A Sad Day For Journalism

The Times-Picayune is a newspaper in New Orleans. Well known. Well regarded. It has always been the paper-of-record and served New Orleans heroically before, during and after Katrina.

The T-P is about to stop seven day a week print publication and shift to three. That’s what it’s come to. These are tough times for print. Readership is shrinking in an industry with high fixed costs.

The Times-Picayune is jettisoning jobs! 50 journalists will leave. The newsroom will shrink by a third.

The problem is newspapers are special. We really need them.

Newspapers are the true daily record of what’s going on around us. They are the history of everyday life. The stories they cover are often covered only by them.

Newspapers have room for more depth and perspective than TV (though we beat the crap out of them in emotion and immediacy).

It’s the power of a newspaper that you can see what’s important and understand the general order of things without reading any more than the headlines! Story location and size imply a great deal.

A generation has grown up getting their news online. They don’t read newspapers. Shame. It’s a different experience.

Just moving the news online doesn’t work. Advertisers value online readers differently.

This is a sad day for New Orleans and journalism.

More On Katrina’s Aftermath

This story is beginning to wind down for me. However, what has happened in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast cannot be forgotten.

I am mortified at the sight of the United States begging other countries for aid. Is this our true place in the world? Heaven help us all.

While I was away from my computer, my friend Ashley Adams sent this IM. He was gone by the time I returned to the keyboard:

Ashley: Geoff, why weren’t FEMA and the other fed agencies better prepared in New Orleans? You were telling me that this was going to be the disaster of the century two days before it hit.

That, of course, is the money question.

This morning’s New Orleans Times-Picayune had a scathing editorial.