Philadelphia Inquirer readers were greeted this morning with the crossing of the first journalistic Rubicon, as publisher Joe Natoli was reported leaving the paper to take a position as “senior vice president of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., starting next month,” the paper reported. I don’t know Natoli’s decision process, but on the several occasions I met and chatted with him, he seemed like a sharp guy. But please, how many newspaper publishers in major metropolitan markets REALLY aspire to running the finances of a university?
The story, by respected business writer Joe DiStefano, who has done a highly responsible job with the unpleasant task of reporting about his new boss, goes on to say that “Brian Tierney, chief executive officer of the investors’ group that bought The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com in June, now will also take on the role of the newspapers’ publisher, but not the title.”
All I can say is, I told you so.
So much for the promises, written and oral, that he would keep his hands off the editorial side of the newspaper. Now he has them around the news side’s throat. All that’s left is the squeeze.
Interestingly, while the story ran in the lead column position on the front of the business section, it is not billboarded on the newspaper’s website as one of its lead business stories. Guess we don’t want to draw too much attention to the new owner’s first move to take closer control of the editorial side of the newspaper.