HOWLS! Newspaper Bailouts and Heroin for Children

bayer_heroin_bottleThe Inquirer tries to cover its bum, unsuccessfully says Brian.

A child brings heroin to school thinking it’s candy and shares the drugs with friends.

HOWL x 2 = What is the Inquirer Thinking???

Can the Inquirer make it any easier? I will be shocked if at least two other students don’t bring these two articles into class as their HOWLs (there are only 5 students in the class).
Both articles ran in the Inquirer‘s business section on Jan. 31.

The first one—Rendell says he tried to aid the Inquirer and the Daily News—is a Halloween costume of a news article at best, also known as cover-your-ass journalism. The article focuses on a recent meeting between CEO of Philadelphia Media Holdings/Headmaster of the Philly Inquirer, Brian Tierney, and representatives from the state pension funds.

The little meeting, set up by Gov. Rendell at Tierney’s request, was the CEO’s effort to find out if a state-sponsored financial bailout might be on the horizon.

I know what you’re thinking—or what you should be thinking—government aid for the watchdog? Sounds ludicrous, right? Well, nothing actually came from the meeting, but somehow this article managed to make the front page of Inquirer business section. What other reason would the Inquirer have for publishing an article discussing a meeting where nothing transpired other than to make themselves appear transparent-the watchdog’s watchdog? I’m not buying it.

The article uses a Poynter scholar as a source who conveniently raises the ethical questions that obviously arise from such a meeting. After this little ethics plug, the piece works tirelessly to dispel the notion that government funding would have any impact on the editorial focus of the two newspapers. Who were the sources used to alleviate any fears the reader may have regarding state aid? Mr. Tierney and Gov. Rendell, of course!

Thanks, but no thanks Inquirer. HOWL!

But wait! There’s more …

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse I stumbled upon this news arti- … I mean PR piece on page three of the same business section: Newspaper execs make their case.
Here is the lead—

“The pundits and cynics who believe that newspapers are dead are dead wrong.”

Who did the Inquirer staff writer use to back up this bold statement? Who else but Mr. Brian Tierney, CEO of Philadelphia Media Holdings. And just in case you’re snoozing through this … PMH OWNS THE PHILLY INQUIRER AND THE DAILY NEWS!

It’s nice to see a staff writer who takes time to walk across the office hallway for a source. Did I mention Tierney was the ONLY source interviewed for the piece? Unbelievable, but true.

-Brian Donathan

Obviously there’s something going on with and its lack of information on certain stories. 2nd grader hands out heroin, was published February 4th, and although an interesting topic, fails to dig beyond the surface. gives us the basic description of what happened that morning at the elementary school. The only quote included in the entire story was one from a parent. Even that was a worthless quote, because the writer had already summed up what the mother, Griffin, says in the previous sentence. When comparing’s report on this story to other online outlets, it seems NBC got lazy. The kicker was also pointless, because it concluded the substance was heroin. I’m sure the reader would have clicked on the page knowing that the final product found was heroin, so why end with that? Come on NBC … work for that money!

-Litty Samuel


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