Wow Is It Put Up or Shut Up Time With Tierney and Inquirer/Daily News' Creditors?

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carla's picture
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Posted on Wed, Aug. 12, 2009
Creditors: We have reorganization plan for DN, Inky - with new bosses
By BOB WARNER
Philadelphia Daily News
215-854-5885

The biggest creditors of the Inquirer and Daily News have developed a reorganization plan that would keep both newspapers alive but replace current management, their attorney said yesterday after a hearing in federal bankruptcy court.

Fred S. Hodara, an attorney representing a "steering group" of hedge funds and other major lenders, sought court permission to unveil their reorganization proposal and begin talking with the newspapers' unions about new collective-bargaining agreements.

The proposal would essentially set up open competition between proposals from the hedge funds and the current newspaper ownership group, led by chief executive Brian P. Tierney. His group, Philadelphia Media Holdings, has been working for months on a restructuring to bring the newspapers out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Tierney said last night that from what he knew of the lenders' reorganization proposal..."Their plan is great for the Wall Street hedge funds that Mr. Hodara represents, but horrible for the Daily News, our advertisers and readers," Tierney said.....Last week, Tierney asked the unions to agree to a 30-day extension of their contracts and all but the Newspaper Guild...have agreed...Raslavich scheduled an Aug. 28 hearing on the lenders' request to put forward their own reorganization plan.

The judge chided both the lenders and the current ownership for "overplaying their hands" with "utterly untenable offers," clearly unacceptable to the other side.

"Sounds to me like high-stakes poker," Raslavich said.

Umm, I think my money is on the creditors at this point, don't you? So yes, "As the Philadelphia Newspapers Turn" is twisting and the plot continues to thicken. (And I thought it was twisty when Philadelphia Magazine released that bomb laden article a few months back.)

Start with what Philebrity is talking about, and then work your way into the news that basically, the creditors of the Inquirer and Daily News want Tierney gone. I have to wonder does the future of Philadelphia Journalism depend upon it? Will we be the first big city to have no regional newspaper voice? In the end will ego save or kill our papers? And what of the Philadelphia area economy? Even though Tierney has slashed the papers to bits with layoffs (and are more coming?), it still employs a whole lot of people in an area not so swinging financially and economically right now (if you want to own up to the truth, you know I am not wrong).

If the papers go under, how does it affect our local economy? And should we believe Tierney's claims that if he goes, the Daily News will go first? Let's get real, how do we know that won't happen if he stays?

I used to think pretty highly of Brian Tierney. Not by knowing him personally, but by what he had accomplished. The first time that opinion changed was during the RNC 2000. It was real hard to get good volunteer gigs and I went around a few corners and ended up as a media relations volunteer back in the day. Much to the chagrin of his Eagles Cheerleading looking employees from his PR Firm. I of course, being me, decided to ignore them because I was there to learn and experience the whole thing, not play Sorority Row Renegade.

Of course his ace employees were not up enough on the whole scene as they ignored a guy who said he was a U.S. Congressman and he forgot his wallet and was a platform speaker and had to get to the Convention Center. I decided to believe the guy (how many phony U.S. Congressman run arounf with those special lapel pins I don't know, but I digress). Other volunteers also didn't want to believe the guy. But I lent the guy cab fare and a little extra and put him in a cab and directed the cab driver. Ends up the frazzled walletless guy was former US Congressman Chip Pickering. A couple of Tierney grown volunteers said I would never see my money back. I did. A day later via FedEx along with tickets to some fab "A" list parties. LOL, because of this I even met Arnold Schwarzenegger.(He's short, but has fabulous skin)

Needless to say, my politics have changed somewhat. I like to think they have evolved for the better and I have learned the value of making my own decisions when I vote, not just voting a specific way because I was told to or it is "expected". But that experience as a media relations volunteer gave me interesting insight into the world of journalists. And the value of newspapers. And that experience also showed me how arrogant some people were who worked for Tierney and I have always wondered if that was a reflection of him personally or the way he conducted his business? Am still not sure, but that is when I started to think he wasn't so fabulous. I really tried to give him a break when he bought the papers, but all along in the back of my head has been the nagging thought of "too good to be true/to last" .

I don't just fire up the internet for my news. I really do read the papers. I read a lot of them. And to me Philadelphia without the Inquirer and Daily News would be like socks without sneakers.

But I don't think those creditors are messing around. And if Tierney really cares about the future of Philadelphia journalism, maybe he should step aside and move onto other things.

Related media coverage found here

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Woozaleedoodle's picture
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Last seen: 2 years 45 weeks ago
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WOW! Very good post, Carla!!

I don't just fire up the internet for my news. I really do read the papers. I read a lot of them. And to me Philadelphia without the Inquirer and Daily News would be like socks without sneakers.

But I don't think those creditors are messing around. And if Tierney really cares about the future of Philadelphia journalism, maybe he should step aside and move onto other things.

I couldn't agree more!

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bobguzzardi's picture
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Great post,Carla.I agree that creditors have the upper hand. However, the issue is whether the Inquirer and Daily News are profitable on operations, or, at least, cash flow positive. We shall see.

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