After a week which saw Times-Picayune food critic Brett Anderson fired on Tuesday (confirmed by Gambit and reported on the T-P's own online site, NOLA.com), we now find it was all a big kooky culinary misunderstanding:
Earlier this week, it was reported that Anderson was to be laid off as part of the newspaper's reorganization into a digitally focused news organization. Anderson had previously announced his intention to accept a fellowship with the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, beginning this fall.
Times-Picayune Editor Jim Amoss said the newspaper has always wanted Anderson to be part of its dining and food coverage and that when Anderson applied for the fellowship, the newspaper agreed to give him a leave of absence for its duration.
Perhaps they should have told Anderson that on Tuesday, when he confirmed to Gambit and other media outlets that he had been fired. Anderson has not yet decided whether to accept the paper's offer to stay.
This reversal came after a 24-hour period in which Anderson and Amoss were seen having a lunch meeting at Mandina's in Mid-City, and after restaurant columnist Susan Langenhennig had confirmed on Twitter she would be writing dining reviews for the paper after the transition to three-day-a-week publication this fall.
Langenhennig would seem to be the victim in this latest fiasco in The Times-Picayune firings. Earlier this week, longtime sports columnist Pete Finney learned from NOLA.com that he had been fired before he had been given the chance to meet with his supervisors. In a reversal similar to that of Anderson, Amoss later announced Finney's column would continue on a freelance basis, telling Judy Woodruff on PBS' NewsHour, "The sports columnist, for example, will be writing for us with the same frequency with which he writes for us now, albeit on a correspondent, freelance basis."
A spokesman for the Finney family disputes Amoss' account, saying the columnist has made no agreement with the new NOLA Media Group — because no financial offer has been tendered.