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No News Is Not Always Good News

A conversation I find myself in more often of late.

Me: “What is the purpose of this institution?”

Answer: “To collect data / publish an independent, daily newspaper / offer the best in healthcare.”

Me: “So, why were all the necessary data for analysis not collected / was a profitable Pulitzer-winning and much-needed city newspaper just gutted / were these particular lab tests not run?”

Answer: “It costs too much / didn’t make obscene profits.”

Me: “What is the purpose of this institution?”

Answer: “To stay under (an unrealistic) budget and make lots of money.”

Me: “Wait, you just said your mission was to … never mind.”

***

What is happening to the New Orleans Times-Picayune is beyond criminal. Three paper issues a week and a perplexing online presence for a city in which activities of cultural, criminal and political note occur on an hourly basis? It’s self-defeating and generates no real value in the long run. Ricky Matthews, the paper’s new publisher has reportedly stated that, “The platform is irrelevant.” As someone who, in the years following The Storm, repeatedly tried and repeatedly failed to make blogging and frequent internet use catch on in a wider swath of the New Orleans populace, I can safely call BULLSHIT. The platform is absolutely relevant in a city filled with people dependent on the physical newspaper for their news because they don’t own a computer or smartphone, much less have access to (reliable) internet service. One digital “initiative” does not fit all. Or as this guy at Esquire says:

Of all the cities in the country, New Orleans should be the one most aware that a huge number of Americans don’t have access to the Toobz … The main reason that newspapers are failing in this country is that they are being set up to fail by publishers who think like hedge fund cowboys, and by editors who think like corporate officers.

Also, nola.com sucks. The unholy bright yellow that gives me a tan, the lack of a comment moderation policy and the refusal (inability of automated publishing?) to prioritize the news. Forget an editor, get someone not color-confused, who lives in New Orleans and who can read.

I really, really hope The Lens and The Gambit can take off with the investigative component of New Orleans news, because it sure doesn’t look like the new T-P business model cares much for actual investigative journalism.

Can’t wait for The Levee reponse.

2 comments… add one

  • Blair May 25, 2012, 7:07 AM

    Response? The best way to refute the truth is to ignore it. Good post.

  • just jon May 25, 2012, 9:18 PM

    We should have a uselessness competition between nola.com and madison.com…

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