The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com have a new editor, the latest step in an ongoing reorganization of their parent company.
Gabriel Escobar will be editor and vice president of Philadelphia Media Network, a new job that puts him in charge of news for the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com, the company announced Monday. Escobar, who was previously managing editor for news at the Inquirer, succeeds Bill Marimow as the top editor there.
“This was the ideal time for a changing of the guard, and Gabe Escobar, who was a stellar reporter and writer in Hartford, at The Washington Post and at The Philadelphia Daily News and is now an excellent editor, has earned the post,” Marimow told Poynter in an email.
Marimow will become editor at large and vice president at Philadelphia Media Network, a job that takes him out of day-to-day leadership of The Inquirer and puts him in charge of coaching the journalists on the company’s investigative, policy and regional teams. He’ll also help shepherd a paywall initiative, which is slated to launch later this year.
Mike Days, who was previously editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, will become editor for reader engagement at Philadelphia Media Network. He’ll charged with “ensuring that we connect with the Greater Philadelphia community in new and meaningful ways,” according to a newsroom memo from Executive Editor Stan Wischnowski.
Putting a single editor in charge of all three titles is in line with the company’s goal of creating a single united newsroom, a company spokesperson told Poynter. The next steps will be picking new editors, deciding on the shared newsroom’s beat structure and reassigning reporters.
The company took a step toward fusing the newsrooms in 2015, when it laid off dozens of staffers across the company’s three titles. No new layoffs or buyouts are planned during the reorganization, a spokesperson said. Rather, employees are reapplying and will be assigned jobs based on new priorities.
The leadership shuffle represents a milestone of sorts for the competitive and often turbulent world of Philadelphia journalism. Marimow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter-turned-editor-turned-reporter-turned-editor, had a decades-long career at The Inquirer and managed to outlast an acrimonious battle for ownership of the newspaper’s parent company.
After serving as editor from 2006 to 2010, he was reassigned to a reporting position by former publisher Gregory J. Osberg. He was brought back as editor 2012 when the company was purchased by new investors but let go a year later after refusing to fire several key editors, according to Politico.
But that didn’t last long. Marimow was reinstated later in 2013 after a judge issued a five-page ruling that held his dismissal was a violation of the company’s ownership agreement.
Though the reorganization is proceeding apace, the company does not yet have a union contract to replace the current one, which sunsets in July. Last week, employees at Philadelphia Media Network spurned a contract that would have provided health insurance benefits but eliminated seniority protections for guild members.