Latest Philadelphia Media Network News
May 24, 2019
By Harold Brubaker, Philly.com Citing declining revenue across the news industry, Philadelphia Media Network, which publishes The Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com offered buyouts to an unspecified number of union and nonunion employees Thursday. The terms of the buyout offer and how many employees would be eligible, based on age and years with the company, were not immediately available. The news organization is a for-profit enterprise owned by a nonprofit, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism. "A unique ownership structure means that we are not saddled with profit goals set by corporate owners or shareholders," Terrance C. Z. Egger, Philadelphia Media Network's publisher and chief executive, told employees in an email, referring to the company's status as a Public Benefit Corporation, which means it does not have to maximize profits for shareholders. "However, that does not make us immune to the dramatic economic challenges that weigh heavily on the news industry. Declines in revenue that have affected media companies of all sizes, including ours, require that we constantly adapt and adjust our expenses while also making strategic investments necessary for our future," Egger said. The announcement came a day after a federal bankruptcy judge approved the sale of the Reading Eagle to MediaNews Group, which eviscerates the staffs and liquidates the property of acquired newspapers. Local news organizations nationwide are hemorrhaging advertising revenue as they struggle to convince readers to pay for digital subscriptions. Despite its ownership by a nonprofit, Philadelphia's largest newsroom has been unable to escape the turmoil. "Today, Philadelphia Media Network disappoints us all with the announcement that buyouts are again being offered - with the threat of layoffs if the company doesn't get enough volunteers," Diane Mastrull, president of NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia, which represents employees in the newsroom, advertising, finance and information technology, told union member, said in an email. Less than two years ago, Philadelphia Media Network had a previous round of layoffs that aimed to eliminate 30 to 35 newsroom positions while the company was gearing to hire additional staffers with digital skills.