So let me tell you about how I spent the weekend out of a job.
On Friday, I was notified that I no longer was employed by Newspaper Media Group, the Cherry Hill-based company that purchased Philadelphia Weekly in 2016, just months before I took over as editor in October of the same year. It was a good run with NMG, whose management admitted candidly that the publication is a different beast than the community weeklies its owner Rich Donnelly and publisher Perry Corsetti are passionate about.
The paper’s eclectic stronghold with Philadelphia’s counterculture and the fact that it’s anything but a traditional community newspaper, I was always told, was intriguing to Donnelly, even if he didn’t always agree with the contents.
But this isn’t a tale of woe, instead of hope and excitement of what’s to come as PW was sold to Dan McDonough, owner of – well, quite frankly a lot to be honest – but most notably Philadelphia-based brand firm Woden. And as of Monday, PW’s retained an HQ address in the City of Brotherly Love and yours truly as its old, yet new editor.
I’ve had lengthy discussions with McDonough, who revealed his love affair with PW and his aspirations of purchasing it years earlier. His goal is to produce a sharper print product visually, one that you will actually be able to find each Thursday when PW hits the streets. I respect the fact that McDonough is a newspaper man through and through, having cut his own teeth with national publications and being in the business on some capacity since he was 19.
I told him about the numerous emails from devout readers who mention they can’t find the paper, or ask for a subscription just so they can ensure they receive a copy. On the top of the list of things that will improve under new management is our distribution, with a goal of more in-house drops and honor boxes you’ll want to stick your hand in.
This change isn’t happening overnight, in fact there’s no rush in the immediate to change anything. The news you’ve come to expect will remain the same and you can read our daily content on PhiladelphiaWeekly.com. If you’re looking for where you can find a copy in print, there is still a graphic called Where You Can Find Us located right on our homepage. However over the next year, you’ll see a few changes, a sharper version of our website, a modified rebrand to our current look in print, but perhaps more importantly the growth of the paper and an increased page count.
In its heyday, a minimum page count for PW was 80 pages. Right now we’re printing and distributing at a little over a third of that. Our goal, understanding the state of newspapers, advertisers and the marketplace, is to have our minimum at half that. May still sound small, but if you read us regularly, you’ll physically feel the difference in an additional 20 pages filled with watchdog journalism, arts and entertainment news that’s uniquely PW all wrapped in sharper, more stunning visuals.
I don’t have to tell you that journalism, the kind that holds a flame to people in power, the kind that reveals the human side of the everyday person, the kind that exposes you to your ever-changing city, community and neighborhood (for better or worse) is vitally important. If it wasn’t, there wouldn’t be people trying equally as hard to suppress it.
This is your alternative news feed, Philadelphia, and I’m excited to steer it into new waters. Personally, it’s important that I thank the ownership and management of NMG for the freedoms our editorial staff was permitted to deliver award-winning journalism over its two-year run. I also thank them for having the foresight to not let a good thing die and pass it on into what I believe are extremely capable hands.
I want to thank my NMG colleagues, particularly the editors and writers of the Northeast Times, South Philly Review, The Star and series of Bucks County-based publications, of which we all shared the same umbrella. Sharing a newsroom with dedicated journalists forces you to remain on your A-Game, and that room...
I’ve had many firsts, but this is probably the first time I can say I have had my employment terminated, reinstated and have never been more excited about the future. The goal is to do what needs to be done to not only keep PW as the recognizable watchdog it’s become, but to transcend it across all mediums. It’s a shared vision between editor and owner and collectively, the passion to see this through is there.
Have questions? I’ll answer them. Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.