Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How the country's only reading radio will handle The Times-Picayune's big changes

Posted By on Tue, May 29, 2012 at 4:26 PM


Tune into 88.3 FM and you'll hear the city's — and the country's — only full-time FM dial reading radio. Twice daily, volunteer readers read from The Times-Picayune. But WRBH-FM, known as "Radio for the Blind and Print Handicapped," is preparing to adjust its programming when The Times-Picayune moves to a three-days-a-week publishing schedule. WRBH currently reads to more than 11,600 listeners on weekdays, when two volunteer readers read, live on the air, select headlines and stories from the daily paper.

The station, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, provides blind and visually impaired listeners of all ages with access to 'round-the-clock content, from national publications (monthly and weekly magazines) and best-selling nonfiction and fiction to local news provided by The Times-Picayune, read daily from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on weekends, with repeats at 6 p.m. (weekdays) and 1 a.m. (weekends). More than 1,000 listeners tune in on Saturdays, and 4,000 tune in on Sundays. It also streams its content online.

"There's a lot of 'scissor work' involved. It's our only live program," said executive director Natalia Gonzalez. "We do headline news, local news, sports, and entertainment and columns. It's our intention to attempt the same format, but a lot of that depends exactly on what NOLA.com will give us."

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Public Transit Tuesdays: Recap, tips and preview

Posted By on Tue, May 29, 2012 at 3:16 PM

Since I had double jaw surgery, two (or three?) teeth removed and a three pint blood transfusion on Friday, my face is ridiculously swollen and I keep nodding off. I don't want to scare anyone with my face and would rather not fall asleep on the bus, so instead of blogging about a particular route this week, I'm recapping our adventures so far, sharing some public transit tips and giving you a preview of what's to come.


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Y@ Speak: A 'more robust' edition

Posted By on Tue, May 29, 2012 at 12:14 PM

This holiday-delayed Y@ Speak starts off with delightful tweets about sperm cake, a sex clown and a cat named "Money Chicken," but takes a dark turn with reactions to that news from last week.

Excuse me while I get personal for a second. As someone who grew up here (in Metairie, specifically), the Times-Picayune has been one of those inextricable aspects of my life that I, admittedly, have taken for granted at times. Having the paper around the house was how I learned to read. It's how I learned I wanted to be a writer. It's also how I learned there was no such thing as Santa Claus — from a Living section article titled, I'm pretty sure, "How to tell your child there's no such thing as Santa Claus' — because I was a bit too precocious a child. This weekend, my dad — an avid consumer of local news — made a joke that when he dies, "he's not going to find out about it until Wednesday."

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Gambit's Summer Restaurant Guide (Digital Edition)

Read it here...

Posted on Tue, May 29, 2012 at 8:46 AM

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Brown gravy, red gravy and the return of an icon

Posted By on Mon, May 28, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Many old touches from the restaurant survived, including its vintage invitation for ladies.
  • Ian McNulty
  • Many old touches from the restaurant survived, including its vintage invitation for ladies.

Given our recent Katrina experiences, New Orleans people know all about welcoming back beloved neighborhood institutions that had to go dark for a while. Tomorrow, however, one of the heavyweights of the neighborhood institution genre will go through that reopening ritual for the second time.

Rocky & Carlo’s (613 W. St. Bernard Hwy., Chalmette, 279-8323), easily the best-known and most important restaurant in St. Bernard Parish, has been closed since a fire in February devastated its building. The family owners will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, May 29, at 10:30 a.m. and then lunch will commence at 11 a.m., with po-boys, heaving plates of Sicilian classics and the restaurant’s trademark, tube-style macaroni and cheese (with red or brown gravy) once again issuing from the cafeteria-style service line.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Times-Picayune employees to learn their fates next week

Posted By on Sun, May 27, 2012 at 11:27 PM

The front page of the redesigned NOLA.com tonight.
  • The front page of the redesigned NOLA.com tonight.
Individual meetings with Times-Picayune employees, at which they will learn whether they have lost their jobs or will be offered new positions with the new NOLA Media Group, are set to begin in about a week — probably starting Monday, June 4 or Tuesday, June 5, according to sources with knowledge of Advance Publications' plans.

Many newsroom employees spent their Memorial Day weekend updating resumes, obtaining copies of their clips, networking by telephone and social media and following job leads in New Orleans and elsewhere.

At the meetings, Advance, which owns The Times-Picayune, will reportedly offer severance packages to some employees, while tendering job offers to others. Job descriptions will likely be revised, and those who receive offers to stay will likely have to reapply for the new positions within the newly created NOLA Media Group.

Sources also say a number of entirely new people may be hired to contribute content to the company’s online operation, particularly in the fields of sports and entertainment, which are a big part of the plan. Sports editor Doug Tatum and features editor Mark Lorando were among those included in the off-campus meetings held in the middle of the month, when the company’s new publisher, Ricky Mathews, came in to speak to senior officials.

