Like news of a weekend murder in Southwest Philadelphia, the plundering of the newsrooms at 400 N. Broad has become de rigueur—sad to hear every time, but resignation that this is just the way it is now.
Still, last I checked, even with all the slicing and dicing and the steady stream of layoffs and buyouts, no other media outlet in the city can tout anywhere near the journalism heft and talent that makes up the remaining assemblage that still plies its trade at the Inquirer, Daily News, philly.com and that new sports sheet thingamajig.
Yet cut too deep (and bone has already been spotted) and the bleed out could prove fatal.
To make it to the point where some new delivery might actually turn a buck, the talent that’s left must be protected.
Below, a (highly subjective) list of 10 journalists I hope remain at 400 N. Broad till that magical day (feel free to add to the list in the comments section):
1. Nancy Phillips
Investigative reporter for the Inquirer.
Her stories leave no wiggle room for bad guys. What have we heard in Bill Conlin’s defense since her fastidiously reported pieces? Exactly. Get in trouble, and the last thing you ever want to hear is this: “Nancy Phillips on line one.”
2. Will Bunch
Daily News reporter and blogger.
Supernaturally prolific. If nobody showed up in the newsroom one day he could fill the paper all by himself and still have time for a hoagie and a brew. His considerable anti-fan base (which largely leans to the right of Attila the Hun) views him as the paper’s equivalent of George Soros. Sans the greenbacks, sadly.
3. Inga Saffron
Architecture critic for the Inquirer.
No new building in the city matters until Saffron says it does. (Ask the people at the Kimmel.) She also keeps us posted on the city’s puzzling and whacked out world of urban planning, zoning and development. Now that’s public service.
4. Mark Kram Jr.
Daily News sportswriter.
No other sportswriter in the city can write about sports with as much elegance, at such length, as often. Kram reminds us of a time when the journalistic “takeout” was actually valued.
5. Craig McCoy
Inquirer editor, reporter and winner of an I.F. Stone Medal for exposing injustice.
A seasoned veteran who still pursues stories young-buck style, his institutional memory—“Frank Rizzo was once the mayor here, kids”—is beyond invaluable.
7. Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman.
Pulitzer! Daily News!
8. Kristen A. Graham
Inquirer, education beat.
A Philly girl who knows the streets and our schools. Played a major role in the paper’s highly praised “Assault on Learning” series. Graham’s arguably covering the most screwed-up beat in the city, but somehow manages to stay pretty darn sunny.
9. Annette John-Hall
Finds good where others find nothing but bad. When you land on her column, you invariably feel in wise and loving hands, no easy trick in this banged-up city.
10. Morgan Zalot
Daily News, crime beat.
A kid who lives for journalism. Send her out on a story, and she’ll come back with two stuffed notebooks. That’s right, an old school-style journalist still in her twenties. Pure gold, I tell you.