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What a sad day for New Orleans.
The venerable Times-Picayune, a multiple Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper that kept its city afloat during Hurricane Katrina, will soon sink into thecesspool of big-corporate ownership.
T-P owner Newhouse Newspapers will restructure the organization to emphasize online media and cut the print edition to three days weekly.
And in some sense of poetic justice, the news broke nationally in The New York Times and then locally in the city’s alternative newspaper, The Gambit. During Katrina, T-P employees stayed behind, riding out the storm and keeping the city informed during the chaos. Leaders of any organization would envy that kind of loyalty. And their reward? In typical big corporation fashion, their own management stabs them in the back.
The worst part is that the T-P has been profitable.
Just not enough for its corporate masters.
And how embarrassing must it be for the managers like Ricky Matthews, the new publisher at the T-P, that his own paper had to post a story online after two other outlets.
At the core of this decision is the corporatization of the media and the change in the advertising landscape. In addition, it is an attempt to drive profits to a level that the media will no longer achieve. The 20-year-old idea that the rate of return on revenue should be in the 20 percent range is long gone, but greedy managers (I refuse to call them leaders) have promised those to stockholders. And to keep their jobs, which they don’t deserve, they refuse to realize they are part of a society with responsibility beyond the stockholder.
Once again, I have to ask myself what this continued trend of destroying local news will do to democracy.