Nola.com Goes Music-Free

I was really saddened to hear that Nola.com let Alison Fensterstock go and shifted Keith Spera to Metro. At a selfish level, I’ll be lonely at some shows without Alison and Keith there too. More importantly, they are too talented to be shown the door or moved to another section summarily. Together, they made Nola.com’s music coverage meaningful. I can’t imagine that this means Nola.com is getting out of the music coverage business, although that’s what it looks like now.

Behind the "Hell"

Rebecca Theim was not a natural choice to become a prominent voice in the community as The Times-Picayune began its tumultuous shift to a digitial-first strategy. The paper was her second full-time job out of college, but she left it 19 years ago and currently works for an ad agency in Las Vegas. Still, she was active on the Friends of The Times-Picayune Editorial Staff Facebook page, launched dashTHIRTYdash to help staffers who lost jobs, and she the recently published Hell and High Water: The Battle to Save the Daily New Orleans Times Picayune.

"Today is a Painful Day"

Former Times-Picayune staffer Rebecca Theim has written Hell and High Water, a book that covers the dramatic transition of The Times-Picayune from a beloved daily paper to a website-led paper that, as it cut frequency and staff, burned off much of that good will. The story has been told in across a host of publications, websites and Facebook posts, but Theim pulls the pieces together in a clear narrative that fills in some of the contexts.

Tonight's Top Story: Nola.com Reporter's on the Scene

[Updated] While I don't share the belief that being first is automatically better, I understand that it is a time-honored news philosophy. It's tempting to tsk-tsk the haste with which Nola.com posted a story on the Frenchmen Street shooting, but television and radio have gone live with little more than a headline for decades.

The Black List

As of 9:45 a.m., the Nola.com app still hosted a poll that asked, "Should we wish President Obama well in his second term?" The possible responses were a) "Absolutely. The president's success is our country's success." b) "Maybe. I wish our president the best, but I want to evaluate each of his policy proposals on its own merits." and c) "No. His policies run counter to the interests of our country." As of 10:04 a.m., 58.42% says Absolutely, 34.14% says No, and 7.44% says Maybe.

This Week's Panel

[Updated] So far, New Orleans has had two panels and one symposium to help it get a grip on its changing media landscape - what's one more? Tonight, the Press Club of New Orleans will host a "State of Print Media" forum at the De La Salle High School  (5300 St. Charles Ave.) starting at 6;30 after a half-hour of networking time.

The Future and The Past

The first 45 minutes of last night's news forum "Where Do We Go From Here" focused on the future of journalism. "New Orleans has gone from five years behind the times to five years ahead in two months," said the Poynter Institute's Kelly McBride. Once the questions started, we rocketed to the past as the first audience member asked if there was a future for newspaper (Answer: yes and no. Barron's and Wall Street Journal - sure. Hyperlocal, subscription-oriented papers - yes.

Questions About Journalism in New Orleans?

Updated: It's rare that we get to say that New Orleans is on the cutting edge of something other celebrations and NFL player motivation, but we're about to become the first major American city to go all-in with digital journalism. When the Newhouse family decided to cut The Times-Picayune to three days a week and make Nola.com its principal outlet, it pressed the fast forward button on an experience that the rest of the country is just starting to imagine.

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