MELISSA BLOCK, host:
NPR's former top news executive has been named to lead the Philadelphia Inquirer. Bill Marimow won two Pulitzers at the Inquirer during its heyday in the 1970's and '80s and his new boss is heralding his return.
But as NPR's David Folkenflik reports, the paper is in very different shape today.
DAVID FOLKENFLIK: The Philadelphia Inquirer was purchased by local investors this year as part of the dismantling of the Knight Ridder Newspaper Company. Today, new CEO Brian Tierney eased out editor Amanda Bennett. The new editor will be Bill Marimow, whose articles there on police abuses led to federal indictments. The paper Marimow inherits has been shorn of some of its greater ambitions.
Mr. BRIAN TIERNEY (Philadelphia Inquirer): We're not going to be having eight foreign bureaus or eight national bureaus, but when news with national or foreign implications has its origins here, we will cover the hell out of it, and cover it better than anyone in the United States.
FOLKENFLIK: Tierney says the Inquirer only needs to turn about 10 percent in profit each year, far less than papers owned by publicly traded corporations. But Tierney says weak advertising sales could cause deep new rounds of layoffs that he says would be necessary for the paper's health.
Mr. TIERNEY: What's unique about our discussions that we're having with the unions and the guild, particularly, is everything our group saves we want to invest back in the paper.
FOLKENFLIK: Marimow was editor in chief of the Baltimore Sun, but was forced out after objecting to budget cuts there. He became managing editor at NPR and then vice president for news, but stepped down when executives wanted him to focus less on journalism and more on strategic planning. Marimow says the Inquirer staff may well suffer what he calls a painful transition, but promises under the new local ownership it will again become indispensable to its readers. Amanda Bennett tells NPR she's had an exhilarating and exhausting run as editor, overseeing painful cuts, a sale of the paper and some great reporting.
David Folkenflik, NPR News.
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