As journalists at Advance Publications’ New Orleans and Alabama papers receive word of layoffs, Times-Picayune editor Jim Amoss is responding to readers angry about the plan to reduce printing and staff. Amoss appears in a video on NOLA.com published Tuesday, as meetings are under way to inform individuals of their future with the company. In the video, Amoss speaks to readers:
Hi, I’m Jim Amoss, editor of the Times-Picayune. I wanted to talk to you about our newspaper and some important changes we announced recently. Beginning this fall, we will become a digitally-focused news operation. What does that mean? It means that our reporters, photographers, editors and graphic artists will concentrate on producing a news report of both depth and immediacy. It will be available to readers on their computers, their tablets and their smartphones. We will also be publishing three print editions a week, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, instead of our current seven.
The response to this last bit of news has been strong. We’ve hard from you in comments on nola.com and we’ve printed your letters.
Many readers can’t imagine a morning without our newspaper in their hands. I understand that; I’m a print guy. I grew up in this business. But I’m also a news guy, a journalist and a New Orleans native. My priorities are to cover the news of the New Orleans area, to have the best reporters investigate and explain the complexities of this politically byzantine community and to write about our culture — our food, our music, our sports mania.
You’ve read about the economic challenges newspapers everywhere face. We are not immune from those trends. This is a difficult week at our paper — we’ve had to let go of some wonderful employees. It is a painful transition. We will also be hiring to increase our coverage of areas we know are important to our readers.
We will be creating a new company, NOLA Media Group, that will cover the news for both the Times-Picayune and NOLA.com. All this will allow us to preserve what the readers of the Times-Picayune and the users of NOLA.com value — the largest and most experienced news gathering team in our community.
It’s clear we must continue to serve our print readers with the top-notch journalism they’ve come to expect of us. But it’s also clear that the demand for news in the digital world will continue to rise. We see that trend every day on NOLA.com.
News organizations that don’t serve their digital audience, as well as their print readers, risk a slow death. We plan to serve both with distinction. We won’t retreat from our commitment to be a watchdog of local government, we won’t retreat from doing significant investigative journalism, we won’t retreat from being the dominant news source for our communities. Those are our promises and we know you’ll hold us to them.
For the Times-Picayune, I’m Jim Amoss.