New Orleans newspaper war: Now with TV partnerships!

The Advocate | Nola.com

Louisiana’s Advocate newspaper announced a partnership with New Orleans CBS affiliate WWL-TV Tuesday. Why’s that significant? The Advocate says it’s because the two entities will share sports, weather and investigative reporting. Those are all great reasons, but that last content vertical is especially tantalizing for people obsessed with Louisiana newsgathering, because two of WWL’s investigative reporters are former employees of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, with which the Advocate is locked in an escalating newspaper war.

• David Hammer left the Picayune for WWL-TV last June after the paper announced it would reduce print frequency and staff (since then, the Times-Picayune has increased print frequency again).

• He joined Michael Perlstein, who left the T-P in 2010.

The Times-Picayune and its website Nola.com announced a TV partnership of their own the same day, with Fox-affiliated WVUE-TV, which is also known as Fox 8. Those two organizations announced a sports partnership last year, and they’re expanding it to include teamwork on weather, breaking news and … investigative reporting.

Why’s that significant? Well besides the newspaper war angle and the coinciding announcements, WVUE and WWL are rivals, as this 2009 commercial shows:

Just to make things a little extra weird, New Orleans nonprofit news organization The Lens rents office space from WVUE, with which it has a robust relationship. Its stories have appeared in both The Advocate and on Nola.com.

One more layer: WWL is owned by Belo and will be owned by Gannett presuming the latter’s planned purchase of Belo’s TV stations goes through. Gannett owns five daily newspapers in Louisiana.

Advocate reporter Danny Monteverde tweeted yesterday about the Web of alliances, rivalries and partnerships roiling local journalism:

 

Related: Pennsylvania newspaper, TV station team to compete with less frequent Patriot-News

Correction: This post originally said three former Times-Picayune reporters were at WWL and cited Brendan McCarthy; he left WWL-TV to lead the Kentucky Center for investigative reporting earlier this month.

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  • atompkins

    This is a self-serving comment, and/ but I do hope these “partners” are thinking about training. Whether it is in-house or through a folks like us here at Poynter, you can’t just plant newspaper folks on a TV set and expect them to be great without some understanding how how video works. Same for print and online. Take the sports analogy- if you move a wide receiver into a deep defensive position, there is some coaching involved. Even Tiger Woods has a coach. That said, I hope all of this works. Journalism competition often serves the public very well.