An insider's view of City Paper

The Daily Pennsylvanian
April 18, 2008

Too many papers, too few consumers.

That seminal problem was discussed last night at Kelly Writers House by Philadelphia City Paper editor-in-chief Brian Howard, news editor Doron Taussig, senior editor Patrick Rapa and agenda editor and College alumna Monica Weymouth.

The talk focused mostly on the problems facing this weekly publication, including the growing competition from Internet journalism and from Philadelphia Weekly, the city's newer weekly publication.

Along the way, they also gave a bit of career advice for aspiring journalists at Penn.

"There's an instinct to go to editors and say, 'Make me a writer,'" Taussig said. "But it's much better when you bring something to them."

Weymouth said she "sort of fell into" her job at the Paper through an internship she received right after graduation.

The City Paper takes quite a few of its interns from Penn, according to Howard.

Jessica Lowenthal, director of the KWH, and a friend of Howard's, invited the group to speak at KWH in the wake of a major staff change at the Paper, resulting from the recent departure of the former editor in chief Dwayne Swazinski.

The audience members came from a variety of backgrounds, according to Lowenthal.

Notably, many of the attendees were not KWH "regulars" and came specifically for this panel, she said. Even a few Philadelphia Weekly staff members were present.

College junior and former DP Spin blogger Josh Stanfield said the editors seemed younger than he had imagined.

"It makes working for them seem more appealing," he said.

However, Stanfield was disappointed by the fact that the editors did not read a sample of the paper's material.

"You didn't get a feel for the type of stuff that they write," he said.

Jeremy Quattlebaum, an employee of the Annenberg School of Public Policy and regular reader of the publication said he found the discussion of City Paper's place relative to other publications the most stimulating aspect of the discussion.

"The more voices out there, the better," he said.