Hard times in The Big Easy

I read the news today, oh boy . . .

 Actually, I read this particular news item two days ago.  The Times-Picayune, New Orleans’ daily newspaper, is moving to a three-day-per-week publication schedule.  The newspaper has an online presence at nola.com, but in no way does that mean citizens of New Orleans will be able to read it there. 

 An online model won’t work for New Orleans, according to Ann Milling, a long-time advisory board member to The Times-Picayune cited in yesterday’s USA Today article.  She and others are seeking new publishers committed to a daily print newspaper, either through purchase of The Times-Picayune or by starting over with a new, competing publication.

 What happens to a city without a daily newspaper available in a format that all citizens can conveniently access?  For one thing, it becomes less democratic, as PC magazine writer (and former newspaper reporter) Sascha Segan noted yesterday

 Is a city without a daily newspaper also less able to nurture innovation and creativity?

 World-class cities have daily newspapers.  London’s abundance of print has always intrigued me.  Emanating from its Fleet Street epicenter, London’s news biz supports dozens of “quality press” and tabloid publications, both daily and weekly.  Here in the U.S., New York has four large-circulation daily papers, plus many smaller daily and weeklies.  Chicago has two major dailies and several suburban dailies and weeklies.  Los Angeles has the Times and Daily News, along with quite a few other dailies published in the metro area.

 What is the cause and effect relationship here?  Does a city need a newspaper to create an “innovation” environment?  Or, does a city need an “innovation” environment to support a newspaper.

 I’ve never considered New Orleans an “innovation” center (in the Richard Florida creative-class sense).  Yet it is undeniably one of the most “creative” cities in the world.

About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. I also volunteer with a Milwaukee homeless sanctuary, Repairers of the Breach, as chair of the Communications and Fund Development Committee.
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