Monday, June 3, 2019

Happy Birthday Inky!

By Ralph Cipriano

Last week, I tried to get Inquirer Publisher Terry Egger to comment on the latest round of buyouts in the newsroom where they haven't had a raise in more than ten years, but the publisher of the year wouldn't talk to me about it.

I was also curious about why the Inky can't afford raises for newsroom employees, but they can afford to blow hundreds of thousands of dollars on expensive independent contractors [like Brian Tierney] and officers of the nonprofit that owns the for-profit Inky, but did I mention that Terry wouldn't talk to me?

But now Terry is talking to me. And he's positively giddy about it.

"Dear RALPH," Terry wrote me in a chirpy email at 7:23 a.m. this morning. "We're a little giddy about being 190 -- and excited for the next 190 years. We're glad to have you along for the ride so we can share stories like these . . . " And then Terry proceeded to brag about some examples of that "high impact journalism," as written by those same employees who haven't had a raise in more than 10 years.

You see as a new online subscriber, Terry and I are pretty cozy. Every month, Terry sends me all of these "insider newsletters" that give me all the inside dope on what the Inky is up to. Such as sponsoring coffee klatches featuring vibrant millennial-age reporters at the paper, who will talk about all the social justice stories they're working on.

Can't imagine anything more exciting than that.

Over the weekend, I also learned why the Inky can't afford to give its employees raises. That's because the newspaper had to hire a "world-renowned typeface expert" to work on an expensive redesign of the Inquirer logo.

After six months of research, analysis, revisions, internal feedback and reader focus groups -- drum roll please -- the makeover team came up with a stunning new logo that looks a helluva lot like the old logo but features a new improved 'P' and a new improved 'I.'

But hey, they also made subtle changes to the T, d, p and q!

Why, you ask would they blow money on a rebranding, when this same newspaper can't afford to give its own employees raises for more than ten years?

"We wanted a logo that would capture the life of our brand, speak to new audiences, and integrate seamlessly into all our products," explained Sara Pfefer, an Inquirer graphic artist who in addition to the worldwide type expert, was part of the Inky's in-house design team that labored for six months on this rebranding project.

More big news: The Inky has mothballed its catchy moniker for its website in favor of the clunkier Why, you ask? Because according to the Inky, "We want readers to know -- whether they're engaging with our indispensable journalism online, in the newspaper, or in the community -- that we are The Inquirer: one brand, one mission."


On the same weekend that the newspaper celebrated it's 190th birthday, one of the top stories on that clunky new website ran under this headline: "Thousands of Philadelphia-area Acme workers, retirees at risk of losing their pension."

In the story, Inquirer staff writer Claudia Vargas detailed how thousands of Acme grocery workers and retirees are in trouble because their pension fund is in "critical and declining status," and is expected to run out of money in eight years.

That's pretty ironic because thousands of Inquirer newsroom workers and retirees are in trouble because their pension fund is in "critical and declining status," and is expected to run out of money in five years!

Why is that happening? Because Brian Tierney, the same guy who just collected $261,908 as an independent contractor for donor development and website services, is the same guy who as publisher, steered the Inquirer with its old logo into bankruptcy, and then defaulted on a $50 million payment owed the pension fund of the NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia.

Maybe the Inquirer ran that story as a gentle reminder to NewsGuild employees that they should grab the buyout while the cash was on the table. Because they're not going to get a raise any time soon.

1 comment

  1. Ralph, perhaps you could incite an uprising at the Inquirer and educate the soon to be huddled masses of inept journalists on how to sue and win large settlements from this soon to be extinct dinosaur.

    With the passage of Laws in many States making it possible for Doctor Assisted Suicides and State Sponsored Abortions, it may be time to put this outdated and inept beast to sleep.


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