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A Nonanswer On Tierney’s Future

A lot to write about the bankruptcy filing of Philadelphia Media Holdings, but I’m trying to think first for once. (About the content. The jokes are already done.)

I needed to write about this, though. Daily News editor Michael Days sent out a Q&A the company sent out to its employees. And check this out:

Will Brian continue to be CEO? Will the management team stay in place?

Brian as well as the rest of the management team remain actively engaged and committed to this company.

You have to give management over at 400 N. Broad credit. Not too many companies have the ability to dodge a question in their own Q&A! Impressive.

Abridged Daily News Columnists: Brian Tierney Special Edition

There’s only one column in today’s Daily News, but it’s by Publisher Brian Tierney, so let’s make fun of it for a little bit. (Post-writing editor’s note: Or maybe for a long time, like a billion words or so. Whoops.)

WHAT HAPPENED last week was like a scene from a holiday movie.

Did an angel show Brian Tierney what it would be like if he had never lived in a gimmicky, schmaltzy way?

In the face of the biggest demand for toys in years, the Philadelphia Area Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program was experiencing its smallest contributions in memory. With a week to go in its campaign to help needy children, the toy total was less than half its usual count. And, in the most challenging economy in decades, there was little hope for improvement. Things looked bleak.

Oh. That’s not good, but I don’t really see how it’s much like Brian Tierney being visited by three ghosts and learning the true meaning of Christmas.

We started a campaign in the

I just want to point out that, currently, this is the last part of the story in regular text; everything else is in italics from this point out. I totally haven’t italicized my whole site in a while, but it happens to the best of us.

Daily News, Inquirer and Philly.com to alert our readers to this need.

A week later, 40,000 more toys came through our doors, to put the total at over 60,000. The increased cash contributions are still being tabulated.

This “Miracle on Broad Street” illustrates the extraordinary power of our newspapers - to highlight a problem, galvanize our community and make a real difference, every single day.

Let’s call a moratorium on “Miracle on [x] Street” references unless it really works from now on. This is about the third or fourth thing I’ve heard called “Miracle on Broad Street” this year (including the Phillies’ World Series win, which took place in between 10th and Darien Streets).

And, uhm, this scenario doesn’t sound much like Miracle on 34th Street. The only way this would be like a Christmas movie is if people donated Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifles. (Note: Please do not notify me of a movie called The Christmas Toy Drive or something that is about a newspaper and its heroic toy drive.)

More »

Inquirer’s ‘I’ Mag Launches Today

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Ladies and gentlemen, rejoice! The one thing Philadelphia needs more than anything — another lifestyle magazine — is finally coming to town! And (even better) this one is owned by the Inquirer!

I magazine launches today, as the Philadelphia Business Journal reported last night:

The Philadelphia Inquirer will launch a glossy lifestyle magazine insert that will appear six times a year, the newspaper’s owner said Wednesday.

The magazine, which will be known as “I,” will launch Thursday and be distributed free with newspapers to 115,000 households and newsstands in affluent areas. Sandra M. Clarke, now arts-and-features editor at the Inquirer, will serve as editor of the publication.

The publication will cover fashion, home décor, food and dining, entertainment and social events. Stories in the 56-page debut issue will include interviews with restaurateur Stephen Starr and an inside look at Eagles’ tackle Jon Runyan’s New Jersey home.

If you were to ask me to come up with the two most cliched local lifestyle magazine features, I would look at you funny. And, anyway, why would you need me to: I could not come up with anything better than “Stephen Starr interview and “tour of Jon Runyan’s home.” What, no Gervase interview?!

But no matter. Now the real fun begins: What sections of the city will get the insert? Just Center City and the rest is out on the Main Line? Help me out here, kids, drop me a line if you do or don’t see I in the Inquirer at your newsstand. (I have to imagine the percentage of readers who get the Inky delivered is “my parents,” but you can tell me about that, too.)

Philly.com has celebrated the launch of I with a photo gallery, as is its wont.

PMH EVP’s Sleek Sports Car

Times are tough in the journalism industry. Everyone has to make sacrifices. Whatever. Tell that to Philadelphia Media Holdings executive vice president Mark Frisby, who has a shiny new Maserati, according to a tipster who passed along this photo. Shouldn’t it be shinier if it’s brand new? Tsk, tsk.

I wouldn’t tell the former publisher of The Courier Post (a Gannett paper, naturally) to avoid buying new toys in this time of fiscal crisis; after all, I just got Wii Fit a few weeks ago. But considering a lot of the rank-and-file at PMH considers him a henchman brought to fire people, I might suggest passing on the vanity plate next time.

Pigs Flying Much Closer To Ground

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Last last week, Phillymag’s Steve Volk wrote about the financial worries at Philadelphia Media Holdings, the Brian Tierney-captained crew running the Inquirer, Daily News and other related properties.

