Last Monday and Tuesday I got to experience a daily local newspaper though the folks in New Orleans were denied one. I was at a conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., and each morning there were copies of the daily, The Arizona Republic, in the hotel lobby. Back home, the former daily’s Monday edition had been reduced to a sports tabloid; in the Phoenix area, the Gannett-owned newspaper was bursting with the news of the day.
Fortunately for the New York-based Newhouses, they live in an area where the prominent newspapers are not owned by them, so they can read the daily news in the Times or the Post or several New Jersey papers. Because of the Newhouses, however, we, alone among major American cites, have to change our news consumption habits.
I never doubted that the remaining staff of The Times-Picayune would be able to produce a decent newspaper on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. In effect, they are doing three Sunday papers, but that’s not the way I want my news dispersed. Working people only have time for Sunday papers on Sundays. No one had time for double the news on a weekday, not even double the comic pages. Sure the Monday paper was thin, but so was my time frame on Mondays. The daily fit into our lives.
As for the town’s new daily, The Advocate, I am still hoping for the best. It has hit some bumps getting the circulation and deliveries in place, but that seems like something that can be solved soon. (Advocate Publisher David Manship has said that usually a plan to move into New Orleans would take a year to develop; because of the suddenness of the situation, they had to pull it together in eight weeks.) There is still some high profile former T-P talent out there. It would behoove The Advocate to bring some on board.
At least with The Advocate, we know who we are dealing with—David Manship, a native Louisianian who has had a condo in New Orleans so he actually knows his way around town, is the publisher. By contrast, the Newhouses have tried to isolate themselves with a layered corporate structure headed at the local level by an enforcer from Alabama. The bottom rung that he heads is called “Nola Media Group,” a name intended to sound local though no true local would do to the T-P what the Newhouses have.
So, for now, we need to be mindful of The Advocate, accept the T-P’s reduced role in the community yet, nevertheless, expect it to be a competent news source, and hope that the other news media can rise to the occasion.
Certainly we deserve coverage as good as what is available to the people of Scottsdale.
Krewe: The Early New Orleans Carnival- Comus to Zulu by Errol Laborde is available at all area bookstores. Books can also be ordered via email at email@example.com or 895-2266.
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