Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Brave Newhouse World


This is one of those posts I’ve been subconsciously avoiding putting pixels down on for quite a while.  There is so much running through my head on the matter it’s a daunting task to download my thoughts into a quasi-comprehensible essay but I’ve let it go too long and I need a good mental enema on the subject so I can move on to bigger and better thunks.  Therefore, I’m about to lay a big dump on you guys so you can stop reading now if you don’t want to be tortured by the inner workings of my noodle.

The subject is the current state of New Orleans’ media (online and offline), the fallout of Newhouse’s cull of the Times-Picayune, and the state of investigative journalism in the city.  I think I have a somewhat unique perspective on these issues and I’d like to share that perspective with AZ readers so you can at least know some of the things I have learned over the past six years of writing this blog.  I’m probably going to ruffle some feathers but this is an industry of feather rufflers so I’m guessing we can take our medicine without any hard feelings.  At least I’m hoping that’s the case.

What have we lost?

In the wake of Newhouse’s heartless cull of the Time-Picayune, I think it’s important to step outside our collective outrage and ask ourselves...what...exactly....are we losing?  Besides a physical paper being printed daily (I’m not not necessarily poo-pooing that aspect but I’m also not going to focus on it because I think it’s not as big a deal as everyone else thinks it is), what are the tangible “qualities” of the Times-Picayune that are forever lost? 

In order to answer that question I think we have to first set aside our sense of nostalgia for the medium, newspapers, and even the brand, The Times-Picayune, and look at the function of the entity instead of the mere form.  I realize the form aspects are deeply personal to readers and newspaper folks alike but I think the bigger issue is to examine the qualitative elements of “journalism (angels singing, trumpets blowing”) that are now diminished or even lost by Newhouse’s machinations.  In order to understand that we have to look at what the function of journalism is.
  
Here are the primary functions of a localized journalistic entity as I see it:
  1. To record events for the historic record.
  2. To inform the public of events in their community, i.e., governance, business, social issues, cultural issues, etc.
  3. To seek out information that might not be readily available to the public but greatly affects the public, i.e., hidden legislation, public corruption, private/public real estate transactions, etc.
  4. To provide information on candidates for public office and/or private individuals who may affect the community as a whole.
Those items, to me, should be the goals of any journalistic entity...newspaper, magazine, television station, radio station, website, and yes...blog (at least of the variety of AZ).  A quick summary would be, “to inform the public”.  Under the banner of the 1st amendment, a journalistic entity’s sole purpose should be to keep the community they serve informed at all costs...all costs.  It should even be put above the entity’s capitalistic goals.....in theory. 


What we are currently seeing with Newhouse and the Times-Picayune scenario defies that last sentiment.  I think that single point is at the root of our outrage.  We know that the Times-Picayune was still profitable under the business model it was implementing previous to the Newhouse cull.  Most of us believe that while not perfect, the staff of the TP was exceptional on the whole in comparison to other metropolitan newspapers in the U.S.  I believe that the TP was providing all of the essential elements of a journalistic entity that I listed above...and usually doing that rather well....sometimes exceptionally.

We had it nice, Nawlins....we really did. 

I think it is very apparent to this community that Newhouse’s decision was not based on the quality of the product they were providing.  This decision was clearly a financial decision.  In fact, it’s even worse than that....it was a speculative, financial decision.  They have sacrificed quality for quantity in a cold, harsh capitalistic move.  If they were a company that makes cufflinks, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.


But the Times-Picayune is something so much more than a mere business model.  It's a business that provides a vital and necessary service to the public.  The TP is a critical element of our democracy.  We've relied on the publication for decades to tell us what's fo' true.  


We've also taken it for granted....until now.


The move has enraged the deeply loyal New Orleans community and reverberated across the country as the death knell for not only physical newspapers but a critical element of democracy in general.  It is a distinct milestone of corporate interests superseding the best interests of the public in what I believe is the most vital part of our republic:  the fourth estate and by proxy the first amendment.

I suppose I don’t have to point out that capitalism and democracy aren’t necessarily congruent processes.  But I would like to point out that sometimes they are and quite often when we least expect it...I’ll expound in a minute.
  
Was it really a good business decision?

Jim Collins’ books, particularly “Built to Last” and “Good to Great”, are required reading in many business schools around America.  I’m a horrible business man but I have read both of those books and I clearly understand what the collected data in the books show along with Collins (and his team)’s interpretation.  To summarize, “Find one thing and do it better than anyone else”. 

