The Times-Picayune not only won two Pulitzer Prizes for such journalistic derring-do, but admiration from a community in desperate need of updates during the storm and for answers from officials in its aftermath. “The city,” Russell said, “had a real bond with the paper.”
That bond was broken in June 2012. Advance Publications, the Newhouse family-run company that owns the paper, laid off over 200 people, nearly a third of the staff. The frequency of the print edition dropped to three days a week and a significantly diminished newsroom now focused on a website, NOLA.com.
“The way that some careers ended in 2012 was just sort of horrible,” Russell recalled. “Whatever goodwill people had toward that institution just sort of evaporated on that day … It was just handled terribly.”
And why is this happening?
The decline of the Times-Picayune is, in some ways, an illustration of a changing newspaper industry as a whole.
HORSESHIT. God, I am so tired of “the world is changing” as some kind of universal “we just can’t do stuff anymore.” If you don’t want to work, fine. If you don’t way to pay reporters anymore, FINE. But don’t come to me with this when THESE ARE THE GODDAMN FACTS:
Advance Publications on Forbes Lists
- #44 America’s Largest Private Companies
Revenue As of October 2014
EIGHT GODDAMN BILLION DOLLARS.
Newspaper companies are killing newspapers. Not digital reading habits, not Craigslist, not kids getting their news from Comedy Central, and not people canceling their subscriptions when the TV listings get changed. Newspaper companies. They are killing newspapers and telling journalists somebody else did it, and journalists are saying why, of course, let us look elsewhere for the murderer.
Has revenue declined? YES. But “declined” does not mean “not enough to pay for the things that matter” and it certainly doesn’t mean “not enough to pay reporters while we give our executives six-figure bonuses and let them walk away with millions after they skullfuck the company.”
Yet we keep seeing story after story about the industry’s changes as if they’re the fucking WEATHER. As if the clouds just roll in and the rain washes everyone’s jobs away. As if the changes aren’t made by people. As if people shouldn’t answer for them. We keep seeing stories from organizations that want to jerk themselves off about being the last bastions of democratic rule, that want to talk all day about the value of their sainted bullshit detectors, that repeat this bullshit like it’s bulletproof gospel.
I have never SEEN people who are supposed to question everything question so little.