The following statement was released tonight by journalists at the Philadelphia Daily News, Inquirer, and Philly.com:
As Philadelphia Media Network goes up for sale, hundreds of journalists at The Philadelphia Inquirer, DailyNews and Philly.com have signed a public statement insisting that the integrity of news reporting at the papers and web site must be guaranteed.
In a statement signed by nearly 300 editorial employees – an overwhelming majority – the journalists said they had “watched with dismay” as coverage of the sales process was “compromised and censored” in recent weeks. Articles dealing with the sale were ordered killed or had content removed by corporate management over the objections of editors.
The statement said that any new ownership must pledge that the paper’s reporting would never be improperly altered to reflect the “private or political interests of owners.”
Influential business and political figures, including former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, have been bidding to buy the papers.
The public statement was signed by a broad array of staffers, from top editors to reporters to news assistants. Those signing included nine Pulitzer Prize winners.
Here is the statement:
As the only business mentioned in the Bill of Rights, newspapers serve more than private ends. The news we publish is crucial to civic life, to holding the powerful accountable, to democracy itself.
That information must be gathered and printed without fear or favor. As The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and philly.com have gone up for sale once again, we watched with dismay as our own coverage of the process was compromised and censored. Our employers promise this won’t happen again. That must be the case.
Top political and business leaders are now competing to buy Philadelphia Media Network. Regardless of who emerges as our new owners, they must guarantee that the integrity of our reporting will never be sacrificed to serve their private or political interests. One thing must be non-negotiable in any sale: our bond of trust with our readers.
Here are the signers of the public statement.
Alejandro Alvarez, George Anastasia, Phil Anastasia, Ann Applegate, Mike Armstrong, Jenice Armstrong, Tony Auth, Tom Avril, John Baer, Ed Barkowitz, Richard Barone, Karin Barry, Becky Batcha, Sandy Bauers, Chuck Bausman, William Bender, Joe Berkery, Frank Bertucci, Kevin Bevan, Daniel Biddle, Kathy Boccella, Les Bowen, Kamela Boyer, Barbara Boyer, Kathy Brady Shea, Chris Brennan, Bob Brookover, Harold Brubaker, Michael Bryant, Will Bunch, Kevin Burkett, Stacey Burling, Melanie Burney, Cynthia Burton, Julie Busby, Stu Bykofsky, Sam Carchidi, George Carter, Bob Caughron, Sterling Chen, Rose Ciotta, Sandy Clark, Ed Colimore, Russell Cooke, Bob Cooney, Porus Cooper, Joshua Cornfield, Ron Cortes, Angela Couloumbis, Nick Cristiano, Chuck Darrow, Carolyn Davis, Michael Days, Virginia Delavan, Francisco Delgado, Dan DeLuca, Tirdad Derakhshani, Jim DeStefano, Rhonda Dickey, Dana DiFilippo, Joseph DiStefano, Hai Do, Peter Dobrin, Sam Donnellon, Lidija Dorjkhand, Sally Downey, Melissa Dribben, John Duchneskie and Ellen Dunkel. Molly Eichel, Steve Elliott, Jenny Ewing Elliott, Stephen Falk, Stephanie Farr, Joelle