As the Times-Picayune cutbacks are looming, other media organizations are examining what comes next for news in New Orleans. Several ideas are in play.
The New Orleans Coalition on Open Governance is asking the community this question: What happens to local news coverage when the Times-Picayune cuts back next month to three print editions a week? Steve Beatty is managing editor of the non-profit public interest newsroom The Lens. Before moderating at a Loyola University media forum, he outlined what some groups are planning to help fill the Times-Picayune void.
“There’s a new effort at the University of New Orleans to start a non-profit organization. The Baton Rouge Advocate has announced changes to get involved in the New Orleans market. And my outfit, The Lens, has teamed up with some other publishers," said Beatty. "All that happened kind of in a flurry in the past two weeks. We looked brilliant for having scheduled this when we did. It was completely by accident.”
Panelists were asked how a culture as diverse as New Orleans can be covered by small groups instead of media aiming at a general audience. Keith Woods of NPR says a broad community view should continue.
“There are still news organizations doing exactly what you’ve described, including the Times-Picayune. You have public radio in town. You have the commercial television stations in town, commercial radio in town. And so, to a certain extent, we can’t continue on imaging that that’s gone.”
The coalition is conducting a survey, asking the public how it wants to receive news, and what that news should include. Surveys are available online at the New Orleans Coalition on Open Governance website.