Nearly 300 newsroom employees of Philadelphia's two major newspapers are calling on the current and any future owners to protect the integrity of their reporting.
About 80 percent of the unionized and managerial-level newsroom employees of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com signed the public statement released Friday.
The statement summaries concerns regarding a possible change in ownership of parent company Philadelphia Media Network and expresses employees' ``dismay'' over how they said coverage of the sale process was ``compromised and censored'' by management.
Philadelphia Media Network chief executive officer and publisher Greg Osberg responded with his own statement, expressing support for the journalists' “clear message” but disagreeing that censorship had occurred.
The statements referred to several incidents involving articles about the potential sale of the media properties.
Here is the full statement:
As the only business mentioned in the Bill of Rights, newspapers serve more than private ends. The news we publish is crucial to civic life, to holding the powerful accountable, to democracy itself.
That information must be gathered and printed without fear or favor. As The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and philly.com have gone up for sale once again, we watched with dismay as our own coverage of the process was compromised and censored. Our employers promise this won’t happen again. That must be the case.
Top political and business leaders are now competing to buy Philadelphia Media Network. Regardless of who emerges as our new owners, they must guarantee that the integrity of our reporting will never be sacrificed to serve their private or political interests. One thing must be non-negotiable in any sale: our bond of trust with our readers.