This morning, as the drama went down in Philadelphia – which made national news – we were both tracking the blow-by-blow via reporter tweets, and emailing/texting with friends of Blue Jersey’s in the Inky newsroom, where distrust of the Norcross ownership went deep among journalists and created a challenge to editorial independence and the ability of their newsroom to function well. I pointed out that Norcross made a killing on the papers, which I bet stung the flailing Star-Ledger and challenges the idea of Norcross as the “loser” today. This is how one of our friends at the Inky responded:
Yes Norcross won $27 million but we’re rid of him. This was a fight for the soul of news gathering in this region. Our editorial talked today talked about how we could not endorse in one of the NJ House races because of our conflict of interest with Norcross’s brother being a candidate. The Inquirer is the largest circulating paper in South Jersey and we couldn’t weigh in on an important House race involving the brother of a boss who was given the seat as if we are no longer living in a democracy. I am ashamed of that. Ignoring the news is just as bad as slanting it. So if $27 million bought these over-worked, highly-committed people here their freedom, it was worth it.
– one of our sources in the Inky newsroom, today
This was the editorial today our friend meant, in which the paper failed to take a public position in CD1, where South Jersey Dems under big bro George rushed to endorse little bro Don even as Rob Andrews was speaking the words of his resignation from Congress. But the paper had to ignore that that happened, at least up front. Because that’s the way it goes down there, and the same guy running the politics and owning the means of communication was always a potential problem. The paper’s problems aren’t over, but we’ve got some journalist friends celebrating tonight. Here’s to them.
Photo: New owners Katz & Lenfest talk to staff just after the sale, by Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Angelo Fichera via Twitter.