The Times-Picayune

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Idea Village co-founder Tim Williamson to take over NOLA Media Group

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2016 at 12:27 PM

Idea Village CEO Tim Williamson will become the next president of NOLA Media Group. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • Idea Village CEO Tim Williamson will become the next president of NOLA Media Group.

Tim Williamson, CEO and co-founder of the entrepreneur nonprofit The Idea Village, will become president of NOLA Media Group (NMG), the umbrella company that oversees NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, NMG announced today.

Williamson, a native of New Orleans, worked with Cox Interactive Media in Pittsburgh before returning home and launching the now-defunct website InsideNewOrleans.com in 1998. He will take over at NMG Aug. 15, according to a letter from The Idea Village's board of directors, while remaining on the Idea Village's board. Emily Madero, chief operating officer of The Idea Village, will become acting CEO Aug. 1.

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Y@ Speak: #HereToStay

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 12:09 PM

Resilience. Vibrancy. Content. Restructuring. Efficiences. "Content staffers."

New Orleans Twitter and anyone with eyes on New Orleans watched another huge blow to The Times-Picayune and the city last week.

Also in this week's edition: Gov. Bobby Jindal does the #GOPdebate, Saints do a Ditka and more hits from the #NOLAscanner.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

More layoffs at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Posted By on Thu, Sep 17, 2015 at 12:45 PM

In June 2012, newly minted Times-Picayune publisher Ricky Mathews announced the paper was here to stay.  The paper fired more than 200 employees that year. Today, managers at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune met with the remaining employees, firing 28 full-time and nine part-time "content staffers."
  • In June 2012, newly minted Times-Picayune publisher Ricky Mathews announced the paper was here to stay. The paper fired more than 200 employees that year. Today, managers at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune met with the remaining employees, firing 28 full-time and nine part-time "content staffers."


Managers at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune carried off an expected round of layoffs this morning, firing some of the paper's longest-serving reporters alongside more recent hires. In a statement released after the firings, NOLA Media Group President Ricky Mathews said the firings included "28 full time and nine part time content staffers," or "21 percent of the overall content operation's full-time employees."

James Varney, whose career spanned nearly 26 years at The Times-Picayune, was among those fired, as was Paul Purpura, who began at the paper in 1999 and worked a variety of beats in his 16-year tenure. John Pope, whose career began at the old States-Item in 1972, no longer will be a staff writer, but will continue to contribute to the paper.

Andy Grimm, who was hired away from the Chicago Tribune to cover federal courts, also was let go, as were reporter Ben Myers and graphics reporter/editor Dan Swenson. Benjamin Alexander Bloch, who covered coastal parishes and the Gulf of Mexico, was fired, as was Dinah Rogers, the paper's assistant photo editor and a 24-year employee.

Music writer Alison Fensterstock, a former Gambit music columnist, was let go, as well as Cate Root, who posted about events around town and covered the city's burgeoning comedy scene. David Lee Simmons, a former Gambit staffer who covered the entertainment scene, also was fired. 

Lyons Yellin of Gambit's TV partner WWL-TV reported that "almost all" the prep sports staff was let go.

Several sources said that the sackings were carried out in offices on a lower floor of One Canal Place, rather than in the newsroom. 

Mathews was quoted as saying:

"It's a difficult day for us and our colleagues who are losing their jobs. We wish them the very best. Aligning our costs with the business realities faced by media organizations around the country is a tough challenge. But it's also important for our readers to know that we remain the largest and most experienced news staff, and the most widely read newspaper and website in the area."

The cuts were not unexpected. In June, Advance Publications, which owns NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, indicated that NOLA Media Group would be merging with the company's Alabama Media Group to form a "Southeast Regional Media Group" (later renamed "Advance Media Southeast"). Two days later, managers met with employees to talk about the company's future. "They're being pretty upfront about the fact there will be layoffs," one reporter told Gambit at the time. A report from Alabama mentioned that the company would be finding "operational efficiencies" within the merged companies. ("Unlike the last major round of cuts," Gambit reported then, "sports, arts and feature reporters also are at risk in this round of cuts.")

