Larry Platt was named editor of the Philadelphia Daily News on Jan. 12. Today, he sent a memo to staff that’s a lot bigger than the usual “Hi, looking forward to meeting you all” stuff that’s often sent around when there’s a regime change.
First, let me take this opportunity to thank Michael Days for his graciousness during this transition, and for his many years of leadership at the Daily News. I also want to thank all of those who sent me ideas, comments and concerns these past couple of weeks, as a precursor to our one-on-one meetings, which we’ll start this week. (If you haven’t introduced yourself in an email and told me what you think should change around here and what by no means should change, please do.) I have to say, I was blown away by your passion for this place, and impressed by how many great ideas came flying at me.
And then Platt launches into a list of things that are about to change at the paper. To wit: “I hereby free you from the tyranny of the Inverted Pyramid.” And “you should also not be afraid to have a point of view about what you report.” And “I want any Inquirer reader who picks up the Daily News to viscerally feel that he or she has had a totally different experience.” And “I’m not a big rules guy, but there’s one phrase we need to ban: ‘But we’ve never done that before.'”
The memo also announces that Buzz Bissinger will serve as consultant and “occasional columnist” in the paper, while former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell will contribute a sports column. (Reading Platt’s memo on why, exactly, the ex-governor of Pennsylvania is qualified to write a sports column is, in fact, hilarious and includes the phrase “hoagie innards.”)
The memo then ends:
It’s now time for a new generation of storytellers to leave its mark on this town. So I want this missive to spur internal conversation; our hallways should teem with talk of who we are and who we want to be, and my door will always be open for anything, including kicking this kind of stuff around. So stop by. Tell me what you think. Hit me with ideas. Think big. And let’s go out and change this fascinating, quirky, and maddening city.
So what’s your take? Reforming a paper is never easy and we suspect that Platt will be trashed by some for his somewhat starry-eyed prose, but is this a paper you’d want to work for?