Monday, March 13, 2006

Yo, McClatchy! Don't Ditch the Inquirer

"Our two companies operate in the finest traditions of American journalism, devoted to independent, public interest reporting and the highest ethical values. Combining the two creates a company particularly well-positioned to lead the way in a changing media landscape. It's truly a chance for McClatchy to do more of what it does best." Gary Pruitt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of McClatchy

A triple play's about to hit the Philadelphia Inquirer. Knight Ridder to McClatchy to (fill in the blank)_____?

I've been reading the Inquirer since childhood. I started to read books at age 4, newspapers around age 8. Since I'm a Boomer of a certain age, that means I've been reading the "Inkie" a looong time.

The Inquirer has reported on and represented the city of Philadelphia and its surrounding counties--plus half of New Jersey--for far longer than that. And with uncompromising excellence and style.

If you read it too, you have to know it's a first class newspaper, its pages peopled with top notch journalists and columnists. It's won 18 Pulitzer prizes and counting ... unless it's going down for the count.

Compared to so many newspapers these days whose independence and integrity often go to the highest bidder, the Inquirer has stood out as a beacon of solid, respectable, responsible journalism. Its online version is media savvy state of the art, with readership growing daily. It makes money.

Has anyone noticed I've just described everything Knight Ridder's new partner/owner purports to value? So why then is McClatchy hell bent on selling this outstanding landmark?

A real head-scratcher. Dan Rubin of Blinq, the Inquirer's Blog par excellance, has this to say Blinq: Bruises.

Rubin and Blinq are perfect examples of what an Oh Baby! McClatchy would toss out with the bath water. Named this year by Phila City Paper Most Transcendent Blog:

All Philly blogs are trend-worshipping, friend-promoting, slang-butchering cesspools of sarcasm and soullessness, right? Yeah, mostly, but Daniel Rubin's Blinq -- the webbed arm of the Inquirer, of all things -- manages to outwit and out-entertain its peers by remaining refreshingly unhip and utterly panoptic in its interests. Yeah, he's a blogger, so he often blogs about blogs, but Rubin's professional attitude and personal touches make Blinq feel more like a column than a mere newsletter of the weird.
Then there's the boffo review of Blinq by NYU's cutting edge journalism school on and Blinq make up the online tip of the Inquirer iceberg -- imagine what enormous depth lies beneath.

If McClatchy and company want "to lead the way in a changing media landscape," they need to take a harder look at the full body of work produced by the Philadelphia Inquirer, not just the bare bottom line.

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