The "Save the Picayune" campaign-style yard signs popping up around town this week are being funded by an unusual source — five New Orleans-area members of the Louisiana House of Representatives. Reps. Neil Abramson, Wesley Bishop, Jared Brossett, Walt Leger and Helena Moreno have chipped in personally to pay for the signs, which are free to anyone who emails SaveOurTP@gmail.com.
Abramson told Gambit it's a genuine and heartfelt response to news that their city's hometown paper would be scaling back print production to three days a week in October. "We see the value the Times-Picayune employees have to the city," Abramson said, "and we see the need the city has for a newspaper seven days a week."
Asked if there's any possible impropriety in a group of politicians publicly (and financially) supporting a newspaper that covers them, Abramson said no. "You could look at it that we may be ticking off the paper's editorial board [with the signs]," he said, "so I guess it cuts both ways."
The initial order is for 500 lawn placards, which began being distributed July 6. Abramson declined to discuss how much the representatives had chipped in, but said, "If they run out [of signs], we'll make more."
Meanwhile, the paper saw two more high-profile departures last week. Crime reporter Brendan McCarthy, who had turned down a job offer with the new NOLA Media Group, confirmed he had accepted a position as an investigative reporter at WWL-TV, just as fellow reporter David Hammer did the week before. Outdoors editor Bob Marshall, whose future with the organization had been unclear, told his colleagues and friends he had rejected a job offer from the NOLA Media Group. Marshall, a graduate of Tulane University, is a 40-year veteran of the paper and a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
As of press time, NOLA Media Group was still advertising reporting and other positions on the website JournalismJobs.com, as well as on Craigslist New Orleans. — Kevin Allman