May 28, 201203:11 PM
The Editor's Room
Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde
Dear Mr. Benson: Please Buy the Times-Picayune
Hi Mr. Benson,
Well, once again the city of your birth needs you to save an institution. You did it with the Saints and Hornets, both of which we might have lost to another town; we need you to do it for the Times-Picayune, which is about to be lost in relevance.
We’ve learned that out-of-towners just don’t have the heart to be committed owners. In all of your high-profile buys, including your purchase of WVUE TV, you brought local ownership to something that was just a corporate line item in another town. By all accounts you have done a good job with your properties. Unlike the Saints and the Hornets, which were troubled performers before you bought them, the Times-Picayune has had a good reputation as a franchise. You would not have to do much to assure quality. Restoring the hurt of the staff members might take a little more work.
Saving a daily newspaper is more than just about nostalgia. This is more important than preserving K&B or D. H. Holmes, it is about how societies function. Democracy works best when there is an active daily newspaper. Capitalism works best when there is an active daily newspaper. The plight of the poor works best when there is an active daily newspaper, so too does the gathering and dissemination of news.
I will miss the Monday morning Times-Picayune, especially on the day after a Saints win when there would be a great action picture on the front page and stats and figures from the game on the inside. Truth is, even the Saints - as an entity - work better with a daily newspaper.
Please look into this, Mr. Benson. You may be the only hope we have. In your career there have been examples of the climb from despair to triumph. We need one more victory lap.