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Katz’s Death Strikes A Hard Blow For Staff Of Philadelphia’s Daily Papers

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Lewis Katz’s death has hit Philadelphia’s daily newspapers especially hard. His victory in Tuesday’s auction for ownership was seen as a boost for high journalistic standards. His loss is felt both personally and professionally.

The Inquirer newsroom was quiet even though the senior editors, normally off on Sunday, were at their desks overseeing coverage.

“We want to make sure to get this right,” executive editor Bill Marimow said.

Marimow acknowledges he owes his job to Lewis Katz and Jerry Lenfest, who went to court to get him reinstated when the publisher, at the behest of the rival owners’ faction, tried to fire him.

“I’ll always be appreciative of that,” he said. “When the chips were down and I was fired in October, Lewis Katz and Jerry Lenfest stood up to vindicate the principle that the owner, not the publisher, had the right to hire and fire the editor.”

The incident led to months of turmoil that ended on Tuesday, when Katz and Lenfest got the paper, so Katz’s death seems particularly unsettling.

But Lenfest has announced the deal will proceed, with a 30 day delay, and Katz’s son Drew will join the Board.

Daily News editor Michael Days says the task now is to move forward.

“You do what you have to do, you keep readers in the front of your mind and you move from there,” Days said.

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