For the first time, one editor will oversee The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com.
Stan Wischnowski will take over as the company's executive editor, Terry Egger, publisher and CEO of Philadelphia Media Network, parent company of the three properties, announced Thursday.
William K. Marimow, editor of The Inquirer; Michael Days, editor of the Daily News; and Eric Ulken, who oversees PMN's digital news operations, already were reporting to Wischnowski in his role as vice president of news operations.
Wischnowski, 53, now will move back into the newsroom, where he will be responsible for leading the combined staffs.
"We at PMN have executed an extraordinary amount of change in the last few months," Egger said in an announcement emailed Thursday to the company's employees. "Stan's new role will bring important clarity to our mission to serve our audience in new ways."
"Like every newsroom in America, we're undergoing significant - yet necessary - structural changes to meet the changing demands of our readership and the economic realities of our industry," Wischnowski said. "My first commitment to the newsroom and, more importantly, the readership, is to ensure that we continue to uphold our commitment to public-service journalism through the values that define us: fairness, accuracy, and thoroughness."
Philadelphia Media Network is composed of The Inquirer, the Daily News, and the Philly.com website.
For years, the company has been buffeted by competition from Web-based publishers, which have been attracting readers and advertising revenue. To cope with those intensifying pressures, the company has expanded its website and regularly downsized its newsroom staff, among other measures, most recently with the layoffs in November of 46 employees at the three properties, along with the loss of five managers.
The company has said it wants to make more efficient use of the staffs of its three news organizations and foster a more nimble approach to its online news operations. Increasing Web readership, along with advertising, is seen by the company as a key component to survivability.
Both newspapers will continue to be published. A direct result of the merged newsrooms is that print readers of The Inquirer see more bylines from the Daily News, and vice versa. All full-time reporters are identified as staff writers, dropping their former affiliations. And all their work will appear online at Philly.com.
Wischnowski has on several occasions traded the top news position at The Inquirer with Marimow, and led the newsroom through tumultuous times of changing ownership.
"I think this is excellent for the newsroom," Marimow said of Wischnowski's appointment. "Stan is a terrific colleague and journalist. We share the same values and have a lot of mutual respect."
Marimow, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The Inquirer, first took over as editor of the paper in 2006. But he was fired as editor in 2010 and replaced by Wischnowski after hedge funds took control of the company from local investors.
Marimow was rehired as the newspaper's editor in 2012 after a new group of local owners took control, and Wischnowski became the number-two executive in The Inquirer's newsroom.
In 2013, Marimow was again briefly fired, a consequence of an internal dispute between competing owners, but was reinstated a short time later and has remained the editor.
Wischnowski arrived at The Inquirer in 2000 after working at newspapers in New York, Michigan, and Illinois.
He was editor in 2012 when the paper was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism for a series on a climate of pervasive violence in Philadelphia public schools.