Philadelphia magazine received documents that were allegedly written by Philadelphia Inquirer publisher Bob Hall (left), including a termination notice for editor Bill Marimow and a seven-page email to the Inquirer’s investors.
An email excerpt: “Marimow is not and never will be the change agent that we need at the Inquirer to turn around the circulation decline and grow our company. ….Marimow does not have the support of most of the newsroom, in spite of what [city editor] Nancy Phillips says. The informal nickname (from the rank and file) for several staffers is FOB, Friends of Bill. The Guild constantly gets complaints about favoritisms [sic] … in the newsroom from their members.”
Hall didn’t return the magazine’s phone calls or an email to confirm the document’s authenticity.
Philadelphia Inquirer staffers received the memo below from publisher Bob Hall this morning. (Bill Marimow, at left, returned to the Inquirer as editor in April of 2012.)
From: Hall, Bob
Sent: Monday, October 07, 2013 11:15 AM
To: All IGM Employees; All Philly.com Employees
Please be advised that effective immediately, Bill Marimow is no longer employed by Interstate General Media, Inc. We wish Bill well in his future endeavors. Stan Wischnowski will become acting editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Inquirer staffers, please email me with details.
Update: “Total surprise,” I’m told.
“No details yet,” writes another Inquirer staffer. “He was at the 10:30 morning news meeting, so it had to be sudden as the wording of the email indicates. Word has it all the owners were not consulted and that Marimow has told some folks ‘it’s not over yet.'”
Update 2: “Sources at the Inquirer say Publisher Bob Hall and co-owner George Norcoss fired Bill Marimow without consent of partners Lewis Katz and Gerry Lenfest,” writes an Inquirer journalist. “Marimow is not leaving the building – says he hopes for reversal.”
“Shades of his Baltimore Sun firing” in 2004, a Sun journalist writes about Marimow’s alleged refusal to leave the Inquirer building. “Marimow continued to show up for work [at the Sun] for a full week after his firing and occupied the editor’s office, giving interviews and receiving condolences. That forced new editor Tim Franklin to work out of a windowless cubicle in the business department until he finally asked HR step in.”
* Update 3: I thought it was interesting that Marimow was fired on the day that this story linking Gov. Ed. Rendell and a mob boss ran. (Rendell rounded up the group that currently owns the Inquirer.) I’m now told that Marimow didn’t have anything to do with the story.
* Inquirer newsroom sources say Marimow is going to fight the decision (philly.com)
* Hall says editorial changes are underway to respond to market research (ap.org)
* Bob Hall profile: A newspaper man and his paperless plan (drexel.edu)
* April 2012: Bill Marimow is back at the Philadelphia Inquirer (jimromenesko.com)