Managers at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune carried off an expected round of layoffs this (Thursday) morning, firing some of the paper's longest-serving reporters alongside more recent hires. In a statement released after the firings, NOLA Media Group President Ricky Mathews said the firings included "28 full time and nine part time content staffers," or "21 percent of the overall content operation's full-time employees."
James Varney, whose career spanned nearly 26 years at The Times-Picayune, was among those fired, as was Paul Purpura, who began at the paper in 1999 and worked a variety of beats in his 16-year tenure. John Pope, whose career began at the old States-Item in 1972, no longer will be a staff writer, but will continue to contribute to the paper.
Andy Grimm, who was hired away from the Chicago Tribune to cover federal courts, also was let go, as were reporter Ben Myers and graphics reporter/editor Dan Swenson. Benjamin Alexander Bloch, who covered coastal parishes and the Gulf of Mexico, was fired, as was Dinah Rogers, the paper's assistant photo editor and a 24-year employee.
Music writer Alison Fensterstock, a former Gambit music columnist, was let go, as well as Cate Root, who posted about events around town and covered the city's burgeoning comedy scene. David Lee Simmons, a former Gambit staffer who covered the entertainment scene, also was fired.
Lyons Yellin of Gambit's TV partner WWL-TV reported that "almost all" the prep sports staff was let go.
It's a real shame nothing ever happens in New Orleans that people might want to read about. But "the market" probably knows what it's doing, right?
Here's what it's doing. Sorry to lift most of Athenae's post here but.. look.
Let’s review: They knifed a bunch of dedicated people in the back, made home delivery incomprehensible and inaccessible, switched up their printing schedule three times in a year, and then blamed their customers for not throwing money at them. That has tits-all to do with the business culture or incremental changes, and everything to do with you guys being morons who could screw up a popsicle stand on the hottest day in July.The "finish line" is we keep firing people until it justifies our decision to transition from profitable journalism to.. what we're sure will be.. more profitable online advertising. We're sure that will work as soon as we complete the consolidation of all our local reporting by veteran journalists with specific beats into one streamlined "content staff" serving clickbait to the greater Alabama region.
It’s certainly not news that America’s newspapers have been battered by the Internet and the recession. Over the past decade, the nation’s 1,300 daily newspapers have lost about 25 percent of their revenue and an equal percentage of their daily subscribers, according to the Newspaper Association of America.Which still does not tell me if that leaves them with enough revenue to do their jobs. “Less” is not “insufficient” and it’s incredibly lazy to use the two terms interchangeably. The conventional wisdom is not the same as fact.
Farhi goes on to note that cutting print has meant cutting the thing that makes the money, but somehow that didn’t factor into his assessment of the Advance strategy (if you can call “let’s hope nobody notices we’re just greedy bastards because the Internet is here for us to blame” a strategy):
Asked whether the “digital-first” strategy is succeeding, the normally voluble Mathews pauses. “I don’t think you can say that,” he replies. “There’s not a finish line that any of us see in the near future.”But hey, at least it’s BOLD!