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Jul 30, 201210:18 AM
The Editor's Room

Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde

The Times-Picayune Fiasco: The Newhouses vs. The Advocate

Last week the Manship family, which owns Baton Rouge's Advocate newspaper, offered New Orleans seven courses; meanwhile the Newhouses offered the city a bone.

That bone is a promised day-after-a-Saints-game special tabloid edition, which will be published throughout the Saints’ season. The publication will deal with football only, so should World War III break out on a Sunday you will not see the details in The Times-Picayune.

Meanwhile, the Manships have announced that they will provide a daily Advocate in New Orleans. To do that they will reopen a New Orleans bureau and have a front page targeted to the city. (Which does not mean that the rest will be irrelevant. The Advocate is pretty good on politics, sports and state news. Also, there is plenty of former T-P talent available.)

Also last week Tom Benson sent the Newhouses a letter urging them to sell the newspaper to him. Again the answer was “no.” Senator David Vitter urged the family to sell too and used some of the strongest langauage yet:

•Maybe you truly believe that your new model for the Times-Picayune will serve the region well. I do not. More importantly, no citizen of the region whom I've spoken to about this does. And I literally mean no one. This includes everyone at the Times-Picayune itself that I've spoken to.

• As a single member of our Congressional delegation, I actually have far more Facebook followers than your whole enterprise.

• from a pure business perspective, you're about to get smoked. The Advocate and others are moving in to fill the void you are creating. And TP subscribers, including me, will be eager to cheer them on by trading our subscriptions.

As for Steve “No Noise” Newhouse’s futuristic vision that we would be dazzled by digital, that’s happening, but not from his company but because of several independent websites that have started. Rather than being the main source of digital news, NOLA.com will be just another app button.

For the Manships, coming into New Orleans will be a daring venture and much of the success will depend on what kind of home delivery system they can establish. To their credit, at least they are local and can feel our pain and our pride.

That’s far more than can be said about the competition.

 

-30-

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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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