level of ambition’ for Philly papers

Lewis Katz, who just last week won an auction for The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com, died Saturday in a plane crash in Massachusetts. Some updates:

  • Katz had attended a fundraiser Saturday for the Concord River Institute at the Concord, Massachusetts, home of historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Dan Adams, Jeremy C. Fox and Martin Finucane report for The Boston Globe. He brought three friends with him: Anne Leeds, Marcella Dalsey and Susan K. Asbell. All died in the crash, as well as three crew members who haven’t yet been identified, the Globe reports.
Katz, right, with his son Drew in November 2013. Drew Katz will take his father’s place in the ownership structure of the Inquirer, the Daily News and Philly.com.

  • Philly.com has more about Katz’s friends: Dalsey worked with a number of Katz-associated nonprofit initiatives and operated an ice cream parlor in Haddonfield, New Jersey. Asbell was on the planning committee for the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County, a cause close to Katz. Leeds was his neighbor in Longport, New Jersey, and “had been invited at the last minute Saturday to join Katz on the trip to Massachusetts, and her decision to go was very much in keeping with their long friendship, said Ted Leeds, her son.”
  • Katz invited former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell to go along, but he begged off because of a previous engagement, he tells Lloyd Grove. Katz “way overpaid for the papers,” Rendell told Grove. “He did it because he wanted to keep the papers in Philly, and he didn’t want to close down the Daily News, and wanted to keep it free of any interference.”
  • Katz and Gerry Lenfest, who joined him in the winning bid, wrote an editorial about their plans for the paper that was published Sunday. It was the paper’s 185th birthday. “In the days ahead, you can expect to see a new level of ambition and journalism excellence,” they wrote. “We won’t waver for a moment to document the region’s ills where we find them – but we will also celebrate our many successes with stories that delight and lighten the day with both humor and joy.”
  • In a piece published the day before Katz’s death, Joel Mathis reported that Katz was surprised he and Lenfest won the auction. “I can’t tell you what our plans are, because my plan yesterday was to go home with a big check,” Katz told employees at a printing plant Wednesday. “And I kinda ended up going home with less than I walked in with. A lot less.”
  • It was “clear he didn’t have a grand plan for the company, just a determination to hire some top talent and make the enterprise better,” Dave Davies writes.
  • Katz also was in the past an owner of the New Jersey Nets, and planned with others to bring them to Newark. The plan “detoured and eventually dissolved,” Harvey Araton writes, “but it was under Katz’s highly visible ownership that the Nets enjoyed their greatest success as an N.B.A. franchise, reaching the league finals in 2002 and 2003 after the acquisition of point guard Jason Kidd.”
  • Katz also once had a stake in the Yankees, who held a moment of silence for him Sunday.
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Media can’t attend Philadelphia Inquirer auction

The Philadelphia Inquirer | Big Trial

Next Tuesday, the owners of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com will meet in a courtroom to determine which of them will get to keep the properties. The auction will be closed to the public and representatives of the media, David Sell reports in the Inquirer:

“Having considered the parties’ submissions, I conclude that the auction should be conducted confidentially and that the auction should be closed to everyone but the participants and the trustee,” Delaware Court of Chancery Vice Chancellor Donald F. Parsons Jr. wrote in a letter accompanying his order.

Parsons did order that the winning bidder and eventual sale price of the publishing assets be released. One group of the current owners, as well as the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia, asked for an open auction, Ralph Cipriano reports for Big Trial.

Co-owners Lewis Katz and H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest “wanted only the identity of the winning bidder disclosed, and not the amount of the winning bid,” Cipriano writes. George E. Norcross III, Joseph Buckelew, and William P. Hankowsky make up the other group of co-owners bidding in the auction.

Parsons last month ordered that Interstate General Media’s partnership be dissolved and its assets sold via an “English-style” auction among current owners. Bidding will begin at $77 million and “will increase $1 million every 10 minutes until one side drops out,” Sell reports.

The Guild had considered making a bid for IGM’s holdings but “couldn’t come up with an investor willing to spend $77 million,” Cipriano writes. In a blog post last month, the Guild said “someone else can overpay.”

The auction “means that Inquirer Publisher Bob Hall and Inquirer Editor Bill Marimow will stay on the job for one more week, until the auction is over,” Cipriano writes.

If the Katz group wins, Marimow is in and Hall is out. If the Norcross group wins, Marimow is out and Hall may stay on the job until a new publisher is hired.

