Aug 13, 201209:31 AM
The Editor's Room

Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde

The Times-Picayune Fiasco: The Newhouses Find a City They Believe In—Baton Rouge

Having triggered its effort to decrease the quantity and quality of journalism in New Orleans, the Newhouse clan has decided to enhance one Louisiana media market—Baton Rouge. A report published last Friday in the Baton Rouge Business Report says that NOLA Media Group, is “expanding its online product into the Baton Rouge market.”

Several weeks ago, Baton Rouge’s The Advocate announced that it would expand into the New Orleans market once the Newhouses, as threatened, reduced the circulation of the Times-Picayune to three times a week beginning in October.

According to the Business Report article written by Stephanie Riegel, a former New Orleans journalist who now edits the Baton Rouge business paper: Officials with NOLA Media Group did not return calls seeking comment, but sources familiar with the plan say the company is staffing up locally and will be increasing its online coverage of Baton Rouge news, sports and politics. A post on the company's website says as much. 
 
An online ad for a "managing producer, Baton Rouge," says, "This is an entrepreneurial effort to significantly expand our footprint in a growing and vibrant city that offers a journalistically compelling mix of politics, sports and breaking news. You will step in as a main player in launching this digitally focused coverage effort." 
 
Note to Newhouses: We’re glad you think that Baton Rouge is a “growing and vibrant city” which underscores the point made by a group of New Orleanians who wrote to you a few weeks ago urging you to sell: “If your family does not believe in the future of this great city and its capacity to support a daily newspaper, it is only fair to allow us to find someone who does.”

According to Riegel: Experts say it's a shrewd move, especially since the media group has little digital competition in the Baton Rouge market. However, the company faces two challenges. First, it needs to staff up adequately and provide quality journalism, according to Bob Ritter, professional in residence at the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication. “I also think they will have to develop their brand on a more statewide basis,” says Ritter, a former editor of The Denver Post. “I think that will be the real trick.”

It has taken the genius of the Newhouses to diminish the esteem once had for a beloved newspaper in its hometown and to make the Baton Rouge Advocate seem heroic. Once it starts publishing daily in New Orleans, The Advocate will discover that no one can touch this city not only for growth and vibrancy, but for its resilience from setbacks.

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Krewe: The Early New Orleans Carnival- Comus to Zulu by Errol Laborde is available at all area bookstores. Books can also be ordered via E- mail at gdkrewe@aol.com or (504- 895-2266)

 
WATCH INFORMED SOURCES, FRIDAYS AT 7PM, REPEATED AT 11:30 PM.WYES-TV, CH. 12

 

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The Editor's Room

Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde

about

Errol LabordeErrol Laborde holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of New Orleans and is the editor-in-chief of Renaissance Publishing. In that capacity he serves as editor/associate publisher of New Orleans Magazine and editor/publisher of Louisiana Life magazine.

Errol is also a producer and a regular panelist on Informed Sources, a weekly news discussion program broadcast on public television station WYES-TV, Channel 12. Errol is a three-time winner of the Alex Waller Award, the highest award given in print journalism by the Press Club of New Orleans. He also received the National and City Regional Magazine Association Award for Best Column for his New Orleans Magazine column, beating out 76 city magazines across the country. In 2013, Errol received the award for the "Best News Affiliated Blog," awarded by the Press Club of New Orleans.

Errol’s most recent books are Krewe: The Early Carnival from Comus to Zulu and Marched the Day God: A History of the Rex Organization. In his free time he enjoys playing tennis and traveling with his wife, Peggy, to anywhere they can get away to, but some of his favorite spots are the Caribbean and historic locations around Louisiana. You can reach Errol at (504) 830-7235 or errol@myneworleans.com.

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