By Mike Dunn and Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The new headquarters of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News — at the old Strawbridge’s building on Market Street — will include a grand, lighted marquee at its entrance.
But only the Inquirer’s name will be featured on the marquee — not that of the long-struggling Daily News.
The Philadelphia Historical Commission today approved the newspapers’ plans for a lighted marquee that will extend four feet over the sidewalk.
In an interview with KYW Newsradio after the vote, the papers’ attorney, Michael Sklaroff, described the awning:
“It’s the Philadelphia Inquirer. It’s our newspaper of record. It’s going to be beautiful. The marquee will come out over the main entrance to the building, and it will mark the Inquirer’s main entrance to the headquarters — the traditional iconic Philadelphia Inquirer lettering.”
We asked if the Daily News name would be included, as it is at the current headquarters, a landmark building on North Broad Street (photo below).
Sklaroff cut off the interview, huddled privately with his clients, which included Jerry Steinbrink, chief brand officer for the company that owns the newspapers. Then Sklaroff returned to say he’d have no further comment.
(Dunn:) “But I’m just asking a yes or no question. Will it also say ‘Daily News?’ If the answer is ‘I don’t know yet…’ “
(Sklaroff:) “No, the application is as stated.”
(Dunn:) “Which is simply what?”
(Sklaroff:) “The application states for the Philadelphia Inquirer.”
The publisher of both newspapers, Greg Osberg, later told KYW Newsradio that other portions of the headquarters are to include the Daily News logo. He says the Historical Commission had insisted that only one brand name appear on the marquee and had rejected the company’s proposal to use the sides of the canopy for multiple brands.
Staffers at the Historical Commission, however, deny Osberg’s claim. They say the brand name “The Philadelphia Inquirer” was the company’s first and only proposal for the marquee, and that neither the firm nor the site’s developer ever requested — or even discussed — using other branding with commission members. They say no restriction on the language used in the marquee was ever placed on the applicant by the commission.
Meanwhile, Osberg says the company is negotiating with PREIT, the building’s landlord, to erect “digital signage, a digital ticker,” and other forms of advertising and branding at the corner of 9th and Market Streets, on the more contemporary portions of the building that will not require Historical Commission approval.
He also envisions including the Daily News in window treatments.
The Inquirer and Daily News have had separate newsrooms for decades, but when the media company moves to Market Street there will be only one newsroom (see previous story), and the papers are already sharing some news coverage.
Circulation and advertising at both papers are down. The staff size has been cut, and there have been layoffs and buyouts in the runup to the latest sale.
Earlier this month, the company sold for about one-tenth of what it went for in 2006 (see related story). It’s had at least four owners in the last six years.