Thursday, 31 May 2012 12:25

New Orleans Times Picayune Publisher Amoss Responds, Lawmakers Act, And Benson?

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 TP-smallThe New Orleans Times Picayune—Digital media vs. print debate continues today with reports that the current Publisher Jim Amos has written a memo to employees to further explain the paper’s announcement to go digital in a much bigger way than ever before while cutting back on print publications to three days per week.  

Journalist blogger Jim Romenesko of posted this today, “

New Orleans Times-Picayune editor’s memo to staff, sent this morning:

From: Jim Amoss
Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2012 7:18 AM
To: Newsroom Staff
Subject: some facts

Dear colleagues,

In our meetings at Howard Avenue and the East Jefferson bureau you said that you wanted to be told the facts as clearly as they can be told at present. I’d like to do that here* After the changes we announced take effect in the fall, we will have a smaller staff. However, our reporting arm will be at least comparable to what it is now. We will continue to be probing and ambitious in our coverage.

* Concerning pay in the new companies, I want to dispel some rumors: There could be some salary adjustments, depending on changes in job descriptions. But most people will make what they make today, if not more.

* I love printed newspapers and want to be proud of the ones we produce when we go to three editions a week. At the same time, we need to focus on the growth of New Orleans’ digital audience. It’s a vital part of our future. We can’t hesitate to embrace it.

* Both our digital and our print content will be distinguished by the high quality of journalism our readers have come to expect.

I know that the days since our announcement last week have been enormously stressful to all and wish I could ease the pain. Jim.


One staffer’s reaction: “Regarding Jim Amoss’ quote about the ‘reporting arm,’ …. what does he say about the editing? He said in the staff meeting that I attended that stories would be blogged unedited and that only three people on the digital side will be reading and making corrections throughout the day. That copy will then be published in the three print editions. But he gave no clue what size newsroom staff will be required for that. Can the rest of us just expect to be thrown under the bus? And speaking of expectations, these days of limbo have been unbearable, emotionally and physically. The words cruel and unusual punishment come to mind.”

Meanwhile, the paper-digital issue is making lawmakers trying to figure out how to deal with the issue legally.

The television station, WVUE published an article on Wednesday discussing how the City of New Orleans must now scramble to comply with state requirements that the Times Picayune, which is an official state journal can get around the law since it will only publish print papers those three days a week.

The answer?

Change the law now since the legislature is now in session which is ending next week.

Speaking of WVUE, its owner, New Orleans Saints and Hornets owner Tom Benson wrote a letter to the TP asking it to reconsider.

One idea floating around the Internet is to give the Times Picayune 150 million dollars over ten years to keep the paper daily.  Benson got a similar type of deal to help keep the Saints and Hornets.

While the legislature is indeed in session and while the idea is in jest, maybe it would be better for Benson to buy the paper so he can control the sports and media in the city.

Then again, he would still convince the state to fork over money to fund the paper anyway.  And so, the story just goes on until tomorrow.  

What do you think? Should Tom Benson buy the TP?  Will the TP be better or worse this fall?  Talk about these questions below



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