Since then, reporter Adriane Quinlan left in July, moving to Atlanta, while Rebecca Catalanello — whose series on abuse and neglect at New Bethany Home for Girls received national praise — left the paper earlier this month, taking a job as Assistant Director of Publications and Communications at the University of New Orleans. Grace Wilson, the website's "Community Engagement Specialist for Entertainment," left in August. Earlier this month, longtime Times-Picayune editor Jim Amoss stepped down to take a role as editor-at-large for Advance Digital, the Internet arm of owner Advance Publications. The new editor is Mark Lorando, former state and metro editor of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune.

In 2012, the paper was thrown into tumult when The New York Times reported it soon would be going to a three-day-per-week production schedule, catching Times-Picayune employees by surprise. The company subsequently fired more than 200 people, 84 of whom worked in the newsroom, as it underwent what it called the "digital transition." At the time, Amoss promised, "We will continue to have by far the most complete and the most formidable news-gathering muscle in this community, and readers will just have to hold us accountable to that promise that I'm making."

This is a developing story.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

More staff cuts ahead for NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 5:06 PM

Three years ago today, newly minted Times-Picayune publisher Ricky Mathews took the paper's front page to announce the paper was here to stay. This week, managers at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune are meeting with employees, warning of another round of layoffs to take place in the next six months.
  • Three years ago today, newly minted Times-Picayune publisher Ricky Mathews took the paper's front page to announce the paper was here to stay. This week, managers at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune are meeting with employees, warning of another round of layoffs to take place in the next six months.


Two days after executives at NOLA Media Group, publisher of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, announced the company would be merging with the Alabama Media Group to form a new "Southeast Regional Media Group," managers at the media company's offices in One Canal Place met with reporters to announce the newsroom would shrink — again.

"They're being pretty upfront about the fact there will be layoffs," said one newsroom staffer. Another joked grimly that it may be "2012 redux" — referring to the firings of some 200 Times-Picayune employees in 2012, a move which riled the city for months and made national news, complete with a report on 60 Minutes.

Director of State and Metro Content Mark Lorando spent part of today and yesterday meeting with small groups within the paper, several people told Gambit. Lorando described layoffs as "deep" to one employee.

The restructuring is scheduled to take place in the latter half of 2015 and be complete by early 2016, said sources with knowledge of the plan.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

New Orleans native Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, talks about his 40-year career in newspapers

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 10:04 PM

Dean Baquet (left), executive editor of The New York Times, was interviewed by WVUE-TV's Lee Zurik tonight at Loyola University. - KEVIN ALLMAN
  • KEVIN ALLMAN
  • Dean Baquet (left), executive editor of The New York Times, was interviewed by WVUE-TV's Lee Zurik tonight at Loyola University.

Dean Baquet, the New Orleans native who rose from The New Orleans States-Item to become executive editor of The New York Times, was the speaker tonight at the 6th annual Ed Renwick Lecture Series at Loyola University, which packed the university's Nunemaker Hall with a crowd of students, faculty and a good number of local journalists, many of whom worked with Baquet at The Times-Picayune.

"My life is a story about what's wrong with New Orleans and what's so great about it," Baquet said, mentioning that he came up as the son of a Treme bar owner duriing a time when New Orleans largely was segregated. "I don't remember being outside Treme except when my father would go to the French Quarter to buy cigarettes for his bar. I don't recall going Uptown or any place beyond Canal Street when I was a teenager." (The current generation of the Baquet family owns Li'l Dizzy's Cafe in Treme, and Dean Baquet's brother, Terry Baquet, is a top editor at The Times-Picayune.)

Baquet, who has covered politicians from former Gov. Edwin Edwards to President Bill Clinton, said his first exposure to the world of politics came when he was a student at St. Augustine High School. Then-Gov. John McKeithen spoke to his class, which left a negative impression, but it was a speech by then-Mayor Moon Landrieu in the St. Aug schoolyard that stuck with him. 

He enrolled in New York's Columbia University and came home to New Orleans during his sophomore year, homesick. "I walked into the newsroom of the States-Item almost 40 years ago. I was lost, unsure, I was a sophomore at Columbia University with intense but scattered reading habits, making B's and C's."

