Days named Inquirer managing editor; Platt replaces him at Daily News

Michael Days (right) is congratulated by Inquirer editor Stan Wischnowski after the announcement in the Inquirer newsroom. "We realized we shared a passion for journalistic excellence," said Days, a city native.
Michael Days (right) is congratulated by Inquirer editor Stan Wischnowski after the announcement in the Inquirer newsroom. "We realized we shared a passion for journalistic excellence," said Days, a city native.
Posted: January 13, 2011

Michael Days, since 2005 the editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, was named managing editor of The Inquirer on Thursday.

Former Philadelphia Magazine editor Larry Platt will take over Days' post at the Daily News, also effective Jan. 31. The announcements were made by Gregory J. Osberg, chief executive and publisher of Philadelphia Media Network Inc., and Inquirer editor Stan Wischnowski. Philadelphia Media Network publishes the two dailies and runs the website Philly.com.

Days, 57, joined the Daily News 25 years ago as a reporter. He was a deputy managing editor and managing editor before becoming editor. Under his leadership, the Daily News won numerous national, state, and local awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 2010.

Days, who serves on the national board of the Associated Press Managing Editors and is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, replaces Mike Leary, managing editor since 2007, who was named to a new position as investigations editor, managing the newspaper's investigative reporting team.

"Stan and I forged a friendship over the past two years as we have worked on many projects that benefited both The Inquirer and the Daily News," said Days. "Along the way, we realized we shared a passion for journalistic excellence and the urgency of keeping our craft relevant in the digital age."

Days is a native Philadelphian and a graduate of Roman Catholic High School. He has a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the College of the Holy Cross and a master's in journalism from the University of Missouri.

Wischnowski, joined by Osberg, announced the changes to the Inquirer staff Wednesday afternoon. Osberg had announced the Daily News' leadership change to its staff.

"Our mission is to become the most successful regional media company in the United States," Osberg said. "Today's editorial announcements put us in a more formidable position to achieve this goal."

Platt, 47, stepped down abruptly in June after eight years at the helm of Philadelphia Magazine, two months before his contract expired. Both sides at the time declined to specify what had led to his ouster.

Platt, reached at his home in Ardmore on Wednesday, said his time had come at the magazine: "I was there eight years and had a great run. I think the shelf life for an editor, certainly in the magazine world, is about that long."

Inquirer staff writer Michael Klein reported in June that Platt's tenure had been marked by making the finals in 2007 and 2008 in the National Magazine Awards as well as by eyebrow-raising antics, including an aborted run for the U.S. House and a goodbye gift to a female food editor: a photo of a cyst removed from one of his testicles.

"Larry and I discussed the gift incident that occurred at Philadelphia Magazine, which has previously been reported on quite extensively by the local media," Osberg said. "I can assure you, and Larry has assured me, that actions of that kind will not occur at the Daily News.

"My colleagues will tell you that I wouldn't permit that type of activity to interfere with our productive workplace environment at Philadelphia Media Network. I have great confidence in Larry's leadership in supporting the policies of our network's reputable workplace culture."

Platt said he was "real excited" about coming to the Daily News, and his "immediate plans are to engage the staff in a dialogue, to hear their ideas about a game plan going forward."

"I'm committed to continuing hard-hitting investigative work, an irreverent tone, and speaking truth to power," Platt said. "I think we need to do that every day. That's what I would want to bring to the Daily News, that must-read sense. That if people miss a day, they are going to be missing what everyone is talking about."

Platt has spent the last six months as a freelance magazine writer. "When this opportunity came along, it was a dream come true, because I'm such a fan of the Daily News," he said.

He has written three books, including a biography of basketball star Allen Iverson in 2002.

Platt will meet with the Daily News staff Thursday morning.

Daily News reporters Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman, who won a Pulitzer Prize for their investigative series "Tainted Justice," said that it was a sad day at the Daily News when it was learned that Days was leaving, and that staffers had fought back tears.

"He is a beloved editor, a class act, a great journalist, and a wonderful human being," Laker said.

"He knows a good story," Ruderman said. "He'll give you the time and freedom to work on it. He has a respect for reporters. He has your back."

Wischnowski said, "Michael understands the need for our accelerated push into multimedia, but also realizes that our future success starts and ends with great content above all else."

Osberg, a former Newsweek executive, credited Platt with a "stellar track record as an editor. He is extremely well-suited to begin the transformation of the Daily News into a loud, irreverent, and fun tabloid."

In other management changes at The Inquirer, Wischnowski said, Sandy Clark will become deputy managing editor for features and operations, Avery Rome will become deputy managing editor for writing and projects, Tom McNamara will continue as deputy managing editor for the Sunday paper as well as for business and sports, and Gabe Escobar will continue as metropolitan editor, overseeing city, suburban, and South Jersey news and the paper's online breaking news coverage.


Contact staff writer Linda Loyd at 215-854-2831 or lloyd@phillynews.com.

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