Stan Wischnowski, a seasoned journalist who has presided over The Inquirer's front page for a decade, was named the newspaper's editor Tuesday by publisher Gregory J. Osberg as reporters, editors and photographers, gathered for a holiday party, erupted in applause.

Wischnowski, 48, has served as the paper's acting editor since Oct. 8, when The Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com emerged from bankruptcy under the new ownership of the Philadelphia Media Network.

Osberg, a former Newsweek executive, said credited Wischnowski's permanent appointment to his "collaborative style, which was necessary for the organization in going forward."

Wischnowski also "has a keen understanding of the challenges of the business side, and has come up with new ideas that are marketable to our advertisers," Osberg said.

Osberg praised the enthusiasm and commitment of the company's employees "to making PMN the most successful region media company" in the country.

He pointed to "small victories" in the last 10 weeks of new ownership that included "unparalleled sports coverage," the launch of a series of vertical mobile applications and a Thanksgiving edition that generated more advertising than the previous year.

Wischnowski has been at The Inquirer since 2000 and had been the newspaper's deputy managing editor/operations and vice president for shared services before his appointment.

"This is the opportunity of a lifetime," said Wischnowski, adding that he considered The Inquirer "one of the greatest newspapers in the country."

Growing up in the Midwest, the Kankakee, Ill., native and Western Illinois University graduate said working at the The Inquirer was always one of his dreams.

The 25-year newspaper veteran worked at several metropolitan papers as a high-ranking editor, including deputy managing editor/news and acting managing editor at the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle and Sunday copy desk chief at the Detroit News.

Wischnowski praised the commitment of the new ownership to technology and to the growth of the two newspapers and the website.

As he was driving to work Tuesday, Wischnowski observed that the sky "was bluer than I'd ever seen it," and that being out "from under the cloud" of months of bankruptcy and more than $300 million in debt was one of the major reasons.

The new editor offered unqualified praise for his staff of reporters and editors, who, he said, possess "the commitment and passion" to write the next chapter of The Inquirer's history.

In the last 10 weeks, "the level of investigative reporting has been the best that we've done this year," he said, adding that this effort to serve "our loyal readers" has been "the hallmark of The Inquirer throughout its history."

Wischnowski is the fifth editor of The Inquirer in the last 10 years, succeeding two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner William K. Marimow, who has returned to investigative reporting after almost four years in the job.

Robert Rosenthal, Walker Lundy and Amanda Bennett preceded Marimow as editors of The Inquirer.

Contact Inquirer staff writer Alan J. Heavens at 215-854-2472, aheavens@phillynews.com or Twitter: @alheavens.