STOP THE PRESSES: Rumblings From The Smoking Volcano Of Fear And Loathing That Is 400 North Broad

philadelphia-inquirer-logo-175.jpgREADERS IN THE KNOW REPORT: Sounds like the ugliness is about to begin. Just heard that Business Editor Bob Rose is leaving to take a job at Smart Money magazine. This morning, the talk in the newsroom is that Mark Frisby, head Gannett-bot publisher of the Cherry Hill Courier-Post, is coming on board as — get this: Vice President for Acquisitions. Frisby is one of the acolytes of former C-P publisher Robert T. Collins,volcano.jpg who oversaw Gannett’s slash-and-burn takeover of the Asbury Park Press in the 1990s. During the first year of Gannett’s ownership of the Press, the newsroom underwent a purge not unlike the one about to happen on Broad Street. In the next few years, the Press went from being one of the most respected, family-owned midsized papers in the Northeast to being another candy-colored, no-jumper Gannett outlet, a Happy Meal of a paper. Explain to me how a company that’s broke and wondering how they’re going to make their upcoming debt service payments needs someone to handle “acquisitions”? Or am I missing something. Senior management is in a meeting right now, to be followed by a 2pm meeting in which managers are expected to get their strike assignments.

UPDATE: What the strike papers would look like: Inquirer: daily paper, 32 pages, four-section TABLOID. Ah, the irony. A 40-page Sunday paper, five sections, also tabloid. Daily News: 32-page daily. They’re assuming any strike would last for at least one week, but the tone of the meeting was not panicky, more like better safe than sorry. Also, the contract expires November 30th and — this is definitely news — the company expects to have all the other union contracts in place by then and DOES expect they will cross the picket lines, which would mean they’d definitely have a paper on the street, not just on the Internet.

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