The Times-Picayune Farewell begins. I have concerns. (cross-posted to NOLA History Guy)
The phone delivered a tweet with a story about The Advocate acquiring the Times-Picayune yesterday afternoon. I feel a sense of anxiety and urgency over this acquisition.
They’re firing the entire staff at TP/NOLA.com. This wasn’t a merger, it’s a purchase of intellectual property and physical assets. The humans that made NOLA.com what it is are on the street.
When Newhouse delivered their last big round of cutbacks at TP, I felt like something should/could be done to develop a platform in the market that offered a place for some of those laid-off writers to publish and get paid. Folks told me there was no way it would work. A discussion group on the subject failed miserably. Fortunately, Lamar developed the idea for TBB delivered big time in its first year.
TP employed a lot of talented people. Many of them know New Orleans is home, in spite of this setback.
The “digital era” of the Times-Picayune spans over twenty years. While Da Paper struggled, management and staff found a “digital voice.” Forays into video produced good, thoughtful discussion between writers such as Tim Morris and Jarvis Deberry. The bumps in the road were large, though. The first massacre at TP was when Newhouse fired all of the “digital” staff at NOLA.com. That staff operated separately from T-P. Unifying the dot-com with the newspaper offered the organization an opportunity to take charge. All this now shifts to history.
The stories of how NOLA.com grew, then shrunk, then merged with T-P connect with New Orleans’ larger stories in the early aughts and teens. T-P struggled like everyone else during Katrina. They rose above the #shitshow.
We must preserve these stories and memories.
I’m thinking this through, but we have to move quickly. People pack up and leave as soon as other opportunities present themselves.
Work with me to preserve the stories of the last twenty years.