Media startup PhillyVoice.com is staffed by these ex-Philly.com staffers - Technical.ly Philly

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Nov. 6, 2014 12:51 pm

Media startup PhillyVoice.com is staffed by these ex-Philly.com staffers

George Norcross, a former owner of Interstate General Media, appears to be behind the newly-announced site.

The former Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News building.

(Photo by Flickr user gary grissom, used under a Creative Commons license)

Early last summer, Philly.com’s three executive producers quit.

The trio chalked it up to differences with new management and “infighting” at the company, as BigTrial reported in June. That was less than a month after a management shakeup that resulted in three of the company’s owners, including George Norcross, selling their shares to Gerry Lenfest and the late Lewis Katz. While they all owned Philly.com, the Inquirer and the Daily News, Norcross had very public differences with the Lenfest/Katz crew.

Now, those three producers — Leah Kauffman, Matt Romanoski and Bob McGovern — are running a new media startup called PhillyVoice, which bills itself as a “well-funded media startup serving the Philadelphia and South Jersey region.”

“We are focused on producing top-quality staff content, great freelance content and aggregated content,” it says in each job posting on the site. “We are assembling an extremely experienced, fresh thinking, creative and collaborative team of digital journalists and business professionals.”

The domain PhillyVoice.com is registered to South Jersey businessman and political boss George Norcross’ insurance company, Conner Strong. (Update, 11/7/14: PhillyVoice has since changed its domain registration information. The “Registrant Organization” is now listed as WWB Holdings, LLC.)

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Other Philly.com and Inquirer staffers who jumped ship this summer are also working on PhillyVoice, according to LinkedIn. They include Jeff Douglass, Philly.com’s former senior product manager and Harold Donnelly, the Inquirer’s former director of circulation strategy.

The media company is hiring for over a dozen roles.

PhillyVoice is run by a corporation called “WWB Holdings,” according to its website. The state business filing is sparse, only revealing that the corporation was registered last July, shortly after the three Philly.com producers quit, and listing “M. Burr Keim Company” as the registered office address. (M. Burr Keim is a business filing company.)

We have emails out to the PhillyVoice staffers for more details.

The news site enters a Philly media market that has recently seen an uptick in activity. Billy Penn, an effort from former Digital First Media editor-in-chief Jim Brady, launched last month. Meanwhile, GunCrisis.org announced this week it was stopping its daily reporting on gun violence because of funding problems.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes became Technical.ly's associate editor after reporting on the Philadelphia tech scene for four years. She's co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association Philadelphia chapter and a two-time Philadelphia News Award winner for "Community Reporting of the Year." The Bryn Mawr College grad lives in West Philly, likes her food spicy and wears jumpsuits often.

  • http://www.purplecar.net/ PurpleCar

    Ms. Reyes & Technical.ly Philly: This article and all the added value via links is great reporting. As a 20+year veteran of the digital space and as a Web and Internet specialist, I don’t fully understand the controversy in our local newsrooms, like the recent developments at philly.com, the Inky & DN, @thephillyvoice and Billy Penn. This kind of reporting, with its update of new information mixed with the background information via links, is exactly what I need in order to catch up. Thank you.

    Can I ask for a little op-ed to help make sense of it all? Is this all just a battle between the old vs. the new? Are the Inky & DN failing because of Old White Guy Syndrome? Is the basic lack of understanding of how web advertising works at the crux of this? How much “bad blood” is at work here, between Norcross, Tierney, Lenfest and the journalism community? I realize I’m asking for what can be constituted as gossip, but I feel like everyone’s walking on eggshells and being rather obtuse about the whole Philly news arena. Politics abound, I get it, but is there no-one to add a voice of reason to this melee? Other cities seem to have commenters who critique their news communities in constructive ways… Perhaps I’m just missing it. If so, please direct me. I feel a distinct need to grasp what is going on here in Philly, as it is simply a microcosm of what is happening with every industry, every individual, and every brand online. Thanks.

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