This move makes tremendous sense for the Advocate has a great reputation in the state. Most avid readers consider the Advocate a much better source of political and statewide news than the Times Picayune. The move also makes economic sense for it is much easier and less expensive for an existing newspaper to expand than for a start-up newspaper to commence publishing. Even in a world moving toward digital news, there is still a large market in New Orleans and many other cities in the United States for a daily newspaper. This market might decline over time, but will still be significant for the foreseeable future.
The Advocate has another big advantage; it is owned by a Louisiana family, which is a major positive for many New Orleans readers. In this community, there is always a preference for local businesses and the Advocate will be able to win over many readers by stressing their Louisiana roots.
The decision to reduce the printed editions of Times Picayune to three times a week was made in New Jersey by the Newhouse family, which owns the New Orleans publication, along with many others across the country. This was a decision impacting several other Newhouse newspapers, such as the Press-Register in Mobile, Alabama.
The print pullback has been greeted with protests, rallies and boycotts as New Orleans readers are aghast that the city will become the largest in the country without a daily paper. The Newhouse family has refused to consider a sale to a local ownership group which wants to buy the newspaper and retain a daily printed edition.
The daily printed editions of the Times Picayune will cease in the fall, so for the major sporting events the city is hosting, such as the Sugar Bowl and the Super Bowl, there will not be a printed newspaper to offer to local residents and tourists the next day. It is a pretty sad situation and reflects poorly on New Orleans, which strives to be considered a “major league” city.
Residents of New Orleans tend to love tradition and follow familiar routines such as reading the local newspaper with a cup of coffee in the morning. Starting in the fall, such simple joys will no longer be possible with the Times Picayune. Hopefully, by that time, the Advocate will be able to offer a daily newspaper to the people of New Orleans.
In this way, local readers can start a new tradition with a locally owned, daily newspaper.
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]