The parameters and scope of the restructuring means those who stay with NOLA Media Group will be reporting news very differently. Reporters/content providers will move out of The Times-Picayune’s iconic building at 3800 Howard Avenue and into office space in downtown New Orleans, where they will file more frequent and likely smaller stories for NOLA.com, the paper’s online arm.

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NOLA filmmaker Benh Zeitlin wins Camera d'Or award at Cannes Film Festival

Posted By on Sun, May 27, 2012 at 1:10 PM

New Orleans filmmaker Benh Zeitlin won the coveted Camera d'Or prize at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival today for his new film Beasts of the Southern Wild. The Camera d'Or is awarded each year at Cannes to the best film by a first-time director. Beasts also won the grand jury prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival. It's very unusual for a film to win top awards at both Sundance and Cannes.

According to live blogging by England's daily national newspaper The Guardian, Zeitlin said "Thank you to everybody at home" even before remembering to thank the jury and the Festival.

This year's Palm d'Or—the top prize at Cannes—was awarded to Amour, by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke.

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Times-Picayune sources: It's unclear whether revamped paper will print a Saints Monday edition

Posted By on Sat, May 26, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Copies of The Times-Picayunes biggest Monday editions, featuring the New Orleans Saints, are collectors items on sites like eBay.
  • Copies of The Times-Picayune's biggest Monday editions, featuring the New Orleans Saints, are collectors' items on sites like eBay.
According to sources within The Times-Picayune, the transition from a daily paper to a website with a three-day-a-week print component (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) is scheduled to take place in September — right around the kickoff of the 2012 New Orleans Saints season. The first game is September 9, when the Black and Gold will host the Washington Redskins in the Superdome, and there are three subsequent games that month.

What’s not clear is if The Times-Picayune will publish on the Mondays following the games.

At Thursday’s newsroom meeting, where editor Jim Amoss attempted to answer some questions about the transition, one person asked if the new schedule meant that there would be no Times-Picayune on the morning of Monday, February 4, the day after Super Bowl XLVII is played in the Superdome. Amoss did not have the answer, but said that the paper’s new schedule might allow for special editions.

Moreover, multiple sources within the paper’s sports department say that no word has come down to them as to whether they will be putting out a regular Monday print edition after Sunday Saints games. Sports editor Doug Tatum, who was included in the offsite meetings held last week where Advance Publications officials outlined the future of the company, has not returned Gambit’s call as of Saturday afternoon.

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Turning the page at The Times-Picayune

Posted By on Sat, May 26, 2012 at 2:29 PM

To paraphrase an old commercial: What this town needs is a good daily newspaper. For nearly 200 years, we’ve had one or more. Since 1980, though, it’s been just one — and last week we learned that THE TIMES-PICAYUNE, like so many newspapers in the 21st century, is on life support. It was sad news indeed.

New Jersey-based Advance Publications, the parent company of THE TIMES-PICAYUNE, announced the paper would be going to a three-day-a-week printing schedule this fall, shifting focus and content to its online partner, NOLA.com. The paper’s staff, which already had been buffeted by buyouts, early retirements and furloughs in recent years, has now been told that many of them will lose their jobs. Those who are approved to remain will be invited to apply for employment with a new company, NOLA Media Group.

Our hearts and prayers go out to them. Business is business, but they have been treated shabbily by a company to which they have shown loyalty and, yes, love. They deserved better.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Interview: Andie MacDowell

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 6:34 PM

Andie MacDowell and Chazz Palminteri star in Mighty Fine
  • Andie MacDowell and Chazz Palminteri star in "Mighty Fine"
Andie MacDowell's breakthrough role was in Steven Soderbergh's 1989 indie Sex, Lies and Videotape, which was filmed in Baton Rouge. It's a strange coincidence that her return to indie film is with Debbie Goodstein-Rosenfeld’s semi-autobiographical drama Mighty Fine, a film that is set in and was filmed in New Orleans. In the film, MacDowell plays a Polish Holocaust survivor whose husband uproots their family from Brooklyn to New Orleans in 1974 to start a new life. The actress and L'Oreal spokeswoman took some time during a string of speaking engagements to talk about preparing for her role, being in New Orleans and getting older.

How did you prepare for your role?

Well, we worked with the person it actually happened to, so it’s not like we had to go out and search, because we were working with the person the story existed with. So we had the director, who was basically telling us how it all happened and what she experienced.

Did you work with a dialect coach or anything?

I worked with Sam Chwat, who is a wonderful dialect coach out of New York City who just died this year, sadly, and I’ve known him for over 30 years. I worked with him and worked with a local lady (Francine Segal). I worked with her and there was a woman from my hometown that was from Poland. She was an inspiration for me because there wasn’t a lot of time or money, so I was taking help from wherever I could get it.

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