Sep 10, 201207:55 AM
The Editor's Room
Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde
The Times-Picayune Fiasco: Advocate Speaks Out; Newhouses Hear Noise
Steven Newhouse's wish for the noise to stop will have to wait a little longer. Last week, The Advocate made some bold statements including the following:
-- T-P veteran Sarah Pagpones, was named The Advocate's new New Orleans bureau chief. Pagones worked on several of the T-P's regional editions as well as an editorial writer. T-P staffers give her good reviews as someone capable of the job.
-- David Manship, publisher of The Advocate, issued a statement directed at the New Orleans market in which he emphasized his family's committtment to daily print journalism. Some excerpts:
(My) family has been providing a daily newspaper to the citizens of Louisiana since the early 1900s. In fact, like the newspaper in New Orleans, The Advocate's origins date back 170 years to 1842. And like New Orleanians, the citizens of Baton Rouge demand quality journalism and are accustomed to receiving it in the form of a daily newspaper. We are proud to meet that demand.
We recognize that the way people get their news is changing. And we will keep up with these changes by delivering news in all the different formats our subscribers use, including print. As trends evolve, The Advocate will continue to deliver a daily, printed newspaper to our subscribers.
Changes in the way The Times-Picayune gathers and reports news have revealed that there is a demand for a daily newspaper in New Orleans that will not be met by any New Orleans publications, beginning October 1, 2012. This would end a 175-year tradition of delivering a daily newspaper to New Orleanians and make New Orleans the largest city in the U.S. without a daily printed paper. At The Advocate, we think New Orleans and its citizens deserve a quality newspaper printed each and every day, and we intend to provide one.
-- Manship's letter, which was distributed by the New Orleans based Peter Mayer Advertising agency, also included information that many people have been looking for, a number to subscribe to The Advocate's New Orleans edition: 504-529-0522. According to Manship, daily delivery service will begin in New Orleans Oct.1, the same day the Newhouses implement their T-P scale down. Free copies of The Advocate will be distributed throughout New Orleans beginning Sept. 24.
-- Manship's letter was issued last Wednesday. On Friday, the Mayer agency issued a follow-up statement with this headline: PENT UP DEMAND FOR DAILY NEWSPAPER IN NEW ORLEANS FLOODS THE ADVOCATE'S CALL CENTER. According to the release, additional operators have been added to handle the volume. Subscriptions can also be arranged via a website: http://theadvocate.com/help/subscriptions.
An interested source not connected to The Advocate confirmed anecdotal information that subscriptions are going well.
Finally, last Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, I read my home edition of The Times-Picayune, noticed the bylines of some reporters who will be leaving by the end of the month, appreciated the hurricane coverage, paged through the general news, read some of the columns and perused the sports section while still being shocked over the lunacy by which those daily editions will not be available in a few weeks.
By contrast, here are the closing lines to Manship's letter:
We have earned the trust of Baton Rouge citizens by delivering a quality daily newspaper for more than a hundred years. And we are committed to doing the same in New Orleans.
We will be able to test that committment as soon as the first Monday in October.
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