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Times-Picayune Bain-ed

Media bloggers Jim Romenesko and Anthenae started talking about changes at the New Orleans Times-Picayune yesterday.

Then Charlie Pierce chimed in:

I know the Intertoobz are the future — teach them well and let them lead the way — but this just sucks pond water in all kinds of ways. Of all the cities in the country, New Orleans should be the one most aware that a huge number of Americans don’t have access to the Toobz. (Another thing Newt Gingrich was right about, by the way.) Gutting a profitable newspaper in a city like New Orleans is the functional equivalent in an information sense of lining up to piss into a reservoir. The main reason that newspapers are failing in this country is that they are being set up to fail by publishers who think like hedge fund cowboys, and by editors who think like corporate officers. If there’s another major institution in this country that hasn’t yet gone out of its way to fail the people of New Orleans, I don’t know what it is.

WDSU [New Orleans Channel 6] : Times-Picayune to reduce print edition. The print edition will only come out on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Everyone is supposed to use NOLA.com for current news.

New Orleans blogger Adrastos finishes off on the loss of the only daily newspaper in the city, and the total disaster that is NOLA.com.

I have to agree with him about NOLA.com – it isn’t as good as my Local Puppy Trainer as a newspaper site. It is more of a aggregator than an actual news site, with no attempt made to group articles based on content or area affected. As Adrastos noted, it is a lot easier to use Google to find something on the site, than the ‘tools’ of the site.

The Times-Picayune is the newspaper of record for the area. That isn’t a nickname, that is a legal term, and it involves a lot of legal proceedings. There are requirements to ‘advertise’ certain actions, to notify the public and interested/affected parties by putting notices in the local paper of record. You will often see a section labeled ‘legal notices’ in your local paper. This change is going to affect a lot of people in very annoying ways, and publishing 3 times per week may not be sufficient to qualify as a newspaper of record.

The Times-Picayune did a lot of great work on Katrina and the Gulf Gusher. It doesn’t deserve to be assaulted like this. It was profitable, paying out bonuses for the last two years, but that won’t continue. The Newhouse family deserves what is going to happen to their empire, but the people who have worked for them, and made them successful don’t.

4 comments

1 hipparchia { 05.25.12 at 7:17 pm }

The Times-Picayune did a lot of great work on Katrina and the Gulf Gusher.

why is why it has to be killed.

2 Bryan { 05.25.12 at 7:48 pm }

Hard to say for sure, because Advance is a privately held corporation of the Newhouse family, and nobody knows what went into the decision.

They apparently did the same thing to the Mobile Press-Register and the newspapers in Birmingham and Huntsville.

I just checked and NOLA.com and AL.com have the same theme/template and are ID’ed as Advance Digital. AL.com is going to be the site for all three Alabama newspapers, so that will really attract local advertisers … 😈

Now the Houston Chronicle, Tampa Bay Tribune, and Pensacola News-Journal are the ‘major’ dailies on the Gulf Coast. Pretty pathetic.

3 Badtux { 05.26.12 at 10:46 am }

I think the only reason the San Jose Murky News hasn’t done something stupid like this, given how badly MediaNews has cut them back, is because if they did, they’d lose all the money from the daily multi-page Fry’s Electronics ads. Half of the Silly Cone Valley subscribes to the Murky only for the Fry’s ads, it seems, and no Fry’s ads, no Murky subscription. I’m sure it drives the Medianews moguls nuts, but the tail is wagging the dog in this case, and I’m glad :).

– Badtux the Fry’s-ad-readin’ Penguin

4 Bryan { 05.26.12 at 12:15 pm }

That is exactly why you don’t do it. Thursday is grocery store coupon/sale day almost every place I have lived, while Saturday is for car dealers. There are ad cycles based on the day of the week. How do you follow high school football without a Saturday paper? How do you keep up with the NFL and NASCAR without a Monday paper?

Ad rates are set by circulation, and these moves certainly won’t increase circulation.