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A five year examination of the Philadelphia Inquirer newsroom reveals the challenges and harsh realities facing the newspaper industry Read more

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This project was successfully funded on August 19, 2014.

A five year examination of the Philadelphia Inquirer newsroom reveals the challenges and harsh realities facing the newspaper industry

About this project

THE PROJECT

For the past five years, I have photographed with unrestricted access the newsroom and printing plant of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Through a depiction of The Inquirer’s efforts to prevail despite depleted ad revenue, a steady decline in circulation, lay-offs, buy-outs, and bankruptcy, my intent is to reveal the challenges and harsh realities that face the newspaper industry today.

This project has not received any financial backing and has been entirely self-funded for the past five years.  It has been a long journey and I have pushed the boundaries to the absolute extreme on my own.  To complete the final chapter of this story and fund the publication of DEADLINE, I humbly ask for your support.  Please help make sure this story gets told.

A close examination of the newspaper industry and in-depth story explaining the events that landed newsrooms in their current predicaments has largely gone untold. Having shed 30% of its workforce in the past decade newspapers are America's fastest shrinking industry, yet more than half of American adults know little to nothing about the financial struggles that have eviscerated newsrooms. At a time when a third of U.S. adults get their news on Facebook, newspapers' transition into a digital era has been mired in a dire hunt for sustainable online advertising revenue as papers nationally have lost $25 billion in advertising revenue over the past ten years and in 2012 newspapers lost $16 in print ad revenue for every $1 made in digital ad revenue.

As we find ourselves amidst a massive societal transition into an information technology economy of the future in which technological advances have eroded middle skill, middle class jobs, boosted productivity while reducing the labor force, what has been the human cost of these gains? The newspaper for centuries has served as a cornerstone of American society holding our country’s institutions, CEOs, politicians and big businesses accountable for their actions, upholding the values, laws and morals that our democracy was founded upon. When we lose reporters, editors, newsbeats and sections of papers, we lose coverage, information, and a connection to our cities and our society, and, in the end, we lose ourselves. Without the human investment to provide news content it becomes a zero sum game on the information highway to nowhere. The fibers of the paper and the clicks of the mouse are worthless unless the words they are presented on have value. The newspaper is much more than a business, it is a civic trust.

 ________________________________________________

BOOK DETAILS

DEADLINE

Will Steacy

Introduction by Gene Roberts

11.8” x 9.4”

120 Pages

b. frank books

$50

Publication Date – Late October/Early November 2014

NOTE: Book size and page length are approximate

 ________________________________________________

NEWSPAPER DETAILS

DEADLINE

Will Steacy, Tom Steacy & the Newsroom Staff of The Philadelphia Inquirer 

11” x 22”

80 pages, 5 sections

b. frank books

$20

Printed at Skuykill Printing Plant on the same press as the Inquirer

Publication Date – Late August 2014

Featuring Essays By: 

Roger Allaway, Ann Applegate,Mike Armstrong, Tony Auth, Sandy Bauers, Art Carey, John Carroll, George Carter, Andrew Cassel, David Cohen,Porus P. Cooper, Marguerite Del Giudice, Clark DeLeon, Melissa Dribben, Murray Dubin, Jane Eisner,Larry Eichel, Bob Fernandez, Tom Ferrick, Kevin Ferris, Gene Foreman, Robert Frump, Joseph Gambardello, Jeff Gammage, Joyce Gemperlein, Thomas Ginsberg, Josh Gohlke, Kristen Graham, Mel Greenberg, Cynthia Greer, Kia Gregory, Alan J. Heavens, Karen Heller, Chris Hepp,Miriam Hill, Deirdre Childress Hopkins, David Cay Johnston, Don Kimelman, Monica Yant Kinney, Andrea Knox, Mike Leary, Daniel LeDuc, Jennifer Lin, Sandra Long, Alfred Lubrano, Bill Marsh, Dale Mezzacappa, Alexis Moore, Arlene Notoro Morgan, Jonathan Neumann, Rick Nichols, Mike Placentra, Dick Polman, Natalie Pompilo, Carrie Rickey, Avery Rome, Daniel Rubin, Stephan Salisbury,Don Sapatkin, Stephen Seplow, Tom Steacy, Allison Steele, James Steele, John Sullivan, Sue Syrnick, Miriam Tarver, Mike Vitez, Jane Von Bergen, Butch Ward & Amy Worden

