Jun 25, 201210:22 AM
The Editor's Room
Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde
The Times-Picayune Fiasco: A Q&A
Or, More Noise for Newhouse
Q. Why are so many people angry about what is happening to the T-P?
A. There are many reasons to hate this changes, including the loss of information flow. Here's one more: This is an embarrassment to the city. It makes us look and feel minor league. If the Newhouse gang thinks that what they are doing to New Orleans is the beginning of the future, than start the future elsewhere, do not do this to a city that has worked so hard to recover from a different disaster.
Q. Is there any hope?
A. There are four possibly positive outcomes. Unfortunately, the first two - the Newhouse gang changing their minds and going back to daily printing, or the company selling - would require miracles. That is a task for St. Jude.
Q. How about a new daily?
A. That's the third option and it would be close to the St. Jude department too. Dailies are like railroads, they are hard to start from scratch, challenged by the economy, and need infrastructure. I know at least one local media expert who thinks that a business model is possible for a tabloid-sized paper to survive maybe publishing five times week. The talent is certainly here and there would be widespread public support. Advertisers might welcome another opportunity. We suspect that the Newhouses are confident that a start-up daily could never survive and that is part of their equation. Wouldn't it be wonderful to prove them wrong?
Q. And the fourth option?
A. That would be for the Newhouses to give in a little and agree to publish five papers a week instead of the announced three. I think everyone could understand that, and there would be some goodwill. My vote would be to keep the Monday and Saturday issues; the first because of Saints day-after coverage, the other because of sports, weekend events and political coverage, but getting a vote is more than I can hope for.
Q. Hey, why don't we all just chill and let the Newhouse gang do to us what they want?
A. See the answer to the first question above. I would personally prefer to have root canal surgery.