Coalition Sets Out To Save Philly Newspapers

The group, consisting of business people, labor unions, activists and citizens, has launched website and Facebook page and has launched a petition drive in support of the papers and the journalists and other workers.

A group of business people, labor unions, activists and citizens have formed a coalition to fight closing and cutbacks at the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia announced this week.

The coalition has launched a website and a Facebook page. It is also sending emails to tens of thousands of Philadelphians asking them to sign a petition in support of the papers and the journalists and other workers who produce it. Further actions are planned, the guild said.

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The coalition, whose slogan is “A Great City Needs Great Newspaper,” is responding to the threat of Interstate General Media, the newspapers’ new owners, to “liquidate” them if their demands are not met and to IGM’s efforts to replace established journalists with younger, inexperienced, and less costly replacements.

The guild earlier this month agreed to IGM’s requested $7.1 million reduction in compensation to its members. The coalition was formed after IGM demanded the right to fire long established writers at the newspapers, despite the agreed pay cut.

“The newspapers can’t do their job without experienced journalists who have the knowledge, insight, and experience gained over many years to know where the truth is buried and to challenge anyone, whether they are political officials or star athletes” Marc Stier, who is leading the coalition, said in a statement. “The issue is no longer compensation for journalists and others who work at the newspapers. The issue is whether a great city is going to have great newspaper. The issue is our city and our democracy”

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