Proper, grand, bittersweet send-off to the daily Times-Picayune

What an amazing weekend!

It was a whirlwind and I’ll try to provide a proper post as soon as possible, but for the time being, here are some links:

  • Times-Picayune staffers moving out, on (Baton Rouge Advocate. This story is my favorite so far, and written by Kari Dequine Harden, a laid-off Times-Picayune reporter who’s been hired by the Advocate for its new daily New Orleans edition, which began home delivery today in response to the T-P’s retrenchment.)

 And from earlier:

Thanks again … updates on money raised and photos of the amazing, bittersweet weekend ASAP.

Author and freelance journalist Jason Berry discusses Times-Picayune saga on WYES-TV’s “Informed Sources”

Freelance investigative journalist and author Jason Berry, who penned a June 12 article for The Nation about the debacle at the newspaper titled “Rolling the Dice at The Times-Picayune,” appeared last night (June 29) on New Orleans’ public television station WYES-TV’s “Informed Sources” to talk about the latest developments in the ongoing saga. (Watch the entire program by clicking here.)

Among his choice observations:

On Friday’s decision by at least eight newsroom staffers to reject the newspaper’s offers to stay: “This is like the New Orleans Saints – everyone is wondering when Drew Brees is going to sign – this is like the entire backfield.”

On Advance Publications/ Newhouse’s new direction and the resulting brain drain: “This has been an amazing disaster. Here you have a newspaper that won four Pulitzer Prizes in 20 years, and they’ve wiped out their institutional memory, they’re losing many of their best reporters and they’re making money in the process.”

On profitability: “They had about an 8% profit last year, which means the Picayune made somewhere in the $8 million-to-$10 million range, not a bad profit.”

On the single-mindedness of the Newhouse’s plan: “They made no effort to build a circulation drive, to try to draw in younger readers, or any number of things they could have done, and absolutely had no interest in doing. And so now we have this skeleton where they once had a pretty healthy, thriving newspaper.”

On the New Orleans business community’s responsibility to do more to ensure that the resurging post-Katrina city has a daily newspaper: “I think the challenge to the business community here is striking because we are becoming an international city, we have become a city of the young … the number of entrepreneurs, website developers, young filmmakers who have come here in the last several years, not to mention the resurgence of the music community, the restaurants … All of this is fodder for a good daily paper. The question is whether the business community will simply sit back, be passive, let the Picayune lumber along as this new skeleton, or whether they’ll recognize that getting behind a serious, bona fide news engine will be to the betterment of the community, which certainly it would be.”