by Max Brantley
The New Orleans Times-Picayune, which distinguished itself amid great adversity during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, is about to enact large staff cuts and may cut back its daily print publishing schedule, according to two employees with knowledge of the plans.
Newhouse Newspapers, which owns the Times-Picayune, will apparently be working off a blueprint the company used in Ann Arbor, Mich., where it reduced the frequency of the Ann Arbor News, emphasized the Web site as a primary distributor of news and in the process instituted wholesale layoffs to cut costs.
A request for comment late Wednesday night from the newspaper’s editor, Jim Amoss, was not returned.
The plans have been kept under wraps, but the newspaper will likely publish two or three times a week rather than daily, according to the employees.
In the current national context, particularly, I don't think it a stretch to call the T-P a great newspaper. It continued to cover the news of record deeply with a large, vigorous and educated staff under the guidance of leaders who never lost sight of big pictures — prisons, coastal erosion, the New Orleans schools, government dereliction in Katrina. Beyond that, I can't think of a newspaper in the country more knitted up in the fabric of the city and region in which it worked. You want to know about po boys? The T-P knows po boys. I'm sentimental because I grew up reading the Picayune, but I've read it recently and that experience only heightened my admiration. A sad day for New Orleans and all who love newspapers.
PS — And then there's the matter of the New York Public Library removing books to turn libraries into cybercafes.