On Feb. 17th, more than 300 newsroom employees of the Philadelphia Media Network (PMN) signed a statement demanding that the journalistic integrity of their work be upheld as the network negotiates its sale with private investor groups, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer. The statement also expressed “dismay” that journalists’ coverage of the sale has been compromised and censored by corporate management, said Poynter and Politico.
One of the most controversial groups bidding for control of the network, which includes The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and philly.com, is led by former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell. Rendell’s group, made up primarily of politicians, has sparked concerns that content could be influenced and edited by the group. The New York Times writes, “A completed deal with Mr. Rendell’s group would give Democrats control of the most influential newspaper in one of the most important states on the electoral map just before the 2012 elections.”
According to Philly.com, employees at all three PMN publications claim that chief executive and publisher, Gregory J. Osberg, has been managing coverage of the sale to favor Rendell’s group. Three senior editors of PMN publications claim that Osberg threatened to fire them if they published anything about the sale without his approval, reported The New York Times. Osberg released his own statement denying that any censorship occurred, said the Associated Press.