Amid major newsroom layoffs, Philadelphia Media Network is hiring for its tech team - Technical.ly Philly

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Nov. 19, 2015 7:37 am

Amid major newsroom layoffs, Philadelphia Media Network is hiring for its tech team

The owners of the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com are looking for a software engineer.
The old Inky building on North Broad Street.

The old Inky building on North Broad Street.

(Photo by Flickr user Lori Semprevio, used under a Creative Commons license)

The Philadelphia Media Network (PMN), the parent company of the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com, announced major layoffs earlier this month — 46 newsroom staffers, plus more in management and outside the newsroom, Philly.com reported. But there is at least one team the company is growing: its technology department.

PMN is hiring a software engineer for a new development team, according to a recent job posting. “We will be maintaining and enhancing a Rails CMS built to manage our new mobile app,” the posting reads.

The job posting was approved in February, said PMN spokeswoman Amy Buckman.

“During the transformation that PMN is going through, there will from time to time, be critical positions in all areas of the organization that will need to be filled,” she wrote in an email. “These decisions are made very strategically, on a case-by-case basis, and any positions that are approved to be filled are approved in the overall context of our business needs moving forward.”

Buckman declined to provide more details about the new development team that PMN is building, including who is running the team and how big it is.

“HR would handle questions from qualified applicants who want more information, as appropriate,” she wrote.

(During a time when everyone is scrambling for tech talent, erring on the side of less information doesn’t seem to be the best way to attract a candidate.)

Over the last year or so, PMN has made some big tech hires, including ex-Seattle Times product director Eric Ulken as its executive director of digital strategy and former Next City executive director Diana Lind as its director of digital audience development. The company also recently hired software engineer Davis Shaver as its digital products/solutions lead. Back when he got hired, Shaver told us that his team was hiring engineers and data scientists, so this job description might be for that team.

PMN is also in the midst of a site overhaul, led by local firms Happy Cog and SuperFriendly. The beta version of the new story page looks pretty nice.

Is it surprising that PMN is building out a tech team focused on audience development and digital strategy while cutting the newsroom? No, not really. You might say it’s a sign of the times, as the papers try to focus on monetizing while becoming leaner. (Might be a good time to remind you that First Round Capital’s Josh Kopelman is on the PMN board.) Maybe the more surprising thing is that it’s only happening now.

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