Newspaper sale puts reporters on pins and needles

    Journalists at the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News are used to asking questions, but today their most pressing questions are about their own futures.

    Journalists at the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News are used to asking questions, but today their most pressing questions are about their own futures. They fear the answers now that their media company’s creditors have wrestled away control of the papers from the current management.

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    Sitting at a table next to two colleagues who just won a Pulitzer Prize, and another reporter who admits it doesn’t take much to get her emotional, crime reporter David Gambacorta does his best to keep the group laughing.

    Here’s how he describes the Daily News‘ newsroom:

    “Take a circus and get all the people in the circus and put them in a bottle and shake it up and down and back and forth a bunch of times,” he says over laughter. “It’s wonderfully entertaining. It’s very much like a big demented family you know we all love each other, we laugh a lot and we have fun.”

    Turning serious, Gambacorta says he loves what he does.

    “We’ve been told for somewhere, I guess, for somewhere between seven or eight decades that we’re going to close,” he says. “So we’re used to fighting and used to the idea that we’re going to have to tough it out to do what we do, which is make a difference.”

    General assignment and crime reporter Stephanie Farr says her colleagues are very open about what they’re thinking.

    “It’s not the fear,” says Farr. “It’s just all we really express to each other is how much we love being here.”

    “There’s no other job like it. Every once in a while – it’s not every day – I feel like I get to make a difference in the world. And there are very few jobs that I feel that are as fulfilling as that.”

    One floor above, sitting at her cubicle in the Inquirer newsroom, business reporter Maria Panaritis says her beat has given her some perspective on what she’s experiencing.

    “I think anybody in this economy who is in an industry that’s threatened would tell you that this is a very emotional experience,” says Panaritis. “As a business reporter for the last two years, I’ve been covering people in industries that have gone through enormous turmoil.”

    Investigative reporter Joe Tanfani says there’s a feeling of disappointment.

    “I think a lot of people were hoping that the current owners would be able to prevail,” he says. “But I think now that that didn’t happen, I think we’re all waiting to see what happens with the new owners, what they’re going to ask us for in the way of give-backs and cuts.”

    And if he wasn’t at his current job, what would Tanfani be doing?

    “Great question,” he says. “Got any good ideas?”

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