It’s a bittersweet laurel for the T-P, which laid off nine of the 20 people involved with the story during its cutbacks last year — including managing editors Dan Shea and Peter Kovacs, graphics artist Ryan Smith, photographer Scott Threlkeld and reporter Jonathan Tilove (who is now at the Austin American-Statesman). Reporter Cindy Chang, whose byline appeared on most of the stories, now covers immigration and ethnic issues for the Los Angeles Times.
In an email, Shea told Gambit, “The work done by Cindy and her colleagues represents the best of what the Picayune used to be. It is tragic that while we were doing the final editing and designing to put the series in the paper, the secret meetings had begun to shift the emphasis of the newsroom to short online updates and sports and entertainment coverage. There are serious and talented journalists left at the Picayune, but they will face an uphill battle to try to do this type of work again.”
Chang told Gambit that part of the prize money received by the team will be donated to DashThirtyDash, the assistance fund for laid-off T-P employees.
Also set to be honored at the award ceremony next month: reporter, part-time New Orleanian and Treme creator David Simon, for his contribution to criminal justice journalism.
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.
Another salvo in the newspaper wars: The Advocate's New Orleans edition will launch a new entertainment tabloid, "Beaucoup," this Thursday, along with a community-news broadsheet.
Both will be edited by Annette Sisco, one of the many former Times-Picayune employees who were hired by The Advocate for its new New Orleans bureau earlier this fall. Neither Sisco nor bureau chief Sara Pagones returned calls about the sections.
"Beaucoup" will go head-to-head (one day earlier) with The Times-Picayune's longtime Friday "Lagniappe" tab. Like "Lagniappe," "Beaucoup" will cover arts and the New Orleans food scene, as well as containing calendar listings.
Both papers are now looking at January to make final moves into their new homes in New Orleans — The Times-Picayune's parent company, NOLA Media Group, is finishing renovations on the top floors of the One Canal Place office building overlooking the Mississippi River, while The Advocate's New Orleans edition is building out space in the CBD.
A few interesting news items:
Last week I wrote a little bit about the Vera Pretrial Services budget controversy, specifically critics' comparison of the program to the Philadelphia Pretrial Services Division. Independent journalist Zoe Sullivan has since done an interview with Orleans Parish First Assistant District Attorney Graymond Martin, who speaks at length about pretrial services. Martin, who used to represent the commercial bail industry, responds to that industry's criticism of the program.
Also, The Lens' Tyler Bridges has a story on the Jindal administration's use of the "deliberative process privilege" to shield public records. Bridges interviews a few state legislators who suggest the privilege may face a challenge during next year's legislative session.
Finally, the Times-Picayune has been doing fantastic work following up on allegations that Grand Isle Shipyard, which employed some of the people aboard the Black Elk energy platform that caught fire last week, has been mistreating workers brought here from the Philippines.
Yesterday, the T-P posted a story in which Grand Isle president Mark Pregeant gives Richard Thompson a tour of the company's Galliano bunkhouse.
Pregeant's court statement on the bunkhouse, filed in federal court last July.
Statements from the plaintiff workers, filed in response to Pregeant's statement
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