Philly.com

Union at Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com to take strike vote

The Philadelphia branch of the Newspaper Guild on Thursday set a strike authorization vote next week for its 500 members at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com.

A June 3 vote comes amid ongoing bargaining on a new contract to replace the one that expired earlier in the month. It’s now been extended to June 27 by mutual agreement of the union and management.

The primary issues include health care contributions by employees and the role of seniority in potential layoffs. Talks resume Friday.

In a Thursday letter to members, the leadership of Local 38010 of the Newspaper Guild indicated the secret-ballot vote would start in late afternoon and that the union bargaining committee will be present “to answer any question before you cast this important vote.”

A strike authorization is not tantamount to a walkout. Read more

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Philly.com got 555 comments on an article about changes to comments

All was quiet in the comments section for a few hours on Monday after a piece about changes to Philly.com’s comments process went up on the site. And that made Erica Palan a little nervous. But the quiet didn’t last for too long.

By Tuesday afternoon, there were 555 comments in that article’s comments section.

Palan, audience engagement manager for Philly.com, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, answered questions via email about a video included in the article with staff reading angry comments, changes to the comments process and why the site is keeping its comments up. First, here’s the video:

KH: What made you guys decide to do the video?

We actually filmed and edited the video more than a month ago. Several people had approached me about the idea and we’d been joking about doing this for a few months. Read more

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Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 1.01.53 PM

‘Tweet your story four times’ and other advice from Philly.com’s Erica Palan and Diana Lind

Melody Kramer spoke with Philly.com’s Erica Palan on Tuesday about how Palan works with her coworkers on social. Included in that conversation was the mention of a recent workshop for staff at Philly.com, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News called “How to get your story read.”

After Tuesday’s story, people asked Palan to see the presentation for themselves. She has posted them here, and the presentation she created along with Diana Lind, director of digital audience development, is full of tips including why you need to get the headline right and how to get your story out on social media.

The purpose of the conversation was to help explain the elements of shareable content, Lind said in an email, and to show “how an article’s framing can have a strong impact on whether or not it gets shared, and therefore read.”

Their most popular content is breaking news and sports, Lind said, by far, “so the presentation didn’t focus on those subjects. Read more

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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 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.
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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. Read more

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Woman’s 35 years of TV news tapes bound for preservation

Fast Company | Philly.com

For 35 years, Marion Stokes taped the news.

And, eventually, you’ll be able to find what she spent a good deal of her life preserving online, according to a story Thursday by Sarah Kessler in Fast Company.

Kessler writes that Stokes, who died in 2012 at 83, was a former Philadelphia librarian and civil rights activist who began taping the news when big events happened, “and when cable transformed it into a 24-hour affair, she began recording MSNBC, Fox, CNN, CSNBC, and CSPAN around the clock by running as many as eight television recorders at a time.”

Stokes’ 40,000 VHS tapes will go into the Internet Archive, Kessler writes, a nonprofit online library that first started in 1996. Its offering, so far, includes a Sept. Read more

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Potential new buyer for Philly papers emerges

Philly.com | The Washington Post | Philadelphia Magazine

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

“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

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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. 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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