Aug 20, 201209:39 AM
The Editor's Room
Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde
The Times-Picayune Fiasco: Hey Newhouses, Here Comes Our Daily—The Advocate
Among my many foibles is that on matters pertaining to New Orleans, I tend to get provincial. That was especially apparent in the months after Katrina when there seemed to be the scent of smugness coming out of Baton Rouge. For a brief time that city, within its corporate boundaries, even had a larger population that New Orleans. Also, with the emergence of the I-10, I-12 corridor, some of that town’s boosters seemed to think it was the new Rome to which all roads led. (Note to Baton Rouge—we still have the mouth of the Mississippi River down here.) “Take away the state from Baton Rouge, particularly the capitol and LSU,” a demon within me once allegedly said, “and you have Gramercy.”
In retrospect that was just intrastate interplay, just like when home state football rivals face each other. As The Times-Picayune fiasco has underscored, Baton Rouge is part of us and the Newhouse family clearly is not.
So, I even surprise myself as I sit here urging people to support the effort of Baton Rouge’s Advocate to publish daily in New Orleans once the Newhouse-created self-destruction begins in October.
There is a lot that we still do not know about The Advocate’s plans. What we do know is that it is not a bad newspaper; it is Louisiana owned and it may be the only chance for New Orleans to have the dignity of a daily newspaper.
One encouraging sign is that The Advocate has begun to advertise for positions to staff a New Orleans Bureau, including a Bureau chief, reporters, copy editors, photographers and sales.
There are no reports of hires yet, though some former T-P employees are said to be inquiring. Meanwhile, back at the T-P, there are some good people who somehow managed to escape the purge, though many were lost. What will emerge once the “Some-Times-Picayune”, as it is being called around town, devolves will probably be a decent paper, but it will not be daily and will not serve that important civic role that a daily print journal provides. Ironically, as that T-P becomes less visible it will in turn be less effective at driving people to it website which is supposed to be the reason for all the changes.
If for some reason they gave a damn and the Newhouses in the future want to keep up with New Orleans on a daily basis, they should buy a subscription to The Advocate.