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Where Does Our News Come From?
Earlier this week, my editor, Errol Laborde, lambasted Steven Newhouse and Advance Media's comments that dismissed as "noise" the rumblings of dissatisfaction from the recent changes at the Times-Picayune. Specifically, he dubbed that "guy in New York" as "the opposition."
As another guy from New York (my first home was in Queens), I started wondering how many other local papers were owned from out out of town. As it turns out, the Times-Picayune is in good company.
The Shreveport Times, the daily with the third-highest circulation in the state, is owned by Gannett, a company headquarted in Tyson's Corner, Va. Gannett went through a minor kerfluffle last year when it laid off 700 employees in the same year that it doubled its CEO's salary (and gave him a $1.25 million bonus). Gannett also owns newspapers with five-figure distribution numbers in Monroe, Lafayette and Alexandria and owns smaller properties throughout the state.
GateHouse Media, which is based in Perinton, N.Y. (near Albany), owns newspapers with distribution numbers up to 10,000 throughout the state, mostly up north and out west.
Down south, the Houma Courier and Thibodaux Daily Comet are owned by Halifax Media Holdings, based out of Daytona Beach, Fla. This is another case of New York withdrawing from Louisiana – until January of this year, the papers belonged to the New York Times Co.
The real local boys, as far as printing is concerned, are small papers, generally printed weekly and in numbers between 2,000 and 4,000 (although there are a few outliers). Also, the state's larger, alt-weekly style papers are still owned locally and independently (Gambit, Lafayette's Independent, Louisiana Weekly, Lake Charles' Times of Southwest Louisiana).
The big daily (second in the state, between the Times-Picayune and the Shreveport Times) that's still owned and published in-state is the Baton Rouge Advocate, published by the Capital City Press, the scion of the Manship family.