PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Could there be a conflict of interest in the way Philadelphia’s two major papers cover city government in the future? A city economic development program is lending the Inquirer and Daily News’ parent company nearly $3-million to help move its headquarters to Center City this summer.

Ethical questions may arise if the lender becomes a story for whatever reason, according to Rick Edmonds, an analyst with the Poynter Institute, a non-profit school for journalism located in St. Petersburg.

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He says perception of how much or how little skepticism or toughness is exercised in the newspaper story could come under fire. “Then there is an appearances question. You know, you are going to be writing about and people are going to say, ‘are they pulling their punches or not?’”

Edmonds says he doubts that that there would be any special treatment.

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And he says, although the loan by The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation to Philadelphia Media Network Inc. is unusual, it’s not unprecedented.

Reported by John McDevitt, KYW Newsradio 1060

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