Pennsylvania’s governor will write column for Philly.com

May 24, 2013
Category: Uncategorized

The Philadelphia Inquirer | Philly.com

Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett will have a regular space on Philly.com’s “New Voices” platform, the company announced Thursday. He’ll produce “photo essays, videos and columns, highlighting the Governor’s perspective in addressing state issues of importance to Philadelphians,” the announcement says.

Pennsylvania’s next gubernatorial election is scheduled for 2014, and Corbett will be able to run for reelection. His inaugural column is a soft-focus Q&A with him and his wife, Susan Corbett.

So, uh, how’s that going over in the newsrooms associated with Philly.com, which like The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News is owned by Interstate General Media, and some of whose content appears on Philly.com? (The company launched pay sites last month, but Philly.com remains free.)

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I sense a bit of skepticism in the Inquirer’s piece on the announcement. IGM CEO Robert J. Hall tells that organization’s Thomas Fitzgerald and Angela Couloumbis Philly.com will also offer its platform to U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for governor. Philly.com won’t pay Corbett, Hall says, meaning he’ll share the experience of many writers on the Web.

“You have split Philly.com and the newspaper, but the audience still sees it as the same site,” Poynter’s Kelly McBride tells Fitzgerald and Couloumbis. “What about The Inquirer’s watchdog coverage of the governor?

Other potential gubernatorial candidates tell the reporters they, too, would appreciate having access to the platform, one citing equal time. “I think a news organization has to respond to a higher goal than simply conforming to a law or an FCC order – we’re talking about innate fairness,” former Inquirer Managing Editor Gene Foreman told them.

Will Bunch notes that unlike former Inquirer columnist John C. Yoo, Corbett has never enabled torture. That’s about as pleasant as the welcome gets.

I was a little disappointed that the reader comments were turned off for your first column. Because, if I can be serious for just a half-sentence here, this is your biggest failing (ponder that, for a moment) as governor — your failure to engage in an honest give-and-take with the voters of Pennsylvania, not counting the shielding wing of a friendly conservative radio host. The OTHER voices of Philly.com — the readers — have much they want to ask you, and if I know the commenters on this website, I’m sure they want to do so in a polite and respectful fashion.

Correction: This post originally misspelled Gene Foreman’s last name.

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