It is a tradition in New Orleans for people to begin their day with a cup of coffee and the newspaper. Sadly, this major decision which has such a major impact on the people of New Orleans was made many miles away from the Crescent City.
The Times Picayune is owed by Advance Publications based in New York City. This multi-media conglomerate owns newspapers throughout the country. The announcement of dramatic downsizing is not just impacting New Orleans, but other Advance entities such as the Alabama newspapers in Mobile, Huntsville and Birmingham.
In the past ten years, the Times Picayune has suffered a major decline in advertisers and subscribers, which resulted in numerous staff cutbacks. This major decision will be accompanied by another major staff upheaval. The exact outline of the staff reductions has not yet been disclosed. For many of the fine professionals at the newspaper who have devoted their lives to the field of journalism and to serving the people of New Orleans, it will be a very uncomfortable next few weeks.
The fall of the Times Picayune was many years in the making and was exacerbated by the move to online readership. Younger readers consume their news online and most do not care for a print publication. Yet, this anachronistic print publication is still revered by older generations who have not transitioned to the internet. This decision is truly sad for the senior citizens of the New Orleans area who rely on the Times Picayune for their daily news.
The newspaper was also harmed by their consistent liberal bias. While many conservatives abandoned the Times Picayune when it endorsed Barack Obama for President in 2008, it should have come as no surprise. The Times Picayune consistently has employed liberal reporters and liberal columnists. The paper often champions liberal causes and regularly utilizes content from iconic liberal media outlets like the New York Times.
The people of New Orleans deserve not only a daily newspaper, but also one that is fair and balanced and locally owned and operated. A city that loves local issues and local personalities should be served by a locally owned newspaper, which will not make decisions just based on a corporate bottom line, but on what is best for a beloved community getting ready to celebrate its tri-centennial anniversary.
The demise of the Times Picayune is a great opportunity for the Advocate in Baton Rouge, which is a superior newspaper in many respects. The Advocate provides much better political and news coverage of what is happening across the state of Louisiana.
With no daily Times Picayune, the Advocate could provide a daily newspaper to the people of New Orleans and fill a massive void. Another positive aspect of the Advocate is that it is locally owned and operated by the Manship family of Baton Rouge
This decision places the people of New Orleans in a familiar position. Citizens in this community are accustomed to being mistreated by cruel circumstances. They are used to getting knocked down by one calamity after another, but they always rise again.
This case will be no different from any other. An opportunity has been created by this decision and it will be seized by some enterprising newspaper. By next year, there will still be a daily newspaper in New Orleans, whether it is called the Times Picayune or not.
The New Orleans Times Picayune shook up the media world by announcing its downsizing and its significant conversion towards digital media. What and who is next? Are you more or less inclined to advertise with the TP? What does this mean for online advertising in Louisiana? What does this mena to you? Talk about it.
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected].