Panel Discussion: Black and White and Red All Over - The Digital Future of the New Orleans Media Market.
Late in the evening of May 23, employees of the Times-Picayune read in the New York Times that their jobs would soon be lost or significantly altered as the 175 year old paper would be folded into a new "digitally focused" media company. The print edition of the paper would be reduced to a three day per week schedule. Over 200 employees would be laid off or reassigned in the process.
The summer following the T-P's announcement has seen a lively discussion about the future of the news media in New Orleans and elsewhere. Some have argued against the changes altogether. Others have suggested they aren't happening fast enough. A still more nuanced and complete view will take into account questions about the needs of the community being served, as well as the costs of "doing journalism" and how those costs are covered.
Looming over all of this is the concern that New Orleans is losing its "paper of record" where a great cross-section of the community is presented with a comprehensive consensus view of the issues and events that matter most to them. Precisely defining the vacuum the Times-Picayune will leave in local news coverage may be an elusive proposition, but in the meantime, there is no shortage of entities and "alliances" lining up to try and fill it.
Will the upheaval in the news industry eventually lead to an era of clearer focus for readers in New Orleans? Or will the fragmented nature of the digital lens merely bring about a more robust confusion?