Nola Media Group announces digital initiative one week before Times-Picayune reduces print days
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Nola Media Group announced it will fund a half-million dollars worth of initiatives to increase public access to digital media in New Orleans. New Orleans has one of the lowest rates of broadband access in the country. The company publishes the Times-Picayune, which will go to a three-day-a-week publishing schedule Oct. 1. One of the projects -- Buying iPads for libraries:
The New Orleans Public Library Foundation will receive funding to purchase 66 iPads for community use at all city library locations. In addition, the Main Library will have a kiosk to allow patrons to use an iPad in the library.
Nola.com is where the company's journalists will focus their newsgathering efforts; it also announced a redesign of several of its sections Tuesday.
The Baton Rouge Advocate kicked off its New Orleans edition, which will print seven days a week, at a party in New Orleans Monday. Kevin Allman took a flip through the new edition there:
The main headline was a [Advocate New Orleans bureau chief Sara] Pagones story about the New Orleans City Council District B race, while below it was a large photo of yesterday's New Orleans Saints game. Below the fold, Advocate Baton Rouge music writer profiled the end of Preservation Hall's yearlong 50th anniversary — a locally important story, but one that already had been widely covered in local media during the past year. ...
The Saints dominated the front of the sports page, with an article by Baton Rouge-based sportswriter Sheldon Mickles. But the arts section ("People") was entirely devoid of New Orleans-specific content, except for a New Orleans TV grid. Likewise, the editorial pages were completely Baton Rouge-centric, at least on the first day. And those who have become fond of The Times-Picayune's weather frog will now have to make do with WBRZ-TV Baton Rouge meteorologist Pat Shingleton — whose five-day forecast didn't specify a city or region.
You can get a glimpse of the new edition in this TV report:
Here's this morning's Advocate front page, which teases the new edition.
Some of the staffers introduced at the party were old Times-Picayune hands, Allman writes, including Pagones, Harden and photographer John McCusker (recently featured in a CBS News story about the changes at the Times-Picayune). Nola Media Group has announced it will open a Baton Rouge office and hire more staffers there.
Advocate Publisher David Manship told Allman the paper has 2,000 New Orleans subscribers, a tenth of its goal.
The changes in New Orleans will also occur at the Times-Picayune's sister papers in Alabama. Some clever person in Birmingham has put together a website that tells print readers there whether the Birmingham news will be printed that day.
Also in New Orleans media news: AP New Orleans reporter Mary Foster dies at 68 (Associated Press)