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New Jersey businessman and co-owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, George Norcross, left, meets with attorney Michael Chertoff outside Judge Patricia McInerney's courtroom during a recess, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, at City Hall in Philadelphia. McInerney heard arguments over who should control The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Judge orders Philadelphia Inquirer’s ownership dissolved, sold by auction

Vice Chancellor Donald F. Parsons Friday ordered that Interstate General Media, the partnership that owns The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com, be dissolved and sold by an “English-style” auction among partners.

“The minimum bid for the auction shall be set at $77 million in cash,” Parsons writes in his ruling, which you can read below. The auction can be held no later than May 28, he ordered.

The decision “was a victory for George E. Norcross III, the co-owner who has argued for a private auction and has pledged to bid at least $77 million to win control of the company,” David Sell writes in the Inquirer.

“We are pleased that Vice Chancellor Parsons has agreed that the best way to end the IGM partnership is through a members only sale process, just as the original agreement stipulated,” IGM spokesperson Dan Fee said in a statement emailed to Poynter. “We are also pleased that he has agreed that the bidding process should be open and transparent and that it should be done quickly.” Read more

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Reporter bails on media beat after 11 years covering Philly papers

Philadelphia

How dispiriting is the Philly media beat? When Joel Mathis asked Steve Volk what he’s learned in 11 years of covering The Inquirer and the Daily News, Volk replied: “That I don’t want to cover the media anymore, at least not local media in Philly. It’s 11 years of watching the bridge of the Enterprise shake while the cast runs from one side of the screen of the other.”

Sometimes the demands of narrative make you seem impervious to the human cost of what’s going on there. And I’m not impervious. These are sort of would-be friends and colleagues, you know what I mean? I’ve been constantly covering them losing their jobs and wondering what’s next. I’m tired of marching that same beat.

I think what I’ve learned is: Experimentation is really hard. I think what’s necessary more than ever in papers is to experiment and try things to see what’ll bring more readers, more eyes and more subscribers. I think it’s been hard for people to let go of what they know and try something new. So I think there’s been this paralysis of people trying to hang on to whatever reader base they might retain, a fear of change because it might involve slipping ever farther. I feel for them, but I feel what’s needed now is a spirit of experimentation, owners who get along and are willing to lose some money in the short term by trying to make money in the long term.

Philadelphia magazine published Volk’s feature, “The Fight for the Future of Philadelphia’s Newspapers,” on Jan. 30. Read more

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Bill Marimow

Judge rules Marimow must get Inquirer job back

Associated Press | Philadelphia Inquirer | WCAU-TV | WHYY

A Philadelphia judge has ruled that Philadelphia Inquirer Editor Bill Marimow should not have been fired. “Mr. Marimow is immediately reinstated as Editor of the Inquirer,” Judge Patricia A. McInerney writes in an order issued Friday. The action comes amid a larger dispute among the paper’s owners. Marimow was fired Oct. 7.

Marimow walking to court on Oct. 28, 2013 (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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Next dispute in Inquirer lawsuit: Philly or Delaware

The Philadelphia Inquirer | Associated Press | WHYY

Judge Patricia A. McInerney of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas will listen to arguments next week about whether a lawsuit among the owners of Philadelphia’s newspapers should be heard in Philadelphia or Delaware.

The lawsuit concerns the firing of former Inquirer Editor Bill Marimow, whose lawyer told reporters “some have chosen to smear.” Among the attendees at the hearing was Dan Biddle, who the Associated Press reports “was among five veteran editors that [Publisher Robert] Hall wanted fired.” Marimow reportedly refused to fire several employees whom Hall wanted gone. Read more

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Philadelphia Newspapers Bankruptcy

The mess at Philadelphia’s newspapers: A timeline of recent events

The co-owners of The Philadelphia Inquirer, philly.com and the Daily News are giving their reporters lots to write about with a lawsuit in response to another lawsuit in response to a firing  – OK. Wait. Let’s just stop for a moment and take a look back in time at where this all began.

October 8, 2010: Bill Marimow loses his job as editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The paper’s owners told Marimow “he did not have the background in digital media necessary to lead the paper going forward,” Christoper K. Hepp reports at the time. Stan Wischnowski is named acting editor.

April 2, 2012: A group of local bigs buys the Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and philly.com. The new owners say they will “sign a pledge supporting the newsroom’s independence, after questions about interference arose over coverage of the sale,” Poynter reports.