The 411: Standard & Poor’s reported PMH will have its debt interest rate go up a point in exchange for being allowed to miss a few payments. Its loan was trading in the mid-70s in June and is now in the 40s.

Want more bad news? Sure: Boscov’s, which has filed for bankruptcy, owes the paper nearly a million dollars.

Of course, when the company gets that money, it will immediately be spent on inflatable pigs and cat food, so that Philly.com may construct a whole army of 40-plus pound cats to put on the front page.

Financial Worries Deepen at Philadelphia Media Holdings [Phillymag]
Boscov’s files for bankruptcy; several stores closing immediately [Baltimore Sun via Phawker]

Inquirer Wackiness Continues

Yes, earlier today we all learned two Inquirer editors tried to have sex, but failed. But there’s more! As also reported today, the Inquirer will soon eliminate its Image and Neighbors sections.

Here’s the memo from Inky ME Sandra Long:

Hello everyone,

I want to let you know of several significant changes that will take place in the next few weeks.

The Inquirer will publish the last edition of the Neighbors sections on Sunday, July 27. We began publishing Neighbors in 1982 following the close of The Bulletin as a way to capture more suburban readership. We started with Horsham Neighbors and continued to expand through the 1980s.

At its peak, Neighbors covered suburban Pennsylvania and South Jersey in microcosmic detail, chronicling events from weekly planning and zoning meetings to wrestling meets, hockey meets and school lunch menus.

We will also combine the Sunday Arts and Entertainment and the Image section on beginning August 3. The last Image section will publish July 27. We began publishing Image when the Inquirer Magazine folded in July 2003.

Details will follow on how we will move some of the content to other sections from Neighbors and Image.

The decision to close the Neighbors sections and Image was made as the company does everything possible to control expenses against the background of a recession in the businesses that advertise in our newspapers and on our website.

In addition, we are looking at ways to reduce the number of pages in the Comics section.

If you have questions, please let me know.

Thanks,
Sandra

Sandra D. Long
Managing Editor
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Not big enough of a shakeup for you? Fine: Management is considering combining the Inquirer and Daily News photo and copy desks, sources report.

Still not enough? Okay, get this: The Inquirer only has two comics pages. (I guess she could be writing about Sunday’s comics section.) If I can’t get my Dennis the Menace and Ziggy fix there, where the hell will I get it?

When Jets (Not Pigs) Fly (Or Not)

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Philly.com is currently running ads for Derrie-Air, a new airline where you pay based on your weight. (Get it?) The airline has also planted trees, in the hopes the company will offset the carbon the planes produce.

But, ha ha, it’s a fake ad campaign made up by Philadelphia Media Holdings “to test the results of advertising in our print and online products and to stimulate discussion on a timely environmental topic of interest to all citizens.”

Wait, what?

Yes, apparently the new ads running on Philly.com are completely fake, and just for fun. Romenesko writes there are at least 18 fake ads in today’s Inquirer. As you can see, the paper is taking ideas from Something Awful by running gag ads.

Flying Pigs: A Special ‘WSJ’ Section

Tierney

Noted yacht-in-the-Caribbean owning Brian Tierney, the owner of the Inquirer and Daily News, isn’t content with just the major print media and most popular website in Philadelphia.

No, Tierney is also hoping to turn Philadelphia Media Holdings into a powerhouse by purchasing the freaking Wall Street Journal. The WSJ would come if Tierney could find backers to buy Dow Jones, the subject of a recent takeover attempt by Rupert Murdoch.

News Corp.’s bid for Dow Jones was $5 billion, which Tierney said wasn’t excessive. Well, you get the freaking Wall Street Journal, so I suppose it’s not so much. Of course, the bid for the Philly papers was just over $500 million, so, ah, if Tierney manages to buy Dow Jones it’d be a real reason to do a special section about pigs flying.

Inquirer owner has interest in Dow Jones [Inquirer]
May 4: ‘Inquirer’ Uses Font Size Usually Reserved For Terrorist Attacks To Tell Us Circulation Is Up

Paper Execs Attempt To Get Every Last Penny Out Of Staff

Actual memo sent out at our newspaperly neighbors to the north:

From: [redacted]

Sent: Wed 11/29/2006 2:50 PM
To: PNI Weekly Update - All
Subject: BISTRO MUGS

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Breaking: Unions, Management Agree To Extension

No strike at midnight! The Newspaper Guild, the Teamsters and eight other unions have agreed to an extension with management for 30 days.

This means that the two unions that authorized strikes, the Newpsaper Guild and the Teamstears, won’t be striking tonight. Come Dec. 1, perhaps. But for now, another 30 days to talk. Alleluia.

Newspapers, unions agree to 30-day contract extension [Inquirer]