 ___________________________________________

REWARDS

“IF IT BLEEDS IT LEADS”

Pencil

This Kickstarter exclusive is an old newsroom proverb.

$5                                                                                                                     

“NO BOSS SHALL RULE THIS TOWN”

Pin

Made exclusively for Kickstarter and based on the 1929 original opposing the ruthless Vare family political machine and corruption that infested City Hall.

$10                                                                                                             

DEADLINE

Newspaper

Early Edition. The first installment of the two volume DEADLINE publications, featuring 70 essays by current and former Philadelphia Inquirer newsroom staff, including many Pulitzer winners. Printed at Skuykill Printing Plant on the same press as the Inquirer. Advance copies of this newspaper are available ONLY through Kickstarter.

$20

"A MIRROR OF GREATNESS, BLURRED”

Poster

Edition of 50, hand numbered, signed by artist, 20" x 24"

$25

“THE FINE PRINT”

T-shirt

Full graphic tee, printed on front and back, featuring the collage "A Mirror Of Greatness, Blurred, 2012." Edition of 50. Size availability: S, M, L, XL, please specify size with order.

$45

DEADLINE

Book

Late Edition. The Kickstarter special. Introduction by Gene Roberts, editor of the Inquirer from 1972-1990 and won the paper 18 Pulitzer Prizes. The second installment of the two volume DEADLINE publications. All copies purchased on Kickstarter will be signed by the artist and come hand wrapped in a Philadelphia Inquirer front page from 2014. 

$50

DEADLINE NEWSPAPER & BOOK

Kickstarter Exclusive

The complete two volume, Early and Late Edition, DEADLINE publications. Comes with a special "Deadline is like a traffic jam" insert print based on the original which once hung in the copy desk. Available ONLY through Kickstarter.

$70

“WRITE YOUR OWN OBITUARY”

Special Offer

Write your own Obituary in 140 characters or less to be featured in the Obituaries section of the DEADLINE NEWSPAPER.

INCLUDES 3 COPIES OF DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

$100

"MIDNIGHT, FOREIGN BUREAUS GONE DARK, 7:24PM, 2011"

Photograph

8" x 10" archival pigment print of "Midnight, Foreign Bureaus Gone Dark, 7:24pm, 2011", edition of 50, signed and numbered by artist.

INCLUDES DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

$100

"U.S. ATTACKED"

Historic Newspaper

September 12th, 2001. A day we will never forget. Page after page of deep coverage, not one A-section ad, pure class.

INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

$175

"Y2K"

Historic Newspapers

December 31, 1999 & January 1, 2000 complete papers. Each edition includes special sections devoted to the history of Philadelphia.

INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

$150

“FINAL EDITION OF THE BULLETIN”

Historic Newspaper

Under the leadership of Gene Roberts and an inventory of award winning journalists who zigged instead of zagged, the Inquirer put The Bulletin out of business in 1982 and established itself as one of the best papers in the country. Roberts went on a hiring spree that year, hiring 95 people including my father and 20 former Bulletin employees.

INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

$200

"MEGATURD"

Limited Edition Book

Includes signed DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER, Reporter's Notebook, "If It Bleeds It Leads" Pencil, Inches to lines Conversation Chart, "No Boss Shall Rule This Town" Pin, Editorial Submission Rejection Letter, Vintage Letterpress Letters, Memo from Tom Steacy, Thomas Jefferson's Famous "Newspapers Without Government" Letter—underlined by my grandfather John Steacy.

$200

"KENNEDY SHOT TO DEATH"

Historic Newspaper

A tragic day remembered.

INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

$250

“THREE MILE ISLAND”

Historic Newspaper Pack

The Inquirer assigned 27 reporters and photographers to cover the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979.  Their deep coverage of this event received a Pulitzer Prize.

INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

$250

“NIXON RESIGNS”

Historic Newspaper

One of the most significant events in journalism history.  Woodward & Bernstein would inspire an entire generation of journalists.

INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

$275

“SHOE-LEATHER REPORTING”

Historic Newspaper Pack

Donald Barlett and James Steele. Legends. Here are two big stories from their tireless examination of the American energy industry.  They spent a year reporting and traveled 12,000 miles.  

INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

$285

"DON SAPATKIN, DEPUTY SCIENCE & MEDICINE EDITOR, 6:44PM, 2009"

Photograph

11" x 14" archival pigment print of "Don Sapatkin, Deputy Science & Medicine Editor, 6:44pm, 2009", edition of 15, signed and numbered by artist.

INCLUDES DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

$350

“A SLICE OF THE ‘WEDDING CAKE’”

Brick

White brick from the "Tower Of Truth" Elverson Building, home of the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1925-2012.

INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

$400

“A WEEK OF BANNER HEADLINES”

Historic Newspaper Pack

Sept. 12th, 13th, 14th & 15th Front Pages

INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

$450

DOWN THESE MEAN STREETS 

Book & Goody Bag 

Originally released in October 2012, Down These Mean Streets sold out in a month and the extremely limited "Campaign Financing Goody Bags" sold out in days. They are now impossible to find. Each "Goody Bag" includes: Signed Monograph, Vintage Bank Deposit Bag, Noose, Antique Wrench, Blank Time Card, Application For Unemployment Benefits, Scratch-Off Lotto Ticket, Buffalo Nickel, "Iraq's Most Wanted" Cards & American Flag.

$500

"Shot To Death Diptych."

Historic Newspaper Pack.

Extremely rare Inquirer front pages chronicling one of the most noted events in 20th Century American history.  

INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

$500

"A 5.0 NEWSQUAKE."

Special Offer

Join me for a night at the printing plant when the DEADLINE NEWSPAPER goes to press.  Located in Conshohocken, PA.

INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

$2,500

 ________________________________________________

PRESS FOR DEADLINE

-Mother Jones

-Colors Magazine

-British Journal of Photography

-Wired

-CNN

-GUP Magazine

-Popular Photography

-Gigaom

-Suddeutsche Zeitung Magazin

-Neue Zurcher Zeitung

-Telerama

 ________________________________________________

THE NUMBERS

-268 American newspapers have closed or stopped printing a newsprint edition since 2007.

-Newspaper advertising revenue has fallen 60% since its peak in 2005.

-Daily circulation has fallen 47% in the past decade, while Sunday circulation has fallen 40%.

-Since 2000 more than 75% of print classified revenue has been lost.

-In 2012, newspapers lost $16 in print ads for every $1 earned in digital ads.

-Digital advertising is a $43 billion market in the US, mostly in the hands of Google, Facebook, among others.  News outlets saw roughly 12% of that.

-In 2013 mobile advertising grew 77 percent for the year, but within the newspaper industry accounted for less than 1 percent of total revenue.

-Newsroom employment in the U.S. peaked at 56,000 in 1989 and is now 38,000.

-Since 2000 Newsroom employment in America has fallen 30%, as the number of full time employees fell below 40,000 for the first time since 1978.

-Newspapers have shed a greater percentage of jobs since 2007 than any other industry in the U.S., making it the fastest shrinking industry in America.

-One third of all American newspapers assign a reporter to statehouses, a 35% decline in full time statehouse reporters from 2003-2014.

-ASNE recorded a 18% reduction in full time newspaper photographers, artists and videographers from 2010-2012.

-There are 350 million photographs uploaded to Facebook a day and 400 million uploaded to Snapchat a day.

-One third of adults in the US get their news from Facebook.

-Facebook accounted for one of every six minutes Americans spent online in December 2013.

-A recent Gallup poll found that Americans confidence in newspapers is at an all time low of 24%, down from 51% in 1979.

-60% of American adults have heard little or nothing about the news industry's financial struggles.

 ________________________________________________

 “News is the part people don’t ask for and should know. News is what can help people govern their nation, their city, their neighborhood, their school. By definition, news does not soothe. News breaks. Those big investigative projects help people understand how and why it broke and sometimes how to put it back together.”

-James Naughton

Executive Editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 1991-1996

-30-

Risks and challenges

The greatest risks and challenges facing the publication of DEADLINE are a lack of resources to cover the production costs. Just as high-quality, in-depth newspaper journalism requires a committed financial investment, a beautifully designed and printed photography book requires the same level of fiscal commitment. When supporting this project, backers should be confident in my ability to produce a book of the highest standard and that my past record speaks for itself when creating books that challenge convention and present new ideas and methods of storytelling to the photo world. My two previous books The Photographs Not Taken and Down These Mean Streets were received with critical acclaim, included on many Best Photo Books of the Year lists (both published in 2012) and met with eager consumer demand. The PNT first and second editions sold out in months and DTMS sold out within weeks of its release. My designer is ready, my publisher is ready, and the incredibly patient staff at the Philadelphia Inquirer are ready to see this book after five years in the making. The project has been shot, the book dummy is currently in its fourth draft. I'm close, so close, but a lack of financial resources have impeded the final stages of production. I NEED YOUR HELP! Together, we can make sure this story is told.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    36 backers

    “IF IT BLEEDS IT LEADS”
    Pencil.
    This Kickstarter exclusive is an old newsroom proverb.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    24 backers

    “NO BOSS SHALL RULE THIS TOWN”
    Pin.
    Made exclusively for Kickstarter and based on the 1929 original opposing the ruthless Vare family political machine and corruption that infested City Hall.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    36 backers

    DEADLINE NEWSPAPER.
    Early Edition. Early Edition. The first installment of the two volume DEADLINE publications, featuring 70 essays by current and former Philadelphia Inquirer newsroom staff, including many Pulitzer winners. Printed at Skuykill Printing Plant on the same press as the Inquirer. Advance copies of this newspaper are available ONLY through Kickstarter.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    31 backers Limited (19 left of 50)

    "A MIRROR OF GREATNESS, BLURRED”
    Poster.
    Edition of 50, hand numbered, signed by artist, 20" x 24"

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $45 or more

    17 backers Limited (33 left of 50)

    “THE FINE PRINT” T-shirt.
    Full graphic tee, printed on front and back, featuring the collage "A Mirror Of Greatness, Blurred, 2012." Edition of 50. Size availability: S, M, L, XL, please specify size with order.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    134 backers

    DEADLINE BOOK.
    Late Edition. The Kickstarter special. Introduction by Gene Roberts, editor of the Inquirer from 1972-1990 and won the paper 18 Pulitzer Prizes. The second installment of the two volume DEADLINE publications. All copies purchased on Kickstarter will be signed by the artist and come hand wrapped in a Philadelphia Inquirer front page from 2014. Each item is unique.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $70 or more

    84 backers

    DEADLINE NEWSPAPER & BOOK. The complete two volume, Early and Late Edition, DEADLINE publications. Comes with a special "Deadline is like a traffic jam" insert print based on the original which once hung in the copy desk. Available ONLY through Kickstarter.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    22 backers Limited (28 left of 50)

    8" x 10" archival pigment print of "Midnight, Foreign Bureaus Gone Dark, 7:24pm, 2011", edition of 50, signed and numbered by artist. INCLUDES DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    2 backers

    “WRITE YOUR OWN OBITUARY”
    Write your own Obituary in 140 characters or less to be featured in the Obituaries section of the DEADLINE NEWSPAPER.
    INCLUDES 3 COPIES OF DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    "Y2K"
    Historic Newspapers.
    December 31, 1999 & January 1, 2000 complete papers. Each edition includes special sections devoted to the history of Philadelphia.
    INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $175 or more

    3 backers All gone!

    "U.S. ATTACKED"
    Historic Newspaper
    September 12th, 2001. A day we will never forget. Page after page of deep coverage, not one A-section ad, pure class.
    INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    10 backers Limited (15 left of 25)

    "MEGATURD"
    Limited Edition Book.
    Includes signed DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER, Reporter's Notebook, "If It Bleeds It Leads" Pencil, Inches to lines Conversation Chart, "No Boss Shall Rule This Town" Pin, Editorial Submission Rejection Letter, Vintage Letterpress Letters, Memo from Tom Steacy, Thomas Jefferson's Famous "Newspapers Without Government" Letter—underlined by my grandfather John Steacy.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    2 backers Limited (1 left of 3)

    “FINAL EDITION OF THE BULLETIN”
    Historic Newspaper.
    Under the leadership of Gene Roberts and an inventory of award winning journalists who zigged instead zagged, the Inquirer put The Bulletin out of business in 1982 and established itself as one of the best papers in the country. Roberts went on a hiring spree that year, hiring 95 people including my father and 20 former Bulletin employees. INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    2 backers All gone!

    "KENNEDY SHOT TO DEATH"
    Historic Newspaper.
    A tragic day remembered in this front page.
    INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    “THREE MILE ISLAND.”
    Historic Newspaper Pack.
    The Inquirer assigned 27 reporters and photographers to cover the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979. Their deep coverage of this event received a Pulitzer Prize.
    INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $275 or more

    1 backer All gone!

    “NIXON RESIGNS.”
    Historic Newspaper.
    One of the most significant events in journalism history. Woodward & Bernstein would inspire an entire generation of journalists.
    INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $285 or more

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    “SHOE-LEATHER REPORTING.”
    Historic Newspaper Pack.
    Donald Barlett and James Steele. Legends. Here are two big stories from their tireless examination of the American energy industry. Their work began in 1973 when they accurately predicted, and proved, a manufactured oil crisis was brewing, long before any other paper. For one series they spent a year reporting and traveled 12,000 miles.
    INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $350 or more

    3 backers Limited (12 left of 15)

    11" x 14" archival pigment print of "Don Sapatkin, Deputy Science & Medicine Editor, 6:44pm, 2009", edition of 15, signed and numbered by artist. Includes DEADLINE NEWSPAPER.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $400 or more

    1 backer All gone!

    “A SLICE OF THE ‘WEDDING CAKE’”
    White brick from the "Tower Of Truth" Elverson Building, home of the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1925-2012.
    INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $450 or more

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    “A WEEK OF BANNER HEADLINES”
    Historic Newspaper Pack.
    Sept. 12th, 13th, 14th & 15th Front Pages.
    INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    DOWN THESE MEAN STREETS
    Book & Goody Bag
    Originally released in October 2012, Down These Mean Streets sold out in a month and the extremely limited "Campaign Financing Goody Bags" sold out in days. They are now impossible to find. Each "Goody Bag" includes: Signed Monograph, Vintage Bank Deposit Bag, Noose, Antique Wrench, Blank Time Card, Application For Unemployment Benefits, Scratch-Off Lotto Ticket, Buffalo Nickel, "Iraq's Most Wanted" Cards & American Flag.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    "SHOT TO DEATH DIPTYCH." Extremely rare Inquirer front pages chronicling one of the most noted events in 20th Century American history. INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $2,500 or more

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    "A 5.0 Newsquake." Join me for a night at the printing plant when the DEADLINE NEWSPAPER goes to press. Located in Conshohocken, PA.
    INCLUDES DEADLINE BOOK & DEADLINE NEWSPAPER

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

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