Philadelphia Daily News

Philadelphia Inquirer building

No brotherly love for rival papers in Philadelphia | Columbia Journalism Review | CBS Philly

The Philadelphia Daily News reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for a report on police corruption and sexual assault is being accused of paying the bills of one of its key sources and allegedly encouraging her to exaggerate facts of a criminal complaint about the incident. The story comes from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Both papers are owned by H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest. Lenfest originally wanted to hold the story about why federal prosecutors did not bring charges against police officer Thomas Tolstoy, accused of sexual assault by three women in the “Tainted Justice” series, according the Columbia Journalism Review. But after an article was published about the story being held, the Philadelphia Inquirer published its story.

Investigative journalists Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker deny the woman’s account. Laker gave CBS Philly a point-by-point rebuttal of the accusations. For instance, Laker said the Inquirer story did not include key information she provided corroborated the assertions in “Tainted Justice.” Read more


Sex-slave investigation shares Philly Daily News’ front page with ‘Sexy Singles’

Philadelphia’s location between several mid-Atlantic cities “creates a particularly attractive opportunity for the brokers of enslaved women,” Morgan Zalot writes in an investigation of sex trafficking published in the Philadelphia Daily News early Tuesday.

Philly is also a place where “Sexy Singles” appear in swimsuits, according to its front page.


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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, 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

  • 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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in Philadelphia, Tuesday, April 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Inquirer, Daily News sold for $88 million

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Lewis Katz and H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest won the English-style auction for Interstate General Media’s publishing properties Tuesday, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and They paid $88 million, David Sell reports.

Katz and Lenfest told the court they were “trying to right what we think was a wrong” when Inquirer Editor Bill Marimow was fired. He was later reinstated by a judge. “I certainly hope to stay, and that – of course – is up to our owners,” Marimow told Poynter in an email. Lenfest will serve as interim publisher, the new owners told staffers.

“[W]e are happy for the company’s employees, readers and advertisers that this issue is now resolved,” said now-former owners George E. Norcross, William P. Hankowsky and Joseph E. Buckelew in a statement. “We wish Messrs. Katz and Lenfest the best of luck moving forward.”

Their full statement: Read more

A Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, center left, building vending machines are seen in Philadelphia, Tuesday, April 27, 2010. Philadelphia's two largest newspapers are scheduled to go on the auction block in a New York City law office as part of a bankruptcy reorganization plan for Philadelphia Newspapers LLC. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Philly newspapers go on the auction block this morning

The Philadelphia Inquirer

At 9:30 Tuesday morning, owners of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and will bid for control of the properties and their parent company in an auction, David Sell wrote Tuesday in The Inquirer. (UPDATE: They were sold for $88 million to Lewis Katz’s group.)

The two groups in that auction, which is closed to both the public and the press, are George E. Norcross III, William Hankowsky and Joseph Buckelew, Sell reported, and Katz and H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest.

The dispute erupted and litigation began in October, when publisher Robert F. Hall fired Inquirer editor William K. Marimow over the objection of Katz. A Philadelphia judge reinstated Marimow, but denied Katz’s request to have Hall removed.

The dispute prompted the two groups to seek to dissolve the company, with the auction used to decide who gains control.

Norcross already submitted $77 million as the opening bid, Sell reported. On Sunday, Sell wrote about how we’ve gotten to this point and what it could mean to the media in Philadelphia.

What happens that morning is likely to have a lasting impact – and not just on the 1,800 employees who work for The Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News,, and at a plant IGM owns outside Conshohocken. Through hearings in Philadelphia and Delaware, court filings, and public statements, both men have made clear they have different visions for the company, long a dominant local news source for hundreds of thousands in the region.

Angelo Fichera, a reporter at The Inquirer, is tweeting the auction.

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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 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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Chuck Stone dies at 89: Journalist, UNC professor, NABJ cofounder

The Washington Post | The News & Observer | Philadelphia Daily News | NABJ | Solomon Jones

Chuck Stone, whose career spanned journalism, academia and politics, died Sunday. He was 89 and had congestive heart failure, his daughter Krishna told The Washington Post.

Until 2004, Stone was a journalism professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where Andrea Weigl reports he “became known around campus for his stylish attire, his morning commute on a bicycle and his popular class on censorship that he called ‘dirty books and dirty pictures,’ one that always had a waiting list.”

Before academia beckoned, Stone was a journalist at black newspapers and a towering columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, “the most influential journalist in Philadelphia,” former Editor Zack Stalberg said. On several occasions, John F. Morrison writes, police called Stone into dicey situations: An armed robbery where the suspects requested his presence at a standoff, and a prison incident in 1981, during which he helped negotiate the release of several hostages. Read more


Reporter bails on media beat after 11 years covering Philly papers


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


Potential new buyer for Philly papers emerges | The Washington Post | Philadelphia Magazine

There’s a potential buyer for the embattled, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, according to a report out yesterday from

“The Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia declined to reveal the potential buyer, but said the party is interested in purchasing the entire company or a majority stake from parent company Interstate General Media, whose owners include wealthy New Jersey businessman Lewis Katz and powerful South Jersey Democrat George Norcross,” the reports reads.

The news follow a suit and countersuit filed by Katz and Norcross and a tangle of other developments, including the firing of editor Bill Marimow. And it comes as the papers appear to be on the edge of profitability again. Yesterday, Joel Mathis wrote in Philadelphia Magazine that rumors of profitability had been brewing for a while, but “confirmation of a sorts emerged Tuesday, as part of an explanation from Bill Ross, executive director of the Newspaper Guild, as to why the guild had publicized its bid to buy out one or all of IGM’s warring owners.” Read more

Philadelphia Newspapers Bankruptcy

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

The co-owners of The Philadelphia Inquirer, 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 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 and”.

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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