The Times-Picayune and the Death of the Daily Paper

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The daily paper: it used to be an American institution. But over the past few years, more and more towns and cities have been reducing their circulation. And beginning this fall, the largest city yet will no longer have their major daily. Yesterday, over 200 staff members there received their pink slips from New Orleans paper the Times-Picayune.

Of course, many argue that in this day and age, with the vast quantity and high quality of online news, we don’t need daily papers like we used to.

Takeaway listener Wes Farris wrote on our Facebook page, "I haven't purchased a newspaper in about ten years. I have used them for packing, however, and they were wonderful." And listener Cate Contino writes, "Most of my news these days comes to me via twitter."

But there are people out there who say we still need the daily paper. Among them is Anne Milling, who works with Women of the Storm, which is a grassroots effort to help rebuild New Orleans after Katrina. The group has joined with other organizations to save the Times-Picayune daily paper.

John McQuaid is a Pulitzer Prize-winning former Times-Picayune reporter whose work has appeared in Smithsonian Magazine, The Washington Post and other publications.  


John McQuaid and Anne Milling

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [15]

CK from YKT

You asked: when's the last time you read an actual newspaper? : Yesterday. But it's a local "rag" covering area news. It's free but the only place to get the real local news. Paid for presumably by the ads in it, I still appreciate the articles on what's up on the town council, who was arrested for DUI etc.

Jun. 14 2012 03:23 PM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn, NY

I think city newspapers are well worth keeping, and the papers have to get the point across that their fact-checked, professionally-produced content is worth paying for. I am still a NY Times print subscriber (weekend only, mainly due to the amount of time I have to read it). I also seek out reading the Brooklyn Paper, and my neighborhood print paper. I think even if some people switch to reading the news online, papers should once again look into charging a subscription fee. Professionally-trained editors, researchers, journalists, proofreaders, etc. are critical to the public receiving their "news" from local, fact-checked, valid sources.

Jun. 14 2012 03:19 PM
Chris Westerkamp from Providence RI

According to the Dept of Labor definition, newspapers are manufacturing companies - they produce a product, a physical newspaper. They are the leading manufacturing employer in the USA. What the plan for saving this manufacturing business other than Warren Buffet?

Jun. 14 2012 02:39 PM
undisclosed from New Orleans

Years ago, when the business section became the business page, the city witnessed a profound decline in journalistic integrity. When you see better journalism on local TV stations than on the printed page then it's time to abandon the T-P. With no commitment to producing a quality product the T-P has deserves to be relegated to the obscurity of a website.

Jun. 14 2012 01:12 PM
Nick Pirce from Baltimore

New Orleans Times-Picayune (A profitable paper) is shrinking and will hurt New Orleans as a whole

Jun. 14 2012 11:14 AM
Alona from Pittsburgh

I live in Pittsburgh where you can subscribe to an electronic version of the paper that has exactly the same layout as the daily paper. It is only $0.10 a day, which I think is totally reasonable. I still get the comfortable format I'm used to, but now it's paper free and on my iPad.

Jun. 14 2012 10:02 AM

My wife and I subscribe to the New York Times and wouldn't think of going without it. Try enjoying a cup of coffee and reading the news on a sunny front porch in June without it!! The format of a newspaper lends itself well to browsing. Old issues have many uses and are recycled. Staring at the tube is irritating and straining to the eyes.


Jun. 14 2012 09:52 AM
Edward Burke

(Now that I'm having my coffee . . .) I cite the following as a distinct reason for the demise of daily newspapers: the Times Picayune is owned by Advanced Publications, a Newhouse-owned enterprise based in Staten Island, NY. Similarly, the fading dailies here in the Carolinas, viz., The State (Columbia), The Observer (Charlotte), the News and Observer (Raleigh) are all owned by McClatchy, based in Sacramento, CA. Absentee ownership of newspapers may in fact signal that the publishers and editors are not so well connected to the communities they purport to serve. Media concentrations in NY and CA may be one thing for radio and television; but black-and-white editorial slants emanating from the Vaunted Northeast Corridor or the Golden State of Lunacy just don't sell well, go figure.

Jun. 14 2012 09:42 AM
John R. from Pittsburgh

I've started reading the paper again for two reasons: one, sitting in front of a computer has come to feel almost as lazy as sitting in front of a television; two, because (like many public radio members) I realize that good content must be paid for.

Jun. 14 2012 09:39 AM
Dale H. from Denver - KUVO

I read the Denver Post daily via my iPad. I dropped the physical newspaper almost a year ago in favor of the electronic version which was cheaper for a 7 day subscription. I read it more deeply and understand what I'm reading better. I spend about an hour to read the daily and an hour and a half or more to read the Sunday edition.

Jun. 14 2012 09:25 AM
Phillip from Boston, MA

As an orthodox Jew, I'm unable to use electronics on Saturdays. So to keep up with the news, I get the NY Times delivered to my home on the weekends.

Besides, Saturday is the most relaxing day of the week and the only time when I can give the paper its due read.

Jun. 14 2012 09:20 AM
Suzy from Pittsburgh, PA

I have never loved reading the paper, not because I feel content is lacking, but I guess it's a format thing. I don't like jumping from one page to another to finish a story, the ink gets on everything, and when I have subscribed, my best intentions just add up to a big pile of unread papers. I get most of my news and features from NPR because I can have the radio on while doing other thing. I do feel sometimes that I am missing out on great writing and photos but that has not motivated me to become a regular newspaper reader. My biggest shame? My father wrote for the NYT for 49 years and all that pesky printer's ink supported me as a kid and put me through college. And I've even been a newspaper reporter myself. Go figure.

Jun. 14 2012 09:20 AM
Janice Rustin from Boca Raton, FL

I get home delivery of USA Today (for sports) and NY Times from Friday to Sunday (for news and opinions). Each week, I look at my recycling box and contemplate getting my news online. But this week, my paper has been delivered late, after I've left for work. I felt so lost in the morning. There is nothing like spreading the paper out on the table and reading while eating breakfast. And, I don't have to worry about splashing grapefruit on my iPad. The digital version just does not compare. Oh how I've missed my USA Today pie chart this week!

Jun. 14 2012 09:18 AM
B.J. Herbison from Bolton, Massachusetts, USA

Newspapers are great. Local papers cover news often not covered online or on the radio.

Also, if you read a good paper with global coverage you get a good overview of worldwide events of interest. Radio is good, but doesn't have time for everything. Clicking around online doesn't give you a way to hit everything.

Unfortunately I'm down to once a week for papers. The local delivery service is bad and I don't walk past paper boxes on my daily path.

Jun. 14 2012 09:10 AM
MarkD from New York City

You bet! Every Sunday. The NY Times for the Sunday crossword. Worth the $5 to do the puzzle in print. Yes, I could subscribe to their puzzle app and do it online, but it's just not the same. Also enjoy the Sunday Styles section and the Arts and Leisure. Some things just look better in print.

Jun. 14 2012 09:08 AM

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