In other words, don’t try to create a monopoly on a quantitative model....create a monopoly on quality. 

Newhouse just did the exact opposite.  Not only did they do the opposite, they sacrificed an existing qualitative monopoly to pursue a speculative quantitative venture.  Maybe the business game has changed since Collins published his thesis but somehow I think this Newhouse move is going to end up in a future Collins’ book as a dire warning.

I suppose they could argue that evolving technology forced their hand....there were companies at the turn of the 20th century that were really good at creating horse drawn buggies....but in this case they not only culled the workforce they had which made the physical paper, they culled the talent that filled the paper up with the content that sold the papers.  They culled their monopoly on journalism in the city. 

Not only did they sacrifice that monopoly, they are attempting to migrate the function of that monopoly into a horridly inferior form....Nola.com.  I realize I don’t have a lot of room to talk here, the form of this blog is highly lacking but I am a one man crew.  Nola.com is now the flagship of the entire Newhouse entity in New Orleans and it has never, ever, ever come close to empowering the strengths and qualities of the Times-Picayune as a journalistic resource.
  
Try doing a simple search for a story on Nola.com’s search engine...you will have much better luck finding what you’re looking for on the site if you use Google.  A couple of weeks ago I was trying to find a story that had just been referenced the day before in one of their articles and I couldn’t find it anywhere in their archives.
  
This is a very disconcerting factor when looking at my number one function of a journalistic entity:  to record events for the historical record.  If you’ve got stories that are only being published online, what is their archiving policy?  Better yet, what is their editorial policy of those stories?  Can they be altered in archive?  Have they broached these questions?  When you’ve got a room full of reporters rushing to publish information online as fast as they can....when does the edit finish?  I’ve watched stories change before my eyes on Nola.com.  I’m not necessarily saying this isn’t ethical I’m just curious when is a story considered “printed”.

I’m not sure Newhouse even understands what their own vision is. 

I’m trying to think of a good analogy here....they just took the staff of a profitable, quality, four star restaurant, fired nearly half of them and are now trying to squeeze them into a taco truck while providing lip service to their customers that everything will be just as good as it ever was.  


No offense against taco trucks...I’m a taco truck.

Alright, let’s get back to the original question, “What have we lost?”.  I think the most important thing we have lost as a city is the quality of journalism that the TP provided.

What do I mean by “quality of journalism”?  Let me dig back into the murky, alkaloid-riddled past which is my college career and see if I can muster up an answer. 

The golden rule of journalism

I still don’t know if I would call blogging, “journalism”.  In the most direct interpretation of the word I think it absolutely qualifies...it is “journaling” information.  But unlike many journalists who end up in the profession, I actually studied journalism in college (majored in broadcast journalism/anthropology at the University of Mississippi) and I was beat over the head with a single, sacred praxis ...objectivity.  Most blogs are certainly not objective...especially this one. 

Nonetheless, objectivity is the golden rule of journalism. I get it.  I know the playbook.  I understand why a journalist must strive for objectivity and I have great respect for that ethical code.  I actually understand it on a much deeper level because it also happens to be a guiding principle in anthropology as well.

I think the qualitative factor that we most admired in the Times-Picayune was their level of objectivity.  I know there are a lot folks rolling their eyes at that statement but just hear me out and I think I can bring you back to my perspective...after I bash the hell out of them. 
    
There supposedly exists an iron curtain in a newsroom between reporting/opinion, facts/conjecture, journalism/punditry.  If you’ve ever seen the incredible Ron Howard film, The Paper, Robert Duvall plays the role of Bernie White, the publisher of a fictional NYC tabloid called the New York Sun.  Bernie loathes editorials....he despises the fact that he even has to publish “opinion” in his paper.   

The movie was made in 1994 during the birth pangs of the internet and I suspect if Bernie White was still alive in 2012 and witnessed the birth of “internet journalism” he would now be a hopeless, bitter alcoholic who had completely withdrawn from society.  The coalescence of journalism and opinion has manifested itself in ways Bernie couldn’t have dreamed of in the internet age where almost everyone has the power of the press.  A purist like Bernie White would loathe American Zombie and I’m sure there are some real world folks who consider this blog “A pox on investigative journalism in the city”.