He stayed, because "somewhere in there I picked up a relentless ambition that has pushed me to this day."

His biggest lesson? "Everyone has a story if you just listen and shut up."

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Meet the man who is digitizing thousands of old New Orleans newspapers

Posted By on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 12:22 PM

One of many pages scanned and posted at  NOLADNA.com by Joseph Makkos, this depicts what the paper imagined fashion would look like in the 21st century. - NOLADNA.COM
  • NOLADNA.com
  • One of many pages scanned and posted at NOLADNA.com by Joseph Makkos, this depicts what the paper imagined fashion would look like in the 21st century.

Anyone who's ever tried going through The Times-Picayune's newspaper archive knows that it can be frustrating and often tedious. The archived papers look like they were scanned with technology from the 1970s, and the archive's search feature is often inconsistent and can lead you down a rabbit hole of inaccurate results. For those who are doing research or are just fans of history, it can be an ordeal.

Thankfully, there is Joseph Makkos.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Advocate publisher John Georges speaks at Loyola University on "Media Wars"

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 12:41 PM

John Georges, publisher of The New Orleans Advocate, with Sonya Duhe, director of the Loyola University School of Mass Communication. Georges spoke on "Media Wars" in a talk at the university last night. - KEVIN ALLMAN
  • KEVIN ALLMAN
  • John Georges, publisher of The New Orleans Advocate, with Sonya Duhe, director of the Loyola University School of Mass Communication. Georges spoke on "Media Wars" in a talk at the university last night.


Eighteen months after buying The Advocate and expanding the paper’s reach in New Orleans, publisher John Georges addressed a crowd of about 200 people at Loyola University’s School of Mass Communication last night. The talk was titled “Media Wars,” and Georges took more than a few swipes at his daily news competitor, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, but much of his speech was about how having a newspaper owner with no newspaper experience was a net asset rather than a debit.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Y@ Speak: gang colors

Posted By on Mon, Aug 4, 2014 at 11:55 AM


In this week's Y@ Speak, New Orleans goes to war. We remember those who fought in the battles of White Linen Night, newspaper printing schedules and Mike Ditka's wine, and Buffa's and Sidney Torres face off in court (kind of) and Sean Payton goofs on a balding Drew Brees. Elsewhere: Doug MacCash unveils a new rating system (and recovers from White Linen) and Rob Ryan goes to Wal-Mart.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cartoonist Walt Handelsman joins The Advocate

Posted By on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Cartoonist Walt Handelsman. - WALTHANDELSMAN.COM
  • WALTHANDELSMAN.COM
  • Cartoonist Walt Handelsman.
Walt Handelsman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist whose work appeared in The Times-Picayune from 1989 to 2001 before he decamped to New York Newsday, will return to New Orleans to become staff cartoonist at The New Orleans Advocate.

The decision sounds like a sudden one, according to a press release from The New Orleans Advocate tonight:


Handelsman agreed to join The Advocate over the weekend, after attending Sunday’s New Orleans Saints game with the newspaper’s owners, John and Dathel Georges, General Manager Dan Shea and Editor Peter Kovacs.

“A few years ago at a Tulane art fair, I purchased a brass skeleton key on a chain created by talented local artist and close family friend, Juliet Meeks*,” Handelsman said. “I’m not much of a jewelry-wearing guy, but I’ve worn that key under my shirt every single day as a personal reminder to someday unlock the door and get back home.”

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Y@ Speak: feud season

Posted By on Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 11:35 AM


Sept. 23, 2013. We've lost count of the days of the Great Blog Wars. Our bodies weary from life in the trenches. Food and water in short supply. Hands and feet caked in mud. Our eyes blinded from constant rolling. Twitter is dead, and we killed It.

The Blog Men, @Editilla and @CBForgot, have left a scorched Internet. What remains of it following their endless pissing contest: Dr. John's dick jokes, amoebas, pedicabs, Costco caskets, a defiant Scott Fujita and a victorious Saints.

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