Co-owner Gerry Lenfest has spoken out against plans to cut the Inquirer's two-page opinion section in half, according to an email addressed to fellow owners, publisher Bob Hall and editor Bill Marimow, and obtained by City Paper.
According to a knowledgeable source, prominent Philadelphians have been contacting Interstate General Media — which owns the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com — opposing the move. Lenfest's e-mail was sent Thursday and states that "based on all the appeals received and my strong belief, do not reduce the number of Op-Ed pages in the Inquirer." Editorial-page editor Harold Jackson circulated an email on Monday urging contributors to complain about the change, WHYY reported this week.
On Sept. 9, the Inquirer's opinion section will be cut from two pages to one, according to multiple newsroom sources. That means that editorials will likewise be cut in half, and there will be less space for op-eds and letters to the editor. One of two editorial writers, Melanie Burney, will be moved to an Inquirer bureau in New Jersey.
Most reporters blame co-owner George Norcross, a powerful South Jersey Democratic Party political boss.
"I have heard from a number of credible places that there was a desire to eliminate the entire opinion section — all of the opinion pages —going back quite a while," says one newsroom source. "That at least one person in the ownership wanted that."