I visited the Times-Picayune newsroom once many years ago. The ex and I were in New Orleans for the marathon, and a former colleague was working there. We got the obligatory tour.
I don’t remember much about it, which is not surprising. At least in those days, newspapers all looked pretty much the same. Only the accents changed. But I always liked that paper. Good journalism and a distinctive style. I thought it fit in well with the city. It was part of the city.
So It feels a bit personal today to read about the horrific layoffs they just went through. They’re following the same path I went down a couple of years ago. New company, publication cut to three days a week, newsroom instantly hacked by 50 percent. Eighty-four journalists.
There’s really not much to say. It’s just the way things are these days.
The one bright spot I read today: At the traditional wake last night, bestofneworleans.com reported that colleagues from the Chicago Tribune called the newspaper bar and opened a tab for the guys who were drinking there. Journalists make the best drinking buddies. Even if they’re not there.
The low spot: Someone there tried to call up the video of the new boss promising a bright future with digital news, but it hadn’t been formatted to play on smartphones.
It’s been a long trip from that day I ran that marathon in New Orleans. I remember beignets and a voodoo shop and Bourbon Street and a newspaper that I just assumed would always be there. For 175 years, it was.
I hope those voodoo dolls actually work …