Farrell, Mark Fazlollah, Bob Fernandez, Kevin Ferris, Tony Fitts, Thomas Fitzgerald, Maureen Fitzgerald, Faye Flam, Bob Ford, Chip Fox, Paula Fuchsberg, T.J. Fuman, Kerith Gabriel, David Gambacorta, Joe Gambardello, John Gayusky, Sharon Gekoski-Kimmel, Matt Gelb, Jeffrey Gelles, Howard Gensler, Dan Geringer, Rita Giordano, Sarah Glover, Steve Glynn, Josh Gohlke, Michael Gold, Nathan Gorenstein, Troy Graham, Kristen Graham, Tom Gralish, Ellen Gray, Cynthia Greer, Kia Gregory, Donald Groff, Dan Gross, Kathy Hacker, Dan Hardy, Denise Harper, Al Hasbrouck, Linda Hasert, Alan Heavens, Jan Hefler, Karen Heller, Cynthia Henry, Chris Hepp, Miriam Hill, Ed Hille, Michael Hinkelman, Rich Hoffman, Kristin Holmes, Harold Jackson, Michael Jensen, Annette John-Hall, Gar Joseph, Joe Juliano, Amy Junod, Reid Kanaley, Rob Kandel, Vincent Kasper, Matt Katz, Richard Kauffman, Steve Kelly, Larry Kesterson, William Kettelberger, Yong Kim, Michael Klein, Rebecca Klock and Mark Kram, Frank Kummer. Craig LaBan, Barbara Laker, Brent Larson, Mike Leary, Esther Lee, Vance Lehmkuhl, Brian Leighton, Debbie Licklider, Jennifer Lin, Ken Lockerby, Linda Loyd, Alfred Lubrano, Phillip Lucas, Catherine Lucey, Tom Mahon, David Maialetti, Alen Malott, Dianna Marder, Kelly Margolis, John Martin, Diane Mastrull, Michael Matza, Andrew Maykuth, Pat Mazurek, Craig McCoy, Marie McCullough, Lauren McCutcheon, Jeffrey McLane, Joanne McLaughlin, Pat McLone, Tom McNamara, Drew McQuade, Regina Medina, Jonathan Meir, Michael Mercanti, David Merrell, Virginia Micke, Gary Miles, John Mitchell, Chris Mondics, Robert Moran, Jack Morrison, Peter Mucha, Matt Mullin, David Murphy, Clem Murray, Walter Naedele, Jason Nark, Michael Newall, Paul Nussbaum, Rick O'Brien, David O'Reilly, James Osborne, Maria Panaritis, Suzette Parmley, Mark Perner, Nancy Phillips, Sinclair Pitts, Mike Placentra, Michael Plunkett, Ronnie Polaneczky, Keith Pompey, Gary Potosky, Michael Potter, David Lee Preston, Ashley Primis, Dylan Purcell, Andrew Putz and John Quinn. Lou Rabito, David Ralis, Jan Ransom, Amy Raudenbush, Steven Rea, Kevin Reardon, Jim Remsen, Daniel Rodgers, Jeremy Roebuck, Matt Romanoski, Avery Rome, Amy Rosenberg, Lynn Ross, Michael Rozansky, Dan Rubin, Trudy Rubin, Cathy Rubin, Wendy Ruderman, Roslyn Rudolph, Valeria Russ, Inga Saffron, Stephan Salisbury, Don Sapatkin, April Saul, Mari Schaefer, Michael Schaffer, Addam Schwartz, David Sell, Frank Seravalli, Howard Shapiro, Julie Shaw, Phil Sheridan, Jeff Shields, Cheryl Shugars, Ted Silary, Darran Simon, Joseph Slobodzian, Elizabeth Slocum, John Smallwood, Robin Smith, Virginia Smith, Susan Snyder, Jon Snyder, Allison Steele, Albert Stumm, Scott Sturgis, David Sullivan, David Swanson, Susan Syrnick, Jonathan Tamari, Joseph Tanfani, Jonathan Tannenwald, John Tierno, Brian Toolan, Michele Tranquilli, Reid Tuvim, Jacqueline Urgo, Claudia Vargas, Bob Vetrone, Michael Vitez, Jane M. Von Bergen, Bob Warner, David Warren, Ed Weiner, Elizabeth Wellington, Suzanne Weston, Frank Wiese, Signe Wilkinson, Michael Wirtz, Tony Wood, Martha Woodall, Deb Woodell, Amy Worden, Monica Yant Kinney, Morgan Zalot, Mike Zebe and Barry Zukerman.
The statement was also signed by a number of former journalists at The Inquirer and Daily News.