The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, December 23, 2003  

Philadelphia Inquirer & Philadelphia Daily News

An imaginary but all too real dialogue:

Oh my God! Did you read that? Jane Doe is leaving Channel 18’s 4 o’clock news broadcast. She’s heading to Cincinnati!


And look at this! Joe Schmo from Channel 29 in Providence, R.I., is coming to Philadelphia to do weekend sports reports on Channel 43. But only on Saturdays. And Sunday mornings. And sometimes Tuesday evenings.


Who cares?


I like living in a two-newspaper town, even if those two newspapers share not only the same building, the same printing presses, and the same owner, Knight-Ridder Co.

The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News are clearly separate organisms. And that’s good for both papers. And for readers. (Even I, an intellectual snob, know plenty of people who read the Daily News religiously who would never pick up the Inquirer if Knight-Ridder were to shut the tabloid.)

Nonetheless, there are times when coverage of the same stories by two papers is too much. It’s partly my fault for not picking one paper over the other, but the over-coverage of inside media baseball in Philadelphia by the Inquirer and the PDN makes me want to scream.

Our second-rated weatherman is leaving Philly for Milwaukee! You’re kidding. The guy with the hair? No, no, not him. The 5 o’clock guy. . . . One of Philadelphia’s only 18 minority newscasters is off to Cleveland! But a half-Mexican woman is headed here from Houston. And she’s gorgeous! . . . D’jou hear that blond guy from that radio station way up on the AM dial? The one who dated that lifestyles reporter from Channel 2? He’s moving to New Orleans! No way! Way!

Look, people, the goings here and goings there of local media “news personalities” is of no interest whatsoever to me nor to anyone I know.

To make matters worse, such inane commentary isn’t limited to, say, Gail Shister’s regular Inquirer column. No, you force-feed us these insipid and tedious reports not only through Shister, but also through Michael Klein’s “INQlings” column in the Inquirer and Stu Bykovsky and Howard Gensler’s columns in the PDN.

Enough, already. Your readers know everything they want or need to know about Big Local Media Jane and Joe, if that were anything at all.

[Note: This post originally was published at TRR: The Lighter Side of Rittenhouse.]

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