Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to make a newspaper realize its value to a community

Poynter Online describes how New Orleans' major newspaper used its website,, to help its readers through Hurricane Katrina and to foster a sense of daily reliability that expanded its readership:
The site also has one of the highest market penetrations of any local news Web site in the country. Two recent studies show that reached 85.8 percent of the metropolitan area in 2009 and 87.3 percent in 2007. The Times-Picayune's print weekday circulation, meanwhile, has dropped 9.04 percent in the past year. Sunday sales have dropped 8.54 percent.

The market penetration and print circulation figures make sense when you consider the Times-Picayune's online audience and how it grew as a result of a hurricane that flooded more than 80 percent of the city.

The Times-Picayune's coverage of this disaster helped it develop a heightened sense of connectedness with New Orleanians. "I think that the storm was transformative for the Web site and its relevance to readers," said [the paper's content director]. "Certainly during Katrina we were moment by moment and learned the power of a constantly updated, dynamically updated Web site throughout the day."

1 comment:

  1. James O'Byrne, pumping his own horn, failed to mention the man who built and to whom we owe a great dept of gratitude for keeping it rolling post flood: Jon Donley, the man who kept his ass in gear during the Deluge and thus kept me in touch with my lost friends.
    This Was The Only Place To Find Anyone,or at least some word.
    Jon Donley should win a Combat Pulitzer for Hangin'da Word'Up.
    Mr O'Byrne came onto running after the outlet "laid off" Mr Donley, the former founder editor in chief.
    I'm not saying that was a smart move or anything.
    I just have a real problem with the way O'bryne continues here to try to pee down our backs and tell us it was Katrina. It wasn't Katrina as it wasn't Obryne who brought to the rescue.
    It was the Flood, and it was Jon Donley.

    But, all the figures and data for which Mr O'bryne is taking credit truly and actually resulted from Mr Donley's leadership before during and after the Federal Flood. You see, it wasn't the Storm, as Mr O'bryne is attempting to Miss-Frame. It was the Flood.
    He is proffering what the New Orleans City Council just voted unanimously to stop: Katrina Shorthand in the Media.

    It wasn't Katrina that devastated New Orleans and sent everyone running. It was the Corps of Engineers Bad Flood Walls Failing.
    Natural -vs- Man Made Disaster is a difference which makes a difference --especially in regards to Mr. O'Bryne's career arc.

    We hate it when "journalists" wrongly, lazily blame the Flood of New Orleans (a Man Made Disaster) on Katrina (a Natural Disaster which struck MS).
    That is not simply a semantic mistake, it is continuing a Lie. It is a Misstatement of Fact.

    I can tell you this, as a voracious fan of (since the Flood) and the Times-Picyune (for a loooong time), since Mr' Obryne took over at back in February (a mere 9 months ago) I have seen the Corps Investigative Coverage drop to nearly zero.
    Hell, for example, we had to drag them kicking and screaming just to do a fluff-piece on the Inoperable Pumps the Corps has installed on our outfall canals!
    And still no follow-up on those Bad Pumps! Grrrr.
    I don't know whether that is Amoss or O'Bryne, but so much boondoggle civil engineering has seeped under our levees due to the Corps of Engineers POST-FLOOD that it would make anyone wonder what has happened to the Times-Picayune?
    We have serious problems now today with the Corps and yet would rather turn itself into a Social Networking Glory Hole along the Facebook business model.
    But, Gentle'rillas, please remember one thing here, don't let O'bryne fool' him and all Lazy Faux Journalists I say: