Escobar named editor of PMN; new roles for Marimow, Days

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Gabriel Escobar has been named editor and vice president of Philadelphia Media Network, placing him in charge of the entire news report for The Inquirer, Daily News and, the company announced Monday.

Escobar, 60, also will play a leading role in the driving the newsroom’s strategic planning and serve as a key member of the company’s executive team. He will report directly to Stan Wischnowski, PMN’s top newsroom executive. Escobar had been managing editor for news.

“I am honored and humbled by this appointment,” Escobar said this morning, shortly before the formal announcement was made. “This news enterprise has a great history of great journalism. As with other media companies like ours, we are also facing great challenges. That’s why we are in the process of restructuring the newsroom to meet those challenges. We have a very talented staff and I have no doubt that we will succeed.”

The appointment is effective immediately.

As part of the transition, Inquirer Editor William K. Marimow and Daily News Editor Michael Days will take on new roles.

Marimow’s new title is PMN editor at large, a role which includes serving as a lead writing and editing coach for the Investigations, Power & Policy, and Regional Coverage teams of reporters. He will be part of the team of executives planning to roll out a metered online subscription model later this year.

Days will become PMN editor for reader engagement, ensuring that the news organization connects with the Philadelphia metropolitan community in new and meaningful ways. He will collaborate with the team assigned to build PMN’s audience, and with the leaders of 10 new coverage teams. The aim is to align the news organization with new readers across the eight-county circulation area.

The elevation of Escobar to editor is part of a major newsroom restructuring intended to deliver the most timely and comprehensive news report to readers across the region. The new structure seeks to clarify editing and reporting roles and concentrate the newsroom on subjects that are most important to readers.

Escobar, known to everyone in the newsroom as Gabe is a chief architect of the company’s digital news strategy.

“Gabe has the vision, leadership and outstanding news judgment necessary to move our news report forward,” Wischnowski said. “I’m confident that in this new role he will elevate our journalism and accelerate our transition to a digital-first newsroom.”

Escobar is known for being among the first people to arrive in the newsroom in the morning, and the last to leave at night — often late at night.

He’s also known for a deft and certain touch in editing stories.

Escobar was long a reporter himself, in Philadelphia and elsewhere. At the Washington Post, he worked as a foreign correspondent in Latin America, as a national reporter covering immigration and as a crime reporter in the capital.

He was city editor of the Post from 1999 to 2005 and worked at the Hartford Courant, the Philadelphia Daily News, and the Dallas Morning News, a joint position where he served on the editorial board and also as a journalism professor at Southern Methodist University. Escobar also was previously associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center, a non-partisan research agency dedicated to the study of the Latino population.

Escobar was born in Bogota, Colombia, and moved with this family to New York City when he was eight. He earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Queens College, CUNY, and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. He is married to Louisa Shepard, a news officer in the communications office at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Our goal remains to build the best regional metropolitan newsroom in America,” Wischnowski said.

He noted that both Days and Marimow have played key roles in Pulitzer-winning coverage — Marimow himself won twice as an Inquirer reporter — and have hired and coached hundreds of staff members who now help form the backbone of the newsroom. Those hires include Escobar.

“They’ve maintained the vitality and strength of the Inquirer and Daily News through years that would have undone lesser leaders and publications,” Wischnowski said. “I’m pleased to announce that Mike and Bill will both have key leadership roles going forward as vice presidents.”

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