James Gill eloquently broached the issue of opinion and objectivity within a news entity during the Vitter/Melancon race:

Gill downgraded the iron wall to a Chinese wall and rightly so.  Anyone who has read the Times-Picayune on a regular basis will have noticed the osmotic flow of information...privileged information...that flows through the membrane that separates the TP's "reporters" and "commentators" (if you haven’t noticed, I will point one very personal instance of this phenomenon out further into this rant).
  
In contrast to a paper, most television newsrooms have no semblance of a Chinese wall between reporting and punditry because they simply don’t need it.   Local broadcast news entities simply don't have time to add punditry into their 10-15 minute news blocks and 30 second to 2 minute news stories before they have to move on to what most people really watch local broadcast news for...the weather. 

My broadcast journalism instructor used to tell us, “The second coming of Christ gets 2:10.”, even though I never really bought into that rule. 

However, a television reporter does have a distinct advantage over a newspaper writer when it comes to injecting opinion...we get to hear a television reporter’s inflection as he/she narrates the story and we get to see their facial expressions.  Can you hear Lee Zurik or Norman Robinson’s voice in your head right now? 
   
There are editorials on local television stations, though.  Most notably WWL-TV who first aired Phil Johnson’s editorials in 1962.  Johnson even attempted to justify his editorial existence in his opening salvo:
“There is one question.  Why?  Why speak out?  
Why present editorial opinion The answer is simple enough.  We think it’s necessary.
This station believes New Orleans needs another voice, another attitude, another opinion.  But we further believe it should, it must be a responsible voice, a responsible attitude, a responsible opinion.  This we intend to provide. 
New Orleans, almost overnight, has found itself propelled to the very forefront of an incredible age of space.  We need great leaders, we need men of ability, we need ideas.
Our leaders we elect, men of ability, we can train.  Ideas are harder to come by. 
It is the fervent prayer of this station, that the ideas we may project in our editorials can, tomorrow, next week, next month, through the years, help provide for this, our New Orleans, and you, our people, a bright, happy future.”
Half a century later, do you think Johnson was right?  I don’t know.   I’m not saying he was or wasn’t right, I’m just asking if his editorials actually made the city a “brighter, happier place”.  Did his opinion really bear fruit as to the direction of the city or was it irrelevant to the simple, unbiased facts presented by the traditional news entities in New Orleans?  Did WWL-TV editorials “create great leaders, train men of ability, and foster new ideas”?

I don’t know the answer to those questions but what I think I do know is that there truly is no such thing as “pure objectivity” in journalism.  I think some entities lean towards it more than others but Gill’s Chinese wall has always placed him on the inside of a Chinese democracy...the Times-Picayune newsroom.  The information he’s getting is already biased by the time he gets it. 

Phil Johnson’s “ideas” were mostly birthed on an island called the WWL-TV newsroom and not from firsthand experience.

My point?  There is no such thing as true objectivity. 

Regardless of how much journalists pretend, they are never purely objective.  That doesn’t mean one should strive for pure subjectivity or simply ignore the rules they teach in journalism schools.   It simply means it’s important to do gut checks....realize that sometimes no matter what lengths you go to in order to get the story right and be objective you will ultimately only half-ass succeed at it.  But the effort is what creates the quality...it is noticed even by the laymen.  The effort to lay it out accurately and without bias is what comprises the “quality” in journalism and any cogent person who reads a story will recognize it.
  
I don’t know how to build cars but I recognize a well built car when I see it.  I don’t know how a Mercedes-Benz is built but I recognize the time and effort that went towards its creation.  Although I rarely get to notice it. 

What is objectivity in the Brave Newhouse World?  
“Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth.  By simply not mentioning certain subjects...totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have by the most eloquent denunciations.” - Aldous Huxley
Objectivity in a newsroom does not lie solely on a reporter’s shoulders, it first begins with the news director who decides what that reporter should actually be writing about and works its way through editors, producers, photojournalists (yes they can drive and affect a story as much as any written word), publishers and Dambala forbid...corporate owners.

The loss of objectivity begins with a newsroom’s decision to report a story or not to report a story.  I just pointed out a local example of that when I was working with Lucy Bustamante on the con-profits Cedric Richmond and Ike Spears were running.  Another example is Garlandfill’s egregious breach of objectivity when he took a “loan” from the king cobra himself, “Fred Heebe”
  
Through the six year span of this blog I can recall many examples of “failure to report” by all of our local news outlets.

Most recently, I would reference the Hospitality Zone legislation where power brokers in the city attempted to strong arm a bill through the state legislature that would have consolidated tremendous power and money into the hands of a select few private interests and individuals in the city...even the power to tax without representation and imminent domain (as the original bill was written).  We heard very little from our local television stations on the matter and this matter was bigger than anything this city has seen during the current mayor’s tenure with the exception of, perhaps, crime.  It affected every single citizen in this city and would have shaped the future landscape of New Orleans in dramatic ways....gentrifying ways.

The TP and City Business did report on the subject and even added conjecture to oppose the bill as it was originally authored.  Good on them.  I think the TP lived up to Johnson’s good journalism vision on both fronts, objectively and subjectively.


But at times they haven’t.

During the Richmond/Gao race AZ (not just me) did a tremendous amount of work ferreting out information....verifiable information....that showed Cedric and Ike Spears were running what we now call a “con-profit” scam with the entities New Orleans Computer Access Center and New Orleans Community Enrichment, Inc.  


As I stated before, WWL-TV shut down Lucy Bustamante after she had jumped every hurdle and found even more egregious examples of con-profits around the city.  


The TP went one step further...they plucked a single claim I made about Richmond buying a diamond bezel for a Rolex watch on A nonprofit credit card and ignored every other criminal, verifiable fact I had reported about the two nonprofits.  Never mind all of the other issues I had brought up that actually had a paper trail...they seemed to be concerned only with what they could disprove about AZ’s claims and the Rolex was a glaring opportunity.

It was a glaring opportunity because Richmond’s campaign had managed to coerce the jeweler, Jack Sutton, into recanting his original claims to four separate reporters that led me to write the story and the campaign even managed to produce a receipt that contradicted the allegation.  A receipt that completely contradicted Sutton’s original story.  The back story on this is a long, sordid tale but suffice to say that I have always admitted fault on this blog when I get things wrong.  I believe with 100% conviction that I did not get this wrong.  

Regardless, the other side of the TP's Chinese wall saw fit to pick up the opportunity to bash “blogs” and run with it...and run...and run.  Garlandfill even jumped on the bandwagon and ranted, “You can’t trust these blogs!”.  Oh, the irony.

I point all this out because Richmond is now our congressman.  The majority of the public did not get the full story.  The pundits on the other side of the Chinese wall didn’t know the full story.  


However, a handful of reporters knew the story, the people on both sides of the campaigns now know the full story, Jack Sutton knows the story....Cedric Richmond and Ike Spears know the story....the public does not.  I’m not sure if it would have made a difference in the election or not but I believe the public deserves to know this candidate we sent to Washington, D.C. was running the same scam City Business and I are raking Diana Bajoie over the coals for now.  The same scam that sent the majority of the Jefferson clan to jail. 

(By the way...why hasn’t Archie Jefferson been charged with murder?)

The public wasn’t informed of these issues because it simply wasn’t fully reported by the MSM resources.

As Huxley stated, the decision on whether or not to report a story is perhaps the most critical issue of objectivity in journalism.  By downsizing the TP staff, Newhouse has not only limited the choice to tell a story, it’s limited the ability to tell stories especially in regards to the loss of beat reporters.  This....this....is what we’ve really lost.  The medium itself, the loss of the brand....all these things are irrelevant in respect to the loss of the ability to tell stories and inform the public.  There is no technology that can supplant a set of human eyes and ears...a reporter....following and researching a story.

Who is the most objective? 

Obviously I don’t think the TP was perfect but as I stated earlier I don’t think it was that darn shabby either.  Now...I don’t see how it could possibly be anything other than a shell of what it formerly was.  From my perspective in the past five years of writing this blog, and you must admit it is a very unique perspecitve, I believe the TP has, on the whole, been the most objective news entity in the city.  Seriously. 

If I had to rank New Orleans entities in respect to objectivity....actually, I don’t have to and probably shouldn’t but I’m going to anyway....here's how I see it:
  1. The Times-Picayune - keep in mind I am not bundling Nola.com into that mix.  We just saw the future of Nola.com’s objectivity last week :)
  2. Fox 8 - This is, of course, after Zurik arrived.  Now keep in mind I think they are still subject to much corporate pressure but it’s pretty easy to figure out if you just look at the intersection of Tom Bentsen’s interests and the current news cycle.  Zurik has definitely gone into unchartered territory with Jiffa the Hutt, Admiral Klumpp-at-the-bar, and most notably his “Dirty Deeds” dig.  Still...there’s the Val Bracy issue....a major black eye on the station.
  3. WDSU - While Travers Mack and the gang at channel 6 aren’t quite running at the same speed as Zurik and Fox 8, I still have to put them at the third position.
  4. WWL-TV - Yeah, I know this goes against traditional knowledge to put channel 4 so low but I’ve simply seen too much while writing this blog and after all this is completely my perspective.  I have high hopes though, as they just picked up two of the heavy hitters from the TP, David Hammer (thanks for that HT, sir) and Brendan McCarthy.  Obviously, they are getting serious again and my wife is particularly excited at the prospect of seeing Mr. Hammer in 1080i as she recently commented, “He’s soooo cute!”                          
  5. ABC 26:

