Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Metro Philly hits stride as niche daily

Metro Philadelphia, which is celebrating its eighth birthday this month, began as a paper designed to reach the working classes who used commuter trains. But Philadelphia Weekly reports that over the past two years the 139,000-circulation Metro has "quietly reinvented itself as a daily niche publication attempting to reach young Philadelphians through stories about indie bands, the future of the city, pseudo-mayoral candidates with mohawks and the anticasino movement."

Metro Philly has reduced the wire stories it carries. Instead Editor Ron Varrial directed his newsroom of 11 people to focus on issues and trends. "He told his staff to quit writing about who's going to win American Idol and instead write about the acts that were going to appear at Johnny Brenda's," the Philadelphia Weekly article says. "The newsroom has the energized atmosphere of a college newspaper."

Metro Philly isn't making money and sales were reported to be flat last year. As reported below, Metro has put its three U.S. papers up for sale and "now the newsroom that finally gelled over the last two years is sweating," Philadelphia Weekly reports.