If The Times-Picayune was anticipating a negative piece about the paper's cutbacks on tonight's 60 Minutes — and it seemed like it was — it really had nothing to fear. Morley Safer's report — most of which was taped months ago — was a breezy, evenhanded look at the "digital transition" at the new NOLA Media Group.
It focused on New Orleans tradition both real and manufactured (beignets! Camellia Grill! conventioneer second-lines on Royal Street!) and made only general reference to the woes of the newspaper industry as a whole (no hard facts or figures), as well as glossing over last summer's protests against the paper's cutback. Mayor Mitch Landrieu, The New York Times' David Carr and T-P editor Jim Amoss were featured prominently, along with former T-P advisory board member Anne Milling (Milling stepped down quietly months ago), former columnist Lolis Eric Elie and Archbishop Gregory Aymond.
Safer made mention of the digital divide separating New Orleans' poor and disenfranchised communities, but they had no voice in the story. Also missing: the voices of the leaders of the protest against the paper's cutback, as well as former employees and groups like DashThirtyDash, the Times-Picayune Employee Assistance Fund.
What did you think of 60 Minutes' report?
60 Minutes airs in the New Orleans market on WWL-TV on Sunday nights at 6 p.m.
Read Gambit's coverage of The Times-Picayune here.
EDITED TO ADD: CBS News has now posted a preview of the segment:
As the year wraps up, we will be updating several stories from 2012. In Parts I and II: Alex Woodward reported on the arson fire at the offices of Women With a Vision, as well as developments on Freret Street.
In Part III:
Throughout the year, Kevin Allman reported on the changes at The Times-Picayune and its online arm, NOLA.com, as the two became a new company, NOLA Media Group, under the watch of new publisher Ricky Mathews.
The Dec. 17 resignation of Lynn Cunningham, The Times-Picayune’s online editor — a veteran of the paper since 1977 and the right hand of editor Jim Amoss — was the cap on the paper’s most dramatic year in recent history as it launched into what was euphemistically known as “the digital transition.”
Corporate Realty newsletter, Sept. 6, "NOLA Media Group Leases Top Floors of One Canal Place":
Mike Siegel represented NOLA Media Group in its office space search and lease negotiations in One Canal Place, which is managed by Corporate Realty. “This is a significant lease that will establish a major presence for one of the leading businesses in our region in the Central Business District,” Siegel said. “It continues the momentum of leasing activity with another major company making a commitment to New Orleans, and especially to the CBD of New Orleans, on the heels of the recent GE and Ochsner announcements,” Siegel said.
NOLA.com, Oct. 3, "NOLA Media Group signs long-term lease in downtown Baton Rouge":
Michael J. Siegel, president and director of leasing with Corporate Realty, said NOLA Media Group's commitment to Baton Rouge includes a long-term lease. The space will be gutted, then designed and constructed to best fit Nola Media Group's operational, aesthetic and technical needs. Siegel added that the build-out will be an asset to the building and to downtown. "This move, which has been in the works for the past six months, is a clear commitment by NOLA Media Group that they intend to invest in the communities they serve," Siegel said. "One American Place is a great location for them to implement and expand their Baton Rouge initiatives."
NOLA.com, Dec. 9: "Meet The Times-Picayune/NOLA.com community Roundtable":
Publisher Ricky Mathews last week convened The Times-Picayune/NOLA.com Roundtable for its inaugural meeting. Fourteen leaders in business, health care, education, the arts and other arenas came together for a two-hour conversation about the issues they believe are most important for our region. There are 19 leaders in all who have agreed to be a part of the Roundtable, which will meet every other month.
We believe these sessions will be invaluable to our work. We expect to gain insights we otherwise might not have. We expect to be prodded and, sometimes, chided. We expect input from Roundtable members to point us to compelling stories and inspire us to write editorials. And we expect our readers to benefit from the collective wisdom of this group. ...
Meet the members of the Roundtable ...
Mike Siegel, president of Corporate Realty in New Orleans. He chairs the board of Metairie Park Country Day School and is a board member of the New Orleans Museum of Art.
Canada's Globe & Mail newspaper decided to ask Michael "Brownie" Brown's opinion on Hurricane Sandy, and the paper got it:
Federal agencies such as FEMA have a role. FEMA’s is to be that “honest broker” between the states and various localities.
Brownie does not know what "honest broker" means.
But at the end of the day, it is still each of us, as individuals, who are responsible for our own safety and well-being.
But not, apparently, our own Baton Rouge restaurant reservations.
On national television Tuesday, I told New Yorkers they needed to “chill.”
And you didn't get kicked in the nuts by a cameraman? New York, you disappoint me.
Below the fold: Canadians thank the Globe & Mail for providing Brownie insights.
"Easy Pay" (credit card and checking account autodebit) subscribers to The Times-Picayune got a letter today from director of circulation Philip H. Ehrhardt, explaining the paper's new price point when it goes to thrice-weekly publication starting Oct. 1. It's going from $18.95 per week to $16.95 for what's being called an "enhanced" paper. (The website Dump the Picayune has scanned a copy of the letter.)
Ehrhardt tells subscribers with questions to visit the NOLA Media Group's customer care page at www.nola.com/customercare ... which is where you'll find this:
On the T-P's subscription page, you can still subscribe to the 7-day edition, which is going away in two weeks, but there's still no 3-day option:
In other newspapering news, The Advocate — which begins distributing its new New Orleans edition Monday — is having a kickoff party Monday at 10:30 a.m. at Rock 'n' Bowl. Its subscription page seems to be working.
For this week’s cover story, “Paper Cuts,” I spoke to many people about The Times-Picayune’s upcoming transition to thrice-weekly publishing and a concentration on online news gathering.
One of the people to whom I spoke was David Carr, who writes about media, business and culture for The New York Times — and who originally broke the story about the New Orleans paper’s transition. Carr is a fun interview — he refers to newspapering as “putting the white paper out to get the green paper back” — and much of what he said didn’t make the final article. So here’s some extra Carr on the Picayune situation.
• On the prospect of The Times-Picayune going completely online and entirely paperless in a few years:
“You’re [New Orleans] not really ringed by a great retail gold mine that would make for a great Sunday product. I don’t think that Newhouse has committed to print. The whole industry is going to a paperless business. … I would not be surprised to see them eliminate the print product.”
• On NOLA.com becoming the primary mode of Advance's news distribution:
“If you look at their web product broadly — that turns out to be a significant error. When it comes to [newspaper/website] integration, which they’re putting on a forced march, they have a very long way to go, with a staff and a technology that is probably not on par with a lot of American newspapers in digital terms. They can talk all they want about the traffic on the New Orleans site. What does it mean if you can’t search what you have?”
In homegrown goods, designers Yvonne LaFleur and Tracy Thomson have donated to the cause, and there are Muses shoes galore. Perhaps coolest of all, though, is Times-Picayune food editor Judy Walker's handmade quilt (pictured) made of T-shirts, many of which feature the paper's most famous front pages.
Tickets to the Sept. 29 benefit, "Black, White and Red All Over," are $30. The night will feature entertainment by David Torkanowsky, Charmaine Neville, The Pfister Sisters and John Rankin, among others, and food will be provided by several area restaurants. There will also be a silent auction that night, but bidding is already open on the online auction.
In other news, it seems that 60 Minutes is going ahead with a segment about the paper's move to digital. Correspondent Morley Safer is in town this week, and he's interviewed Mayor Mitch Landrieu and T-P editor Jim Amoss, along with several community leaders. (Landrieu even tweeted a picture.) The segment is scheduled to air Sept. 30 — the last day for the fired employees.
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