Nuff' said.


I’m not including other entities because I was trying to stick to the daily MSM entities that do investigative reporting.  Gambit, Jeremy Alford, and the crew have done some great stuff and so has City Business as of late but by nature I think weeklies and monthlies will always be more subjective simply because it’s the nature of the beast.

I’m not even including radio stations because it’s almost all punditry.

The Lens has certainly kicked ass in the past few years but I’m not sure if it qualifies as a daily or MSM.  If it does it may be number 2...or even numero uno.

Who is the least objective?  

That brings me to me...and the crew....the blogs (BUY YOUR TICKETS, AND DONATE, NOW).  


We are a slap in the face to objectivity.  But you know what?  I think that’s healthy.  


We’re not supposed to be objective.
  
Honest?  Yes.  Accurate?  As much as possible.  Fair and balanced?  Not a fucking chance.  And you know what?  I think that is a good thing.  We have no corporate masters.  Nor do we have a corporate safety net.  My news director is my subconscious.  I write about whatever the hell I want to, when I want to...as much as I want to. 

Most of us are simply pissed off citizens sending dispatches from the fringes of the city where we dwell.  Angry beat reporters, if you will.
  
There are still some people who are from that world—Seymour Hersh is a great example. The guy grew up in newspapers and still just fucking hates people, and works in this dirty little office in Washington—he doesn't do fancy lunches.
Not that bloggers are of the same caliber as Hersh but the motivus is the same.
  
Another excerpt from Phil Johnson’s first WWL-TV editorial:
“Commentary that will aim not to provide but to educate.  Not to offend, but to explain; not to mislead, on the contrary, to seek only truth.”
I agree on everything....except the “not to offend” part.  Considering the offenses perpetrated on this community by crooked rat bastards since Johnson spoke those words in 1962, I think it’s clearly time the rat bastards get their share of "offense"...but I appreciate his objectivity.

I digress...I really digressed.

Maybe things ain’t so bad after all

Let me point out # 4 in that list again.  We didn’t lose Hammer and McCarthy.  In fact, I’m kind of excited to see what kind of fire is now lit under their asses and WWL-TV’s arse.  Can you imagine those two guys with Zurik’s resources and air time?
   
You know earlier on when I said sometimes harsh capitalistic decisions have a strange way of serving democracy?  Maybe this is one of those strange times.  


I feel rather randy about it.  

Summary

When you strip everything away...I think the most important thing the city of New Orleans has lost from Newhouse’s wonder dump is the journalistic objectivity provided by the Times-Picayune. 

Ashe’   

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am very to see how Hammer and McCarthy will be used at WWL. Because along with fellow TP alum Perlstein, WWL now has an investigative team of 3, and this is in addition to its regular reporters. This makes it a (comparatively) resource-rich local TV news operation -- certainly richer than the others. Is it possible that, rather than be ordered to turn a package at 5, 6 and/or 10, they will be allowed to develop stories and do real investigative pieces that aren't just for sweeps? Maybe even some long-form stuff?

And please add to your list of news manipulators the occasional GM (ret.) who might insist that producers devote precious newsblock time to stories about his wife's pet cause, or who might not-so-subtly ensure that reporters handle his good friend the mayor with kid gloves. Sweet. And the public is never the wiser. That's why I love the blogs. At least you know what's up. And if there's subterfuge, well -- no one ever promised you there wouldn't be.

Good piece. Thought-provoking. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I know that Mr. Occam would tell us never to assume deviousness when common stupidity will suffice to explain a decision. But I find it difficult to believe that ANYONE could really be stupid enough to actually think what is going on with the T-P is a good business decision. To do so, you'd have to believe the following:

- It's a good business decision to voluntarily give up a profitable monopoly market in order to "concentrate" on a market which (a) has virtually no natural capital barrier to entry, (b) is incredibly crowded and competitive, and (c) puts you in direct competition with one of the most highly regarded and valuable companies in the world (Google).

