Jul 9, 201207:00 AM
The Editor's Room

Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde

The Times-Picyune Fiasco: Who Is Coming Out Ahead?

As the devolution of The Times-Picayune continues, some signs are starting to emerge about who is going to come out ahead in terms of replacing the daily as the area’s news leader. Here’s the way it seems to be going:

WWL TV. The station has long claimed the news leader tag in terms of its ratings, but now the Newhouse blunder will open the way for it to make a move with its total package - including the web. Once the TP goes to three times a week it will have less of a presence to drive people to its website, NOLA.com (plus it will be facing a hostile citizenry), but WWL can promote its website every hour of every day before what is usually the largest media audience in the region.

This is the flaw to the Newhouse plan. It could work in a vacuum, but competition will not let that happen.

Already WWL has improved its product by hiring two former TP journalists, investigative reporter David Hammer and police beat reporter Brendan McCarthy. They will join another TP alumnus, Mike Perlsetin. WWL will have the presence that The Times-Picayune has sacrificed.

Second and third place will be a fight between WVUE TV (Fox 8) and WDSU (channel 6) for the same reason given above—a better ability to market their websites and to establish brand identity. Of the two, FOX 8 shows a real penchant to making aggressive moves and is the only commercial station that is locally owned. Keep and eye on them.

As for the downtrodden TP: It still has a few stars, such as Pulitzer Prize-winning environmental reporter Mark Schleifstein and, as of this writing, its sports staff  seems to be intact. Even at reduced size it will still have more reporters (or is it now “content providers,” as the ads say?) than any other news medium. I am just not sure if the audience will notice. The web is best for short reads. The detailed stories belong in print.

Make no mistake about it; the overall flow of news content will suffer badly because of this man-made urban disaster. Like the hurricanes, I just wish there was still time for that last-minute turn to another direction.

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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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