Kevin Allman, editor of New Orleans’ Gambit alternative weekly, who has exhaustively and compellingly covered the changes at The Times-Picayune, appeared last night (July 20) on New Orleans’ public television station WYES-TV’s “Informed Sources” to talk about the latest developments. (Watch the entire episode by clicking here.)
Some of what he had to say:
On Thursday’s largest mass departure from the newsroom, which included veteran City Hall reporter Frank Donze, fellow City Hall reporter Michelle Krupa, and health care and state politics reporter Bill Barrow. (Friday’s night’s going-away party at the Ugly Dog Saloon also feted soon-to-depart crime reporter and Pulitzer finalist Brendan McCarthy, business reporter Jaquetta White, St. Bernard community news editor Kim Gritter, special projects reporter Cindy Chang, Kenner reporter Mary Swerczek Sparacello and managing editor Peter Kovacs.): “What they’re losing right now is a lot of institutional memory. The whole list of people going down the line that are leaving, I don’t think they (newspaper management) expected to leave.”
State of the newsroom: “The newsroom is in triage, the newsroom is in mourning. They’re afraid they’re going to be missing stories in the next couple of months, both because the man and woman power isn’t there, and because there’s no one really in charge, they don’t see where they’re going, they still have not been addressed by this new publisher.” Incoming publisher Ricky Mathews has editorialized on the front page of newspaper and met with fellow executives and major advertisers, but has not yet spoken to the rank-and-file.
Shifting control of the backstory? “The NOLA Media Group feels like it’s getting control of what they call the narrative again,” boosted this week by the high-profile hiring of Larry Holder from CBSSports.com to cover the New Orleans Saints. “Some changes may be coming to NOLA.com, which I don’t think anybody likes very much. So I think they think they’ve got a long-range plan that come October, they might be in pretty good shape.”