Mike Topel, a former editor at The Inquirer who most recently developed digital news channels for a national newspaper chain, has been named interim executive editor of Philly.com, Interstate General Media owner H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest said Thursday.
Topel's appointment is part of the management transition at the parent company of The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com.
Lenfest, a philanthropist and former cable-television magnate, consolidated ownership of the media company Wednesday by buying out Drew Katz, son of Lenfest's former partner in the venture, the late Lewis Katz. In addition to owning the company, Lenfest serves as interim publisher and is looking for a permanent publisher.
After leaving The Inquirer in 2011, Topel was editor of the Trentonian and then was part of Project Thunderdome at Digital First Media, one of the nation's largest newspaper companies.
Topel, 50, of Moorestown, was news channels editor at Thunderdome, which created news feeds for Digital First's local newspapers. Digital First is winding down Thunderdome.
Topel, who previously worked for the Associated Press in Boston and Denver, said he had a "very traditional journalism career, and then I got this digital education layered on top of it."
Regarding his new position, he said, "I know the region, and I know the two papers real well, and I know what a good local news site should look like."
He added, "I really need to dig in and see what needs to be addressed, if anything. It's a big staff and a lot of smart people, and I'm looking forward to working with them."
Topel starts July 2.
Lenfest said Topel's hiring was "an important first step in establishing both a united digital strategy and a stellar digital leadership for our company."