Dec 31, 201209:05 AM
The Editor's Room
Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde
The Times-Picayune Fiasco: And Now a Roundtable
Last month, The Times-Picayune announced that its Publisher Ricky Mathews had convened a new group called “The Times-Picayune/NOLA.com Roundtable.”
Fourteen citizens covering the usual range of diversity were selected for the group, including the venerable Norman Francis who last year was one of the citizens urging the Newhouses to sell.
In the accompanying, unsigned article, it was said with much ballyhoo that, “the diverse voices of our community will help guide us. Your voices. In letters to the editor, in online comments to articles and editorials, in conversations with our writers, we are eager to hear from you.”
Hey Ricky, if you really care what the citizens are saying you should have been listening since last summer. They hate what has been done to the newspaper and they are not buying the changes.
As for the Roundtable, all respected citizens, we have one plea: Don’t let them use you for propaganda purposes. What the Newhouses have done to our area hurts. Don’t let them exploit your good name.
We begin this week our first full year in modern times without a locally published daily newspaper, all because someone in New York misjudged modern times.
As predicted, locals do not like what the Newhouses have done to The Times-Picayune. Three times a week does not work. By the time the Wednesday papers come out, it is filled with stale news already reported elsewhere plus the paper is too bulky for weekday morning quick reads. The same goes for Fridays and not having a paper either on Monday, right after the weekend, or Saturday, at the beginning of the weekend, are big losses. Only the Sunday paper makes sense pretty much because it looks like what it was before.
Meanwhile, if the Newhouses thought that gutting the T-P would trigger a rush to their website that, at least according to the people I talk to, is not happening. Sure some people go to NOLA.com, but, depending on the story, there are other alternatives including the television stations and national websites. Through the genius of the Newhouses, they sacrificed the one area where they had a respected, even beloved, monopoly, gutted it and entered a world where there is lots of competition.
There are still many good people working for The Times-Picayune and the newspaper is capable of producing good work, but the overall quality is not the same.
Hey Roundtable, we need facts and not propaganda, and the fact is that New Orleans needs its own daily newspaper.