January 12: Lenfest donates Inquirer, Daily News to new non-profit | Kenney lauds open data | Plastic soul

Some major media news this morning as Jeff Gammage reports H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, sole owner of Philadelphia Media Network, which includes the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com, has donated those news organizations to a new non-profit, the Institute for Journalism in New Media, created by the Philadelphia Foundation with a $20 million endowment from Lenfest. The move doesn’t resolve those companies’ budget woes, and seems to raise more questions than it answers, but it does appear to create a framework for putting them on more solid financial footing by opening the door to new revenues from foundations, corporations, and other donors. We were especially intrigued by this nugget, particularly as it relates to the prospects for enticing local foundations to fund more beat coverage of niche subjects such as ours: “For instance, a donor could give money to the institute to endow an investigative-reporting team or support coverage of the city schools, the same way givers now endow professors’ chairs at universities and musicians’ seats in orchestras.”

Anyone wondering whether Jim Kenney intends to continue advancing the Nutter administration’s open data initiatives probably breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as the new administration released an explainer video on open data in a press release recommitting to that policy without qualification. “I am excited to continue these efforts under my administration and to help raise awareness about the program’s benefits,” Kenney said in the release. “More Philadelphians need to appreciate the impact this data has – not just the technologically inclined – so that they can utilize it to improve their daily lives and their interactions with the City.”

The Boot and Saddle neon sign on South Broad Street is fully restored and brighter than ever as of this past weekend, says Taylor Farnsworth. 

Temple will provide housing for more than 200 student interns working at the DNC this summer, reports Jonathan Gilbert. 

The Inquirer wasn’t allowed to cover depositions in the 22nd and Market building collapse trial, despite open court proceedings, Joseph Slobodzian reports. 

Josh McCarty takes a crack at bringing Mothers Against Drunk Driving into the coalition for walkable zoning, with an argument that the drunk driving problem has more to do with the driving than the drinking. McCarty says statutory parking requirements for bars encourage irresponsible transportation choices, and suggests MADD consider the inverse of drinking establishments’ Walkscores as a metric of drunk driving potential.

To put our local development boom in context, the New York YIMBY blog has the specs on nine 900’+ supertall skyscrapers that will begin construction in 2016. 

And because there was no way David Bowie’s passing could go unremarked upon even at PlanPhilly, here’s Philly.com’s excellent round-up of David Bowie’s interactions with our city, including numerous live appearances, two album recordings, and of course his emergence from a giant spider at the Vet in 1987.

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