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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Tim Williamson out as president of NOLA Media Group

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2018 at 12:38 PM

Tim Williamson stepped down as president of NOLA Media Group this morning, according to an unsigned artcile on NOLA.com. - PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • Tim Williamson stepped down as president of NOLA Media Group this morning, according to an unsigned artcile on NOLA.com.

Tim Williamson, the co-founder of Idea Village who took over as president of NOLA Media Group (NMG) in 2016, left the company today, according to an unsigned article on NOLA.com.

"Having accomplished so much together, and having created so much positive momentum ... I have decided this is the right moment for me to step down," Williamson was quoted as saying.

Williamson had replaced Ricky Mathews, who was brought in to oversee The Times-Picayune's "digital revolution" in 2012, a move which eventually involved the firing of hundreds of staffers, a three-day-a-week print schedule and a rebranding as NOLA Media Group. The staff cuts and reduced print schedule (the latter of which was finally reversed) were wildly unpopular in both the newsroom and the city, sparking protests against Advance Publications, which owns NMG, as well as against Mathews himself.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Survey: Louisiana residents trust local media — national media, not so much

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 4:28 PM

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Louisiana residents are pretty satisfied with their local news sources, according to the last of six reports from the 2018 Louisiana Survey, an annual product of the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication and the Reilly School for Media & Public Affairs.

However, that trust doesn't extend to the national media, according to the survey.

"Most Louisiana residents (56 percent) think that local news organizations are accurate in
their reporting, which is much higher than the share who think national news organizations generally get the facts straight (32 percent)," according to the survey's summary.

Other findings:

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Monday, April 9, 2018

A letter to our readers, from Margo and Clancy DuBos

Posted By and on Mon, Apr 9, 2018 at 2:50 PM

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For the past 27-plus years, we have had the great honor of owning Gambit. Throughout that time, we have strived always to keep Gambit true to its original mission of speaking truth to power while highlighting New Orleans’ unique arts, entertainment, cultural and political scenes. It’s been great fun for us, but now it’s time to pass the baton to Gambit’s fourth owner — Capital City Press, LLC, publisher of The Advocate newspaper. We do so with many fond memories and an equal measure of optimism for Gambit’s future.

Gambit was founded in December 1980 by writer-editor Gary Esolen and former Vieux Carre Courier publisher Philip Carter. In those early years, Gambit burnished its reputation as a take-no-prisoners observer of local news and politics. Five years later, Virginia-based Landmark Communications Inc. bought Gambit. Landmark, a family-owned media giant that once owned The Weather Channel as well as daily and weekly newspapers, brought needed business structure and a deep reservoir of resources to the fledgling company.

When we bought Gambit with local investors in 1991, it marked a return to local ownership. In the ensuing decades, Gambit covered the rise and fall of David Duke and Edwin Edwards, the onset of casino gaming, Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, too many political scandals to count, the BP oil disaster, New Orleans’ ongoing struggles to create a safe and sustainable city that offers economic promise equally to all its citizens — and every aspect of local arts, entertainment and culture. We created the Big Easy Entertainment Awards to recognize the best of local music, theater and classical arts; and we entered the world of digital publishing with our bestofneworleans.com website.

These are exciting — and challenging — times for journalists, particularly those who work in local media. Although we will no longer own Gambit, we both will remain active in its operations. Clancy will continue writing the Politics column he has penned since 1981, and Margo will continue helping with sales and marketing strategies. As we move with Gambit into this next phase of local ownership and additional resources, we are reminded of Gambit’s Commentary announcing the paper’s acquisition by Landmark in 1985: “More than ever before, we can look at Gambit and know how secure it will be and how solid its future is in New Orleans.”

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Gambit gets sold, and social media has a thing or two to say

Posted By on Mon, Apr 9, 2018 at 2:09 PM

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When the news broke this morning that John and Dathel Georges bought Gambit and BestofNewOrleans.com, my email and texts blew up. Many of the questions people asked were answered in our joint news story, as well as Danny Monteverde's story on WWL-TV. But the one big question has been: Is this a good thing?

I think so. Years ago, I worked for a publication that was sold and went from a very good owner to a terrible one. This feels nothing like that.
Everyone on our editorial team is staying. Our story mix isn't changing. Gambit still will come out on Sunday, though it will be printed on the new presses owned by Georges Media Group. Our writers still will be given plenty of latitude to write about subjects they find important. We're not being sold off for pieces and parts, we're not going to start running a bunch of stupid slideshows and we're not being sold to an owner who doesn't know and really understand New Orleans.

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The Advocate purchases Gambit and BestofNewOrleans.com

Posted By on Mon, Apr 9, 2018 at 9:55 AM

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Gambit, New Orleans’ signature weekly news and entertainment paper, has been purchased by the parent company of The New Orleans Advocate.

