After 175 years, New Orleans will become the biggest city in the country without a daily newspaper according to Times-Picayune staff writer John Pope.
It was announced on May 24 that the paper will be publish three days a week because of declining print revenues in a digital age. The change will take effect sometime this fall, which includes staff reductions, centralizing operations and merging print and digital into a single operation according to the Wall Street Journal.
Readers of the paper reacted with anger, sadness, frustration express in Tweets, Facebook, emails and telephone calls. A Facebook group called “Save the Times Picayune” was created in hopes to persuade the Newhouse News Corporation to continue the daily publication of the Times- Picayune.
Former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial believes the Times-Picayune newspaper, including the Newhouse family who owns it, and its former publisher Ashton Phelps owes the community an explanation.
“The publisher, for the most part, disappeared and hasn’t said anything publicly,” Morial said. “The owners of the newspaper hasn’t said anything publicly and there’s a lot of questions about why they’ve done it. There’s been no documentation that the newspaper is not economically viable.”
As a result, he said the community is outraged and concerned.
“They have been disrespected and mishandled,” he continued.
Times-Picayune declined an interview.
Mr. Newhouse told the Wall Street Journal the decision to cut back the print edition was “a result of marking conditions.”
Morial didn’t completely buy into his statement.
“Some people has shared with me that the paper was making money,” Morial said. “Now, if they wasn’t making money, they need to come and say why it wasn’t making money, but there is no reason for them to take this step, particularly, without a followed explanation.”