The Media's Lovely Corpse

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The state of customer care at The Times-Picayune

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 3:05 PM

"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 ... 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.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

David Carr on The Times-Picayune changeover

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 3:11 PM


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 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?”

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A benefit for Times-Picayune employees — and 60 Minutes is in town

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 3:03 PM

A detail of The Times-Picayune T-shirt quilt created by Judy Walker.
  • A detail of The Times-Picayune T-shirt quilt created by Judy Walker.
In less than three weeks, The Times-Picayune will have become a three-day-a-week newspaper, and dozens of the paper's employees will be out of a job. The group DashThirtyDash, an assistance fund for the paper's unemployed workers, will be having a benefit Sept. 29 at Howlin' Wolf to raise money — but the group has begun an online auction with prizes including set visits and meet-and-greets with Anderson Cooper, Soledad O'Brien, Ellen DeGeneres and David Gregory (who knew there were set visitors and meet-and-greets on Meet the Press?).

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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Friday, September 7, 2012

The Advocate publisher on the paper's plans to move into New Orleans

Posted By on Fri, Sep 7, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Two weeks before The Advocate begins an advertising blitz to let New Orleanians know the Baton Rouge paper is coming to town, the paper has already received between 800 and 1,000 new subscribers in the New Orleans metro area, according to publisher David Manship — and he's expecting more readers to sign up as they hear about the plan.

"We definitely need more than 1,000," he told Gambit this morning. "I'd like to get 20,000. But we're looking at 5,000 to 10,000, and I think that’s easily obtainable based on the response we got yesterday."

The Advocate's push into the New Orleans market, of course, is in response to The Times-Picayune's scaling back to thrice-weekly publication as of Oct. 1, concentrating its news gathering online at under the name NOLA Media Group.

"We still believe in the printed newspaper every day," Manship said. "We don’t doubt the importance of digital — we have a website and an app; we even have an e-edition, so we feel like we are there. We just felt like the people of New Orleans were very strong toward their reading of the Picayune seven days a week. So we thought we’d step in and fill the void."

Under the cut: Manship discusses distribution, advertisers, and office space for The Advocate's new New Orleans bureau ...

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

David Manship: "We think New Orleans and its citizens deserve a quality newspaper printed each and every day, and we intend to provide one"

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 4:32 PM

David Manship, publisher of the Baton Rouge-based newspaper The Advocate, has released an official letter to newspaper readers in New Orleans, introducing himself, his newspaper — and its plans to begin delivering a daily paper in New Orleans beginning Oct. 1.

Good Afternoon, as the Publisher of The Advocate in Baton Rouge, my family has been providing a daily newspaper to the citizens of Louisiana since the early 1900s. In fact, like the newspaper in New Orleans, The Advocate’s origins date back 170 years to 1842. And like New Orleanians, the citizens of Baton Rouge demand quality journalism and are accustomed to receiving it in the form of a daily newspaper. We are proud to meet that demand.

We recognize that the way people get their news is changing. And we will keep up with these changes by delivering news in all the different formats our subscribers use, including print. As trends evolve, The Advocate will continue to deliver a daily, printed newspaper to our subscribers.

Changes in the way The Times-Picayune gathers and reports news have revealed that there is a demand for a daily newspaper in New Orleans that will not be met by any New Orleans publications, beginning October 1, 2012. This would end a 175-year tradition of delivering a daily newspaper to New Orleanians and make New Orleans the largest city in the U.S. without a daily printed paper. At The Advocate, we think New Orleans and its citizens deserve a quality newspaper printed each and every day, and we intend to provide one.

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Here comes The Advocate: Baton Rouge paper pushing New Orleans subscriptions

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 1:19 PM

The Advocate: coming soon to a front lawn near you, New Orleans
  • The Advocate: coming soon to a front lawn near you, New Orleans
If you want a daily, delivered paper in New Orleans after Oct. 1, The Advocate is working to make that happen. The Baton Rouge newspaper, which had already announced its intention to move into the New Orleans market, is now taking orders for Crescent City subscribers:

Good news, New Orleans!

The Advocate New Orleans Edition will be available October 1st. Call 504-529-0522 for a special introductory rate!

A 6-month subscription to The Advocate in New Orleans is $89.70, or $14.95 per month for 7-day-a-week delivery. In contrast, the relaunched Times-Picayune will be $16.95 per month for 3-day delivery plus the promised Monday New Orleans Saints section. (The 3-day option still isn't listed on the T-P's "Subscribe" pages, either here or here.)

More under the jump, including the announcement of a New Orleans bureau chief for The Advocate ...

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

NOLA Media Group confirms move into One Canal Place — but where are the comments?

Posted By on Sat, Aug 25, 2012 at 2:55 PM

(EDITED TO ADD: Less than three hours after this story was posted, comments were restored on the thread described below.)

Back in June, we reported the new NOLA Media Group was eying space in One Canal Place, the office tower connected to the Shops at Canal Place:

Some employees who have been invited to remain with the company have been told those offices may be in the One Canal Place Office Tower, the 32-story office building with The Shops at Canal Place on its three lowest floors.