Advocate owners John and Dathel Georges purchased the weekly from Margo and Clancy DuBos, native New Orleanians who have owned Gambit since 1991. Terms were not disclosed.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Editorial: The real 'fake news' is Sinclair Broadcast Group

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 7:38 PM

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By now you’ve probably seen the video of dozens of local news anchors around the country robotically reciting the same canned script warning viewers against “fake news.” The script was a diktat from the stations’ owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair owns and/or operates nearly 200 local TV stations around the country, including affiliates of CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, Telemundo and Univision. Soon, it likely will control even more.

Under President Donald Trump, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has loosened ownership laws that historically barred media companies from gaining monopolies in the markets they serve. Now, Sinclair is proposing a merger with Tribune Media, which would give it control of 233 local stations, according to a letter sent last month by U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas to the U.S. Department of Justice. The merger would give Sinclair even greater reach in new markets, including New Orleans, whose WGNO-TV (ABC) and WNOL-TV (CW) would become Sinclair stations.

Sinclair chairman David Smith has made his contempt for print journalism clear, telling New York magazine recently, “The print media is so left wing as to be meaningless dribble which accounts for why the industry is and will fade away. Just no credibility.”

OK. Let’s talk “credibility.”

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Friday, March 23, 2018

Needed: citizen engagement on bills regarding sunshine laws and domestic violence

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 2:24 PM

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The Louisiana Constitution bars state lawmakers from considering revenue-raising bills in the current legislative session, but that hasn’t stopped them from taking up gravely important matters that warrant citizens’ close attention — and engagement.

Two cases in point:

• At least a dozen bills in both the House and Senate take aim at Louisiana’s public records, public notice and open meetings laws — known collectively as “Sunshine Laws.” A few of the measures would strengthen our Sunshine Laws, but most would weaken them in one way or another.

• The Senate this week will consider a bill to strengthen Louisiana’s anti-domestic violence laws by requiring stricter enforcement of existing laws that require domestic abusers to surrender their firearms.

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Say what, San Antonio Express-News?

Posted By on Fri, Mar 16, 2018 at 5:11 PM

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Gambit arts editor Will Coviello caught the headline on the Tom Benson obituary today in the San Antonio Express-News. And there's more:

Tom Benson Jr., the Texas automobile, banking and media magnate who owned the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans franchises, died Thursday. He was 90.

“Tom was a friend and an ally, and I admired him greatly. He was a proud Texan, who also embraced his leadership role in the state of Louisiana,” said Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys. 

San Antonio: We know you wanted the New Orleans Saints, and that the Benson family gave millions to charities in Texas, and that they have homes in Texas, but just: no.

Born here, lived here, stayed here, gave millions to local charities, owned both of the city's major sports franchises — Benson was a New Orleanian.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

New York Times on New Orleans' proposed surveillance plan

Posted By on Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 3:55 PM

The city's Real Time Crime Monitoring Center oversees a citywide crime camera network. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • The city's Real Time Crime Monitoring Center oversees a citywide crime camera network.

The New York Times
took a look today at New Orleans City Hall's plan to install 1,500 surveillance cameras around town — acknowledging "typically vexing civil liberties issues" but seemingly more concerned that round-the-clock police surveillance of the streets will quash people's abilities to attend "boy-lesque" shows, carry potbellied pigs around town and "somehow suck the soul out of the place, quashing the promise of the Mardi Gras anthem 'Do Whatcha Wanna,' which serves as a siren song for tourists and a kind of mission statement for many residents":
Last fall, the city opened a Real Time Crime Monitoring Center, with a huge wall of screens showing video feeds of street scenes, in a building at the edge of the French Quarter.

A block away at the Black Penny, a tiny bar on North Rampart Street, grousing over the cameras was easy to find. “It’s going to be very clinical — it’s going to take the mystique, the romanticism out of the city,” said Alyx Gauthier, 27, a local service-industry worker who was nursing a pint on a recent afternoon. “This city was built by pirates and whores,” she said.
The Times also stopped at Oz, Cafe Lafitte in Exile and the Upper Ninth Ward to gauge the pulse of the populace. Give it a read.

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

New York Times '52 Places to Go' reporter: No one walks on the streets after dark in New Orleans

Posted By on Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 2:15 PM

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Well, here's something from a New York Times reporter that the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau won't be touting (for a change):
That's the Twitter account of Jada Yuan, The New York Times' "52 Places to Go" reporter, who will be traveling the globe over the next year, reporting from the Times' much-touted list of travel destinations — of which New Orleans was No. 1, baby. (Based on Yuan's observation, it's more like No. 1 with a bullet.)

The world's top tourist destination where you can't leave the house after dark? That may seem contradictory, but it's also very 2018, yes?

Nevertheless, Yuan likes us; she really likes us, even though we're "dangerous territory":

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