May 25, 201211:01 AM
From Web Editor Alex Gecan
The Changing Times (Picayune)
It's a newsman's nightmare: Reading about your own newspaper's downsizing in another newspaper.
That was how the staff of the Times-Picayune found out that many of them will soon be out of work - in a tweeted report from the New York Times, published the night before the staff got the memo about the falling axe.
The paper's publishers have asserted that the company's new "organization" - industry cover language for layoffs - will yield a more robust, albeit more infrequent, print version and beefier online reporting. The Washington Post's Erik Wemple has concisely pointed out that the notion that an outlet is somehow going to produce more and better content after amputating a third of its staff is ridiculous on its face and offensive to its staff.
Jed Horne at The Lens has suggested an "I'm In"-style campaign, in which New Orleanians could demonstrate their commitment to local institutions by funding a local paper instead of shelling out for season tickets.
And Forbes has reported on the move to the so-called Ann Arbor model, after similar measures implemented by the same publishing house (Newhouse) turned the daily Ann Arbor News into AnnArbor.com, which has a twice-weekly print edition, and the fallout from that transition.
It goes on and on. Gambit's Kevin Allman broke the story to local readers early yesterday morning. Sen. Mary Landrieu has expressed her sadness at the end of daily printing in New Orleans. Facile rhetoric has been flying around bars and water coolers about how "well, newspapers don't make any money."
I offer no insight or expertise. All I can offer is this, to the staff of the Times-Picayune: If you can figure out which bar I'm moonlighting at, your first round or three is on me. Look for the tall gingerbeard with the 609er accent.