The Daily Advertiser’s plan to publish an exclusive special section, “In the event that STM wins Friday night,” came to a screeching halt Thursday when readers and other local team boosters — understandably upset that the daily paper had no plans to publish issues for any other winning teams — called foul. STM is playing Acadiana High School at Cougar Stadium tonight; the winner advances to the Class 5A state championship game in the Superdome next Saturday.
“I got this email forwarded to me today,” wrote a reader, who posted the email on the Advertiser’s blog. “I think it’s pretty much a low blow by TDA.” In the above referenced email, which was sent out by Account Executive Jan LeBlanc, the daily notes that it will be doing a six to eight page special section in the paper Dec. 9 congratulating STM on going to the dome. “If they do not win we will not be doing the section,” LeBlanc wrote, proceeding to list advertising pricing for the section.
That post set off a firestorm of criticism and the paper quickly backtracked on its STM-only plan. Read more here.
What's more, the STM/Acadiana High matchup is not the only semifinal battle being fought tonight involving local teams. Teurlings Catholic travels to New Orleans to face No. 1 Karr in a 4A bout that could end with the local high school — like STM — making its first-ever state title appearance next weekend. And reigning state champ and top seed Notre Game of Crowley hopes to continue its winning tradition in Baton Rouge, taking on Parkview Baptist, which it defeated in the 3A finals last year.
In response to a phone inquiry from The Independent Weekly, Blake Spivak, the daily’s sales and marketing director, says the paper will publish a special section for any local winning team, provided it has sufficient advertising support. Spivak offered the following explanation of what happened via email:
The Daily Advertiser planned to pre-sell a commemorative section highlighting STM’s first-ever journey to the Superdome. If the business community does not support the publication — it would not publish.
At my direction, our sales staff began selling to potential advertisers Monday afternoon. Subsequently, we were contacted by several AHS Rams supporters inquiring why we would “show favoritism” to one school over another. That was never our intent. As we were planning the commemorative section, the differentiation was the historical first trip for the Cougars. It was never a snub to the AHS community.
Upon realizing that AHS fans felt so strongly about having their own commemorative section, I backtracked to correct the “STM only” issue and told those who inquired via email and by phone that we would print a commemorative section on any area school if the local business communities would financially support the section with advertising.
The high school sports coverage that The Daily Advertiser publishes in our sports pages and online was never in jeopardy of being replaced or influenced by the singular outcome of one game. We are committed to unbiased, fair coverage of all teams in our news pages. I can assure you that we support and congratulate each of the area teams that are in the playoffs and vying for a championship berth.
Acadiana High School Principal Martha “Nicki” Broussard did not return a phone call seeking comment.
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.