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.”
We’re here and we’re hiring more than 20 journalism and digital professionals to join our team! http://t.co/jWfBf6GNum
— PhillyVoice (@thephillyvoice) November 6, 2014
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.)
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.-30-