There is nothing humorous about what is happening to the 200 employees who have been laid off since Newhouse and Advance Publications announced The Times-Picayune would go to three-times-a-week publication this fall and focus on online content, leaving the city without a daily newspaper.
Thank goodness The New Orleans Levee, the city’s satirical newspaper, hasn’t lost its sense of humor. In a very funny parody, the Levee ran its own going-digital story, mocking Advance Publications’ stated reasons for disassembling the T-P.
“As the digital world has evolved, so too will we, finally,” the Levee story says. “Beginning in the fall, the newspaper that so many of you rely upon will start publishing on a reduced schedule of Jan. 15, Aug. 1 and Black Friday. Our marketing department tells us these are the easiest dates to sell ads on, which should indicate our priorities going forward pretty clearly.”
In a cutline (pictured, lower right) The Levee takes on how T-P employees learned of their fate from a New York Times report:
“First reported in The Onion (a national satirical newspaper), where our employees learned they were losing their jobs, The Levee is shifting to a major online presence from print. We believe readers will transition, too, with many already moving on from eating crawfish off our printed pages and instead eating right off their iPads while surfing our site nolevee.com.”
In announcing the Levee and nolevee.com would join into the NOLA Satire Group, publisher/editor Rudy Matthew Vorkapic announced a more-with-less strategy: “The NOLA Satire Group will develop new and innovative ways to make it sound like we’re offering more services, while slashing our staff and cashing in on Google Ads money.”
Sounds much better as satire than real life.
The Rice Mill Lofts is a joyful tribute. To the Creative Ones. The Artisans and Entrepreneurs. Whether one plies his craft on a literal canvas or grows her company as her canvas. It heralds a new time, in this legendary place. The cogent voice of new talent with new ideas. A creative culture of invention. And the passion(The arbitrary capitalization is theirs, not mine.)
fueling the reinvention of America’s boutique city.
Yesterday the New York Times published an article on the lofts and those brave Artisans who live inside, and it's mostly divorced people who enjoy ironic graffiti.
The Advocate, which, so far as we know, will continue to be a daily newspaper serving Baton Rouge, has released a statement about the massacre over at The Times-Picayune (the St. Gregory VII Day Eve Massacre? May 24 is apparently one of very few days without its own saint). You can read the whole thing here, but I'd like to highlight the following paragraph:
At the same time, we will look for ways to increase our presence in the New Orleans area and be ready to take advantage of any opportunities that might come along.
It will be interesting to find out what that means, if anything.
Does The Advocate plan to expand farther into Greater New Orleans or, maybe, is its publisher anticipating cuts to the T-P's coverage of the capital (and the Capitol)? Perhaps a content-sharing agreement like the one Tennessee's four largest newspapers put together in 2009? I like The Advocate — I read The Advocate often — but I hope that's not what's going to happen.
The "digitally focused" Alabama Media Group will incorporate 'bama papers The Birmingham News, The Press-Register and The Huntsville Times and website al.com, with plans to launch in the fall as a three-days-a-week publishing schedule and layoffs, according to a release on al.com.
Of course, as Charles Maldonado notes, the details are irrelevant to Advance and Newhouse News. Not mentioned: how many reporters and staffers will be laid off, or how a downsized paper (which will have "enhanced" features and "more focus on local news") can offer any of that, when more than half a week of news is no longer in the printed record but online only in a state with not-so-dense Internet access, or really anything other than introducing your new fearless leaders.
The change is designed to reshape how Alabama's leading media companies deliver award-winning local news, sports and entertainment coverage in an increasingly digital age. The Alabama Media Group will dramatically expand its news-gathering efforts around the clock, seven days a week, while offering enhanced printed newspapers on a schedule of three days a week. The newspapers will be home-delivered and sold in stores on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays only.
Sound familiar? The Advance publishing group also runs The Times-Picayune and announced just hours before that the T-P will also experience the publishing changes and a "reduction in the overall size of the workforce," under the "NOLA Media Group."
Advance Central Services Alabama will handle distribution and is headed by Birmingham News publisher Pam Siddall who said, "We have seen such dramatic growth at al.com and have such strength and familiarity with our printed newspapers, the time is now for these changes. ... We have to be bold when it comes to positioning ourselves for the future.” Both the Alabama Media Group and Advance Central Services are under the Advance Publications Inc. umbrella.
Alabama Media Group president Cindy Martin said, “There are always painful choices when you begin a process that will lead to people losing their jobs. ... But at the same time, we must position ourselves to be sustainable businesses going forward. The new companies we launch in the fall, we believe, not only achieve that, but will serve our growing audiences and advertisers better than ever before."
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