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Reddit, Advance Publications, and listening to your community

Reddit Thrives Under Hands-Off Policy at Advance Publications

David Carr from the New York Times has published a story about the great deal of autonomy that Advance Publications has given Reddit since it took over that site years ago. What I found amazing about the piece is that nowhere in it does Carr mention what Advance has done with some of its other publications (Carr was the journalist who broke the story about Advance cutting their print operation by more than half in New Orleans, Mobile, Birmingham, and Huntsville). This quote from Steven Newhouse couldn’t be a better example of everything they failed to do in New Orleans:

But that is not what happened. Steve Newhouse, the chairman of Advance.net, decided very early on that his company would not be the blob that ate Reddit, and for the most part, left well enough alone. “We had some ideas about what would be good, but it might not have worked,” Mr. Newhouse said. “We paid attention to the community instead.”

Paying attention to the community, you say? How about the community that universally despises what you’ve done to nola.com? What about the community that’s begged you to sell the paper rather than strangle it? You don’t want to be the blob that ate Reddit, but you’re perfectly content to be the blog that decimated the Times-Picayune. If that’s true, man, talk about misplaced priorities. If it’s untrue, Redditors can plan on seeing this soon.

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My advice to the Newhouse family

WWL TV: Tom Benson’s letter stating his interest in buying the Times-Picayune

The city of New Orleans is a city of immense culture, economic growth and host to millions of people annually; it is a nationally and internationally recognized city, it is a city deserving of a seven day a week newspaper.

Gambit: New Orleans City Council Resolution R-12-284

Urging the Times-Picayune to take any and all necessary actions, including sale of the newspaper, to ensure the uninterrupted continuation of seven-day-a-week print publication of its newspaper for the benefit of its loyal readers in New Orleans, the Gulf Coast region, and throughout the country.

Gambit: David Vitter’s letter urging the Newhouse family to sell

Maybe you truly believe that your new model for the Times-Picayune will serve the region well. I do not. More importantly, no citizen of the region whom I’ve spoken to about this does. And I literally mean no one. This includes everyone at the Times-Picayune itself that I’ve spoken to.

And don’t ever fucking make me agree with David Vitter again.

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Rolling the Dice at the Times-Picayune

The Nation: Rolling the Dice at the Times-Picayune:

“This is one of the dumbest decisions by any newspaper publisher ever,” states historian John Barry, a New Orleans resident, authority on the levee system and author of Rising Tide, an award-winning history of the 1927 Mississippi River flood. “The Nola.com website is one of the worst I’ve ever dealt with. By coincidence, for the last few years—because I have a personal interest in something that happens in Ann Arbor—I’ve been going to the website and it is exactly the same—awful. Frustrating, unnavigable, with a terrible search engine.”

Today, the layoffs begin at the T-P. It’s a sad day for those who appreciate honest journalism on the gulf coast, and the saddest day hasn’t even come yet.

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