While navigating the parking garage at One Canal Place, exiting into downtown traffic and trying to reach freeway on-ramps would seem to be more difficult than getting out of the more centrally-located 3800 Howard location, reporters and photographers have been told they will spend most of their time out of the office and "in the field," communicating with the main office via laptops and mobile devices.

NOLA Media Group president and publisher Ricky Mathews denied that report at the time ("We’re investing heavily in downtown space — you’ll see that soon — there was a story in Gambit this morning, they got it wrong, but when we do announce what we’re doing, you’re going to be very impressed"), but the company has now made it official with a story that carried no byline either in today's Times-Picayune or on

NOLA Media Group has leased 27,000 square feet on the top two floors of the Canal Place office tower in downtown New Orleans to house the new media company once renovations are complete in December, company officials announced Thursday. The Canal Place complex also includes the Shops at Canal Place and the Westin Hotel.

The renovated space will take up the entire 32nd floor and a portion of the 31st floor. The news-gathering operation, along with sales, digital solutions, marketing and other administrative functions, will be housed at the new offices, accommodating more than 140 employees, said NOLA Media Group president and publisher Ricky Mathews.

Seems like a story ripe for comment — but several commenters emailed Gambit overnight and this morning saying their comments have been removed from A couple of screenshots of the comments have been preserved below the jump — and you're welcome to leave your own here.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

News hoax artist Ryan Holiday signs book at Octavia tonight

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Ryan Holiday wrote Trust Me, Im Lying
  • Ryan Holiday wrote Trust Me, I'm Lying

As a marketing officer and online media buyer for American Apparel, Ryan Holiday has bought millions of dollars in advertising. But he has gained a reputation for the hoaxes and pranks (more on media deceptions) that gained free publicity for his company (as well as Tucker Max, the author/professional lout he’s advised on media strategies). There’s a back story on the animus between the Gawker blogs and American Apparel owner Dov Charney, but when Holiday wanted some free advertising, he turned to the Gawker blog Jezebel.

Posing as an employee willing to leak company materials, he offered photos from American Apparel photo shoots that he said were banned from advertising in publications. Thinking they had a scoop, Jezebel staff posted the photos and invited its female, predominantly feminist readership to be outraged. Many were. But at the end of the day, Holiday succeeded in getting the blog to drive readers to view otherwise unused photos. Jezebel benefitted from the traffic the post drew regardless of whether staff checked out the source or not. American Apparel got a lot of exposure without having to pay for it in the form of advertising.

It seems relatively harmless, but Holiday had caught on to how corruptible journalism, particularly blogs and online journalism, can be. To prove his point, he went on the website Help A Reporter Out (HARO), and responded to queries as a source on various topics. He was soon quoted in a New York Times piece about collecting vinyl records (which he doesn’t do), on a website about boatcare, in CBS in a story about embarrassing office stories, etc. He appeared in many news stories and shared bogus information on things he knew little or nothing about. His point: reporters never sought to verify his identity or anything about his credibility as a source. What does he have to say about his attempts to expose the media’s practices:

“People are lucky my intentions are to sell T-shirts,” he says. He finds placing bogus information on blogs and in major publications and broadcasts alarmingly easy.

Holiday moved to New Orleans 15 months ago to write Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator. It’s actually a critique of the what’s wrong with journalism and the problems intrinsic to the transformation to the Internet driving news coverage. The book was released two weeks ago, and he signs copies at Octavia Books today at 6 p.m. His thoughts on the decline of The Times-Picayune after the jump.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

NOLA Media Group to print special "Saints Monday" editions this fall

Posted By on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 9:06 PM

As Gambit has reported previously, the NOLA Media Group will be distributing a special "Saints Monday" edition during football season.

The company made the announcement tonight after a day that saw Saints owner Tom Benson make public his desire to buy the paper — and after the NOLA Media Group took a public shellacking from Sen. David Vitter.

According to, the Saints Monday editions will be delivered free to subscribers, or be available for 75 cents in newsboxes. It will be a tabloid, like the paper's Lagniappe section, rather than a broadsheet.

More details:

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WWNO-FM and NPR to announce partnership with

Posted By on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 6:25 PM

The University of New Orleans (UNO) and its NPR affiliate station, WWNO-FM, have called a press conference for Friday morning for the announcement of "a major new initiative." The initiative is, the fledgling newsroom being put together by Greater New Orleans Inc. president Michael Hecht and Educate Now! head Leslie Jacobs. (The project was previously called both and NOLA Beat; the domain was registered just yesterday.)

A fundraising letter being circulated this week among New Orleans business leaders says "is based on extensive discussions with industry experts, and aims to be a national model for next-wave journalism. will be hosted by UNO, and will partner with WWNO and National Public Radio (NPR)."

The letter also says NPR is investing $250,000 in kind in the project (though that dollar amount may be an estimate and is subject to change), and "has decided to make New Orleans its 'beta' market to develop a robust online platform for its affiliates nationally."

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