Times-Picayune cites gains as ’60 Minutes’ chronicles cutbacks

Nola.com | CBS | DashThirtyDash | Gambit Weekly
Before Sunday evening’s “60 Minutes” story about the New Orleans Times-Picayune’s reductions in staff and print frequency, Times-Picayune Editor Jim Amoss wrote a letter to readers saying the move seems like a success so far. He cited increased circulation and pageviews on Nola.com, the newspaper’s website.

Average paid circulation is up both daily and Sunday for October and November 2012, the two most recent months since the change to the three-day print model, as compared to the average paid daily and Sunday circulation for September 2012, the most recent month before the change. …

Meanwhile, NOLA.com’s audience has continued to grow. In 2012, 41 million viewers came to NOLA.com, 7 million more viewers than in 2011.

Amoss also cited journalistic successes, and said the paper’s newsroom has 155 employees — down 20 people from its pre-cuts headcount. T-P ex-employees assistance fund DashThirtyDash noted on its blog that “at least five new editorial hires carry titles like ‘Staff Performance Measurement and Development Specialist’ and ‘Community Engagement Specialist,’ which prompted some former news veterans to question how much such employees contribute to the editorial product.”

“If The Times-Picayune was anticipating a negative piece about the paper’s cutbacks on tonight’s 60 Minutes, it really had nothing to fear,” Gambit Weekly Editor Kevin Allman writes on the New Orleans alt-weekly’s blog. The report, he says, is a “breezy, evenhanded look” at the paper’s changes.

The report is in fact a good primer for anyone who hasn’t followed the story closely (here’s a transcript), and its Web extras offer a wealth of material for fans of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who reminisces about his old paper routes and notes his children won’t touch paper. There’s also a clip of Amoss calling the suggestion that reporters will be paid by the click a “somewhat cartoonish view.”

The story also chronicles some familiar objections to the paper’s move, with the Catholic archbishop of New Orleans saying they’ll fall heaviest on the city’s elderly and poor, and former Times-Picayune columnist Lolis Elie saying online reports don’t have the same impact as printed ones.

Related: The Advance-owned Syracuse, N.Y., Post-Standard redesigns its nameplate to look more traditional (Charles Apple) | Times-Picayune says circulation is up since it cut staff, print frequency (Poynter)

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