Monday, January 31, 2011

Rendell, Bissinger, and the changes at the Philadelphia Daily News

There's a lot of ground to cover in Larry Platt's memo to the staff of the Philadelphia Daily News. So I'll just stick with saying this sounds good....

In covering Power, the Daily News should report from street level, poking the reader in the ribs and telling him or her how things really do or don’t get done in this city. Philadelphia is a town that is run for and by the same group of 300 insiders. We have an obligation to provide a road map for our readers as to how the transactional nature of our town can conspire against the common good. And we can do that in an entertaining way that holds the usual suspects accountable. 

...but I can't help but juxtapose that mission statement with this: 

I’m also honored to announce that another Pulitzer Prize winner, best-selling author Buzz Bissinger, will serve as an editorial advisor and occasional columnist in our pages. I’ve known Buzz for nearly twenty years; he’s passionate and inspiring and often outraged. I plan on having some regular big-picture brainstorming sessions, often with Buzz in attendance. Yes, he cut his teeth at the Inquirer, and, until recently, penned a column for our sister publication. But Buzz is excited about what we’re doing here and his is a voice our city desperately needs.

Speaking of loud voices, I also want to welcome our new sports columnist, none other than Ed Rendell. 

Ah, yes, Ed Rendell and Buzz Bissinger. Such fresh, establishment-challenging voices! If Larry Platt weren't giving us these guys, how would I know what they think or where to find their views?

I've been in the business long enough to have read a few of these memos. (And to have written one or two myself, frankly.) Revolutions are often promised but rarely realized. But it's not usually so naked that the promise of great change and reinvention is accompanied by fanfare of drawing from the same well that you've been drawing from for the last 25 years. 

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