Founded in 1837, The Times-Picayune is a cherished, Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in the great American city of New Orleans. Despite the newspaper's proud history and heroic actions of much of its staff during Hurricane Katrina, The Times-Picayune's corporate owners, Advance Publications, announced in late May that beginning in the fall, the newspaper would be published only three days a week, the staff would be cut and the diminished resources would be focused on the website NOLA.com. On June 12, about one-third of the newspaper's staff was told their jobs would end Sept. 30, including almost one-half of the newsroom. These decisions were made despite the fact that the newspaper is still profitable, enjoys the highest audience penetration of any major U.S. newspaper and only 36% of New Orleanians have reliable Internet access necessary to read NOLA.com daily.
Few believe a three-day-a-week newspaper, reduced staff and a mediocre website are acceptable alternatives to today's Times-Picayune, and the New Orleans community and the media industry have responded to Advance's plans with shock and outrage. Advance Publications Chairman Steven Newhouse has retorted by saying, "we have no intention of selling, no matter how much noise there is."
Please join with New Orleans residents, community activists, newspaper lovers and others - including Democratic political strategist and CNN contributor and New Orleans resident James Carville, cartoonist Garry Trudeau, NPR and ABC News political commentator and New Orleans native Cokie Roberts, "Mad Men" star Bryan Batt, actor Ed Asner (aka newspaper editor "Lou Grant"), "Moneyball" author and native New Orleanian Michael Lewis, "Prairie Home Companion's" Garrison Keillor, journalist Linda Ellerbee, authors Anne Rice and Christine Wiltz, musicians Branford Marsalis and Marcia Ball, and humorist Roy Blount Jr. - who value the role a great newspaper plays in a free society. Show your support by signing this petition to implore Advance and the Newhouses to maintain the publishing frequency and proud legacy of The Times-Picayune and its other newspapers.