- It's a good business decision to abandon the business model that uses essentially all of your organization's considerable existing skills (see: Pulitzers, multiple) in order to "concentrate" on one in which your limited forays to date have resulted in universal derision.

- It's a good business decision to make a move that angers and alienates your entire customer base. Is there any historical precedent for such a decision to turn out to be profitable in the long run?

I just don't think it's believable that anyone is that stupid. So if this move wasn't really made for profit motive, it begs the question: what is the point of purposely destroying the T-P? If the worry was really legal liability as AZ has suggested in the past, wouldn't it have been easier (and more effetive) to just sell the paper?

I can't figure it out. I can't even come up with a reasonable-sounding theory. Maybe someone else can?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about Allen Johnson. He used to be the head writer at Gambit and now freelances primarily with Bloomberg news. He also has a column with New Orleans magazine. He also is an investigative reporter, especially on NOPD matters. He can deliver a solid punch or two. And, no, I am not Allen Johnson.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about Allen Johnson. He used to be the head writer for Gambit and went big time with Bloomberg News. Still based here, he is an investigative reporter known to deliver solid punches at NOPD and on other crime matters. He also has a regular column at New Orleans magazine and can sometimes be seen on WYES' Informed Sources. And, no, I am not Allen Johnson.... I just read his stuff.

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

Anon 1...yes, yes, yes.

Anon 2....I love you. I don't know who you are, I don't want to know.

But the fact that you started off width Occams' razor and then stated the hidden thesis of that post was brilliant. I didn't think anyone would understand what I was saying...because I never came out and said it.

Wow...whoever you are...I am humbled.

Anonymous said...

Jason
What you will wind up seeing and to a point are already starting to see if the local TV websites morphing into a news website. By that I mean the TV story is only 2 minutes but the meat of the story will be on the TV station's website because the website war has begun for TV advertisers since the Times Picayune's website & news coverage imploded.

The good news is that we will have 3 (possibly 4 if WGNO ever comes out of its coma)investigative newsources where website print content will matter much more than a brief bullet point TV broadcast.

Lastly, I'm not sure why Gambit is so upset about the loss of the Times Picayune's investigative news section. Gambit hasn't done one investigative piece on local politicians since the rag has been around. Gambit is more of a covert political cheerleader rag for the politicians they are in bed with. Maybe when Clancy dies and a new owner takes over then Gambit will be relevant as a local news authority.

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

Last Anon...completely agree with you on the first paragrah, I disagree with you on the last.

Gambit has produced some really good stories over the years that woudn't be mainstream fare. But also, it's not really fair to classify it in the same category as fully staffed investigative newsroom and I'm not really sure it needs to aspire to that goal.

Anonymous said...

I have thought for decades that the TP is/was one of the best papers in the country. My buying and reading papers everywhere I traveled led me to that opinion. There are few papers its equal, especially post-K.

I have never understood how a newspaper can make money online by giving away its product. Online advertising is not enough. The NY Times started out online as paid-only, switched to free, and is now back to some free/the rest paid.

Online, the TP only has local content to sell. News on any non-local story can be found elsewhere. There is no reason to go to nola.com for it. So how does it make sense to reduce the very staff that produces the content that is salable?

It is fantasy for Newhouse to believe that New Orleanians don't realize this. And that assertions that the quality will be the same with reduced reporting staff could ever be true.

This isn't anything brilliant, but I had to say it.

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

It's brilliant in the fact that you're yelling the emperor has no clothes.

Therefore...it's brilliant.

swampwoman said...

"I’m not sure Newhouse even understands what their own vision is."

I read this and the first thing that came to mind is Jindal and John White's "making it up as they go" reincarnation of education in Louisiana. It makes me shudder anticipating the mess both situations will create.

The thing that blows me away about the Times Picayune lately is every day there is at least one, usually more letters to the editor by NOLA citizens mourning the loss of their beloved paper. But exactly what is the TP accomplihing by doing this? Rubbing salt in the collective wound, a wound that may not heal? What a slap in the face by Newhouse.

Its a done deal - I got my TP bill last week and its official, the price of a paper subscription will change in October. Oh how I wish Warren Buffett or some other benevolent entity would swoop in and kick Newhouse to the motherfucking curb. New Orleans deserves so much better than this...