In this morning’s Billy Penn newsletter there’s a feature from Anna Orso on a potential Philadelphia Inquirer strike. It would be be the first strike in thirty years, and it seems unlikely at this point.
But Anna’s piece brings to mind the larger issue with Philadelphia news, which is that The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com (same company) don’t provide tremendous value to the community. This was reflected somewhat in its most recent $88 million sale to Gerry Lenfest and Lewis Katz last year. I remember reading at the time that Lenfest and Katz bid that price not expecting to win. But they got it.
And since Katz’s death, Lenfest as Philadelphia’s elder philanthropist has been left to chart the future of these brands. But other than nostalgia, and the value of a few specific personalities like Inga Saffron, what does Philly.com, et al. really do for the city or its suburbs?
I think the better approach is to hire away the top 10-15 reporters from the three brands, completely axe the existing business units, relaunch Philly.com as a serious news site focused on a few excellent verticals, and partner with Billy Penn, Technically Philly, Hidden City Philadelphia, Newsworks, etc. to create something new.