April 4, 2012: Marimow is rehired as editor. Wischnowski takes a lesser role. New owner Lewis Katz tells Poynter he didn’t think they needed a written pledge not to interfere: “Frankly, I thought a public statement was enough, but [fellow new owner] George [Norcross] felt stronger that it ought to be in writing.”

Oct. 7, 2013: Marimow is fired. Wischnowski becomes acting editor. A source at the paper tells Poynter Marimow lost his job due to a “difference in philosophical vision in the direction of the paper.” Among Publisher Bob Hall’s knocks on Marimow: He didn’t “support [the] company’s digital strategy for Philly.com and Inquirer.com.”.

Oct. 10: Owners Katz and H.F. Lenfest file suit trying to bring Marimow back, claiming Hall wasn’t authorized to fire Marimow.

Oct. 14: “Philadelphia deserves better,” David Carr writes of the owners’ struggle for control.

Oct. 15: The owners (except Katz, who was in the Bahamas) hold a special meeting agreeing to form a committee to defend the ownership group, Interstate General Media, and two special committee to investigate Katz’s alleged interference with editorial matters and any alleged conflicts of interest on his part. (The actions are detailed in an action filed Oct. 18.)

Oct. 16: The owners meet with officers from the Newspaper Guild. An Inquirer reporter is not allowed to attend. “One observer said it became apparent that neither owner would give in, short of ‘complete annihilation’ of the other,” Thomas Fitzgerald reports. The Guild warns members to “BE VERY CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY in email correspondence, tweets, Facebook posts, etc. … especially with regard to comments about the present in-fighting and management/ownership personnel and your colleagues.”

Oct. 17: Norcross files a countersuit. Katz has “repeatedly violated” his pledge not to interfere with the newsroom, a press release announcing the action says.

Oct. 18: Hall moves to dismiss Katz’s suit. The filing says Marimow had a “stubborn and indeed often insubordinate refusal to follow directives or implement much-needed editorial, journalistic and personnel changes at The Inquirer, resulting in a significant decline in circulation and morale problems in the newsroom during his second troubled tenure as The Inquirer’s Editor.” Hall, associate publisher Michael Lorenca and co-owner Gerry Lenfest warned Marimow in July he’d be terminated if he didn’t make some changes, Hall’s action says.

This timeline will, no doubt, be updated. Read more

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Inquirer editor protests cuts to opinion pages

WHYY | Maynard Institute

Philadelphia Inquirer editorial page editor Harold Jackson wrote contributors, asking them to protest a decision to cut op-ed pages from the paper. Daniel Denvir reported last week that such a move was in the works.

Jackson’s email, WHYY’s Elizabeth Fiedler reports, says the plan “not only does a disservice to the greater Philadelphia community, but represents a reduction in the status of one of America’s largest cities.” He asked contributors to email the owners of Interstate General Media, which owns The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, to protest.

IGM gave Fiedler the same statement it emailed Poynter over the weekend, saying the Inquirer’s editorial decisions “are only at the discretion and direction of the Publisher Bob Hall and/or Editor Bill Marimow.” The statement continued: Read more

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Philly Inquirer reportedly cutting opinion pages

Philadelphia City Paper | Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Inquirer will cut its opinion section to one page next month, sources at the paper tell Daniel Denvir. Denvir’s sources tell him the purported move is a reaction to a survey that “found that readers think the Inquirer is ‘biased.’ Cutting down on opinion is the supposed remedy.”

Philly.com, an online portal the Inquirer shares with the Philadelphia Daily News (though both have their own premium sites as well) has a stable of opinion bloggers. Philly.com announced in May that Pennsylvania’s governor would be one of them, but his sole contribution so far appears to be a Q&A with him, his wife and an unidentified questioner.

“The Saturday opinion section was quietly eliminated months ago,” Denvir writes. Read more

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Knight gives $345,000 to Philadelphia media incubator

Knight Foundation | Knight Blog | Philadelphia

The Knight Foundation is putting $345,000 into Project Liberty, a digital media incubator housed in the headquarters of Interstate General Media, which owns The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com.

Knight “supported the initial launch,” its release says; clients at the incubator “receive access to Philly.com, Inquirer.com and PhillyDailyNews.com as a platform for launching their new products.”

Knight’s press release says Philly.com “has incorporated several innovations from current and former incubator residents.” Read more

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