The ongoing saga of the decimation of the Times-Picayune continues. Like many others in the city, I was glued to the Facebook page “Friends of the Times-Picayune Editorial Staff”. It was really heartbreaking to watch these talented people lose their jobs, and scary to watch the slow death of a city’s journalistic caste.
Like almost everyone else in the city, I feel that the transition of the newspaper to a digital product is a big blow to the community. The paper is set to transition to a three-day-a-week delivery in the fall, which meant a massive layoff (about 200 people) from the paper’s newsroom, advertising, marketing production and distribution staff. So obviously there was a big impact on the paper’s employees, many of whom had been with the company for over 20 years. So sad.
I don’t think this is the end, either, not by a long shot. It’s just the beginning of news delivery transforming itself from paper to the Internet. It’s the nature of the beast: with the Internet, consumers want immediate gratification, immediate news, and the web provides the ability to make that happen.
So I don’t think that the Times-Picayune will be around in three years in its paper format at all. It’ll all be digital at nola.com. Phase out the old, plop in the new.
I am not quite the news junkie that Joseph is (tuned to CNN, MSNBC and network news), although I do admit that I receive news updates via email and on my iPhone. To me, though, news online and delivered via iPhone is shallow and “headline” oriented. There’s no real depth to it.
I could never sit at my computer and read the excellent investigate reportage that I read in the TP’s recent eight-article series about incarceration in Louisiana. But then I’m old-school. I’m more curious about the back story, the ramifications of change, the reasons why things have happened and will happen. I just don’t get that from online news. It’s quick, it’s short, it requires no attention span or real curiosity regarding the who, when, where, what, why.
I’ve always felt that the Internet is having a huge impact on the cultural consciousness because it encourages a short attention span. How can anyone learn to think and examine issues deeply when all they are concerned with is a quickie headline and a burst of news? Personally, I need to know more. I’ve been a voracious reader since I was a little girl. The web has always been fascinating because it provides a whole world of knowledge that can be tapped into and researched. But it’s no substitute for taking the time to read about a subject and to acquire a more in-depth knowledge about a subject.
This is from the perspective of coming from the old world to the new world of the web: I have the background and interest in information depth and the value of research. I didn’t start reading by getting bursts of info from the web or from smartphones.
There are now two generations of young people who have been brought up on the web. I wonder how much research has been conducted on how the Internet has hurt or helped individuals’ psychological development; how the web has changed the actual education and perception of young people (if any readers know of such studies, please comment or shoot me an email; I’m interested).
OffBeat and all other print products are in the same boat, although not in the more precarious one that daily newspapers occupy. We rarely cover news stories in print; most of our content comes from interviews and reviews, and features that are way more in-depth. Our website and the Weekly Beat can provide more current posts on “news.” Our listings are now much more complete online, which makes sense. But OffBeat is still committed to providing its readers with in-depth information. Skimming the surface isn’t our intent. We want our readers to really know and appreciate our music and musicians.
So I’ll ask you: do you want news? Do you want longer or shorter stories? Podcasts? Video on our website? More social media interaction? How do you want our subject mattered delivered to you? Tell us how to be relevant to what you want to read and respond to our mission of promoting, presenting and marketing New Orleans and Louisiana music. We need your input.