In Jim Amoss’ defense of the decline of The Times-Picayune which appeared on the front page of last Thursday’s issue, there was one line in particular that stood out to me: “Readers no longer want today’s news tomorrow. They want it now.” That line was hard to miss because it was even used as a pull quote on a back page.
That line, it occurred to me, reflects the essence of the issue and why it is a disaster to reduce printing from daily to three times a week. First, let me say that I have always had respect for the T-P’s Editor. I just disagree vehemently with what is happening to the newspaper. The point is not so much that readers want today’s news now; that information is already available. As I am writing this there are various beeps from TV station web sites, NOLA.com and even government agencies, telling me about a crime and accidents or the latest on the Saints investigations.
We do not need for a great daily newspaper to gut itself to provide the services that we already have. Instead, we need for a daily to be a daily, that morning summary of the news that also offers opinions analysis and gives the details about the stories for which we were beeped the day before. There is nothing like a daily newspaper. That’s why so many people are upset about what is happening.
In keeping with the spirit of the times, and since you are reading this on the Internet, here’s my own news update:
Ping. T-P’s ownerships just do not get it. On the day of the staff cutbacks The New York Times quoted Steven Newhouse, Chairman of Advance.net, the Newhouse web division, saying, “We have no intention of selling no matter how much noise there is out there.”
So now we see the mindset of the opposition’s leadership, a guy in New York who dismisses all of our concerns as “noise.”
We’re trying to save the dignity of our city, Mr. Newhouse. That’s not noise, that’s passion.