For the first time in more than half a century, a major metro daily newspaper is stepping up against the long-revered New Orleans Times-Picayune. It’s a battle between Louisiana’s two largest newspapers, and it’s being closely eyed by media analysts and major newspapers across the nation.
It’s been widely reported that The Advocate has been preparing for the official launch of its daily New Orleans edition, the timing of which coincides with The Times-Picayune’s start of a three-day-a-week print edition and a big shift to digital news. In return, The Times-Picayune decided to start its own operations in Baton Rouge.
The decision by Times-Pic owner Advance Publications/Nola Media Group to scale back its daily print newspaper has sparked an outrage in the Crescent City, and it’s an outcry that’s been unique as other cities going through the same digital transformation have not experienced nearly the same level of backlash from residents.
An Associated Press report published on ABC News’ website notes that the T-P/Advo situation is a history in the making that’s got the full attention of the newspaper industry as it unfolds:
Nola Media is telling readers the print edition will be familiar, complete and even better. Prototype pages included an expanded opinion section and color comics for the Wednesday edition, which will carry three days’ worth of comics and crossword puzzles.
The Advocate has built its reputation on accountability reporting in state government and coverage of Louisiana State University, particularly school sports.
Both newspapers have steadily shifted to online news.
Edward Atorino, a media industry analyst at Benchmark Co., said other newspapers in major metropolitan markets will closely watch The Times-Picayune’s experiment.
Audit Bureau of Circulation figures show paid circulation for The Times-Picayune at just under 155,000 for Sunday and more than 134,000 daily. It has never come close to the more than 257,000 figure prior to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The paper won two Pulitzers for its coverage of Katrina.
The Advocate hopes to grow its print audience by 20,000 in the New Orleans area. Currently, they sell about 400 papers a day there.
Publisher David Manship said 10,000 free copies were being distributed this week.
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DEC 5 Here's the latest in the contest to see who gets the last word - Attorney General Buddy Caldwell or state Sen. Robert Adley. They're trading "Nuh-uhs" and "Un-huhs" over the issue of contigency contracts for public lawsuits. The guys over at LaPolitics kinda started this urinary competition, and they're posting the latest here.
DEC 5 Here's a post by blogger Walt Bennetti about a $2 million program management contract that Kenner Mayor Michael Yenni plans to award. Bennetti has a problem with no-bid contracts, but they're pretty common, especially for professional services (because really, who wants the cheapest doctor?) But the real problem Bennetti has is with the fact that the entity slated to receive the contract also happened to contribute to Yenni's campaign. Maybe he's just following the governor's lead?
DEC 5 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the really embarassing state of Louisiana's universities in this post. Grambling's football facilites were bad enough to warrant a New York Times photo essay, and he provides a link. And just recently, a concrete roof panel in LSU's College of Art and Design collapsed, closing a portion of the building indefinitely. Is this how we want our state's higher ed institutions to be?
DEC 5 Here's a post on the National Journal about another speech our governor gave to a bunch of people who live in another state. This time, he was ranting about President Obama, energy policies and, of all things, Lady Gaga. Keystone is good, so is fracking, and climate change is a big joke, Bobby says. What did Gaga do? She joined a movement, with people like Yoko Ono, that opposes fracking. Listen up Bobby: you might not want to alienate Gaga. You never know where those little monsters might be hiding -- and how often they vote.
DEC 5 Yesterday, we were perplexed by conflicting stories on the Blade blog and in the Advertiser about Louisiana's National Guard and same-sex partner benefits. The Blade reported that the guard would be paying them; the Advertiser said it would not. This story in the Washington Post clears it up: the benefits will be paid.
DEC 5 Clearly, somebody over at the state Democratic Party is familiar with the process of domain registration. This is the second time they've pulled the rug out from under a Republican candidate by reserving a domain they might want. Last time, it was RiserForCongress.com (hope they didn't pay too much for THAT one). This time it is VitterForGovernor.com, this post on the Politicus USA blog tells us.
DEC 5 Here's a pretty alarming story from WAFB about an announcement by Bobby Jindal's administration that hackers apparently got their hands on some citizens' personal info through JP Morgan Chase, the company that gets paid to send you your tax refund on a debit card. But hey, don't worry, Jindal's people say: there's no indication the hackers used the info "fraudulently." Oh, OK. Whew.
DEC 5 In this week's post, Jim Brown is blogging about Bobby Jindal and what the governor should do to solve his myriad problems. He even describes a phone call he 'received' from the guv asking for advice. Bottom line? Try staying home and doing the job you're supposed to be doing, Jim advises.
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