Perhaps it's the beginning of a citywide conversation "so that there are no longer two private dialogues in Philadelphia — white people talking to other whites, and black people to blacks," as Philadelphia Magazine writer Robert Huber put it in his controversial piece titled "Being White in Philly."
Or perhaps it's the second leg of a publicity tour for a magazine perpetually trying to gain the attention of city dwellers.
Either way, for a second night in a row, Philly Mag editor Tom McGrath took to a stage with Huber to debate the point of the March cover story that has stirred up quite a bit of backlash, including a four-page stinging letter from Mayor Michael Nutter to the city Human Relations Commission.
Tonight, McGrath and Huber are discussing the topic of race and the story's goals with members of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ) at the offices of the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com on Market Street.
After a 40-minute discussion with moderator and PABJ member Nia Meeks that began at 7 p.m., the heat turned up a bit when PABJ members began questioning McGrath and Huber. Much of the questioning surrounded the magazine's lack of diversity among its editorial staff.
McGrath said in response to one question that the lack of diversity is industry-wide.
"I was at an event in New York City with editors from around the country and I looked around the group there was about 150 people there and I might have saw one black person," McGrath said of a magazine conference he attended last month.
On Monday evening, McGrath served as moderator for a panel that included Huber; journalists Solomon Jones and Christopher Norris; People's Emergency Center president Farah Jimenez; and University of Pennsylvania lecturer Walter Palmer, who teaches about racism and social change.
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