Campaigns on Twitter and Facebook have sprouted up to save the Times-Picayune, New Orleans' oldest paper, from going to printing only three days a week following an announcement from the paper's parent company yesterday to put the plan into action in the fall.
Advance Publications, the parent company of the Times-Picayune, announced yesterday it would cease daily publication and only print on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays starting in the fall. Coverage of New Orleans would continue on NOLA.com, the online home of the Picayune.
In a story published on NOLA.com, the Picayune said the move was necessitated by revolutionary upheaval in the newspaper industry.
These changes made it essential for the news-gathering operation to evolve and become digitally focused, while continuing to maintain a strong team of professional journalists who have a command of the New Orleans metro area, the story continued.
The Times-Picayune has a rich 175-year history, which includes seven Pulitzer Prizes, including a 2006 Pulitzer for public service for the paper's coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
In light of the announcement from Advance Publications, Times-Picayune readers are mounting an effort to prevent the plan from going into effect.
New York Times media writer David Carr joined the chorus of those lamenting the upcoming changes to the Times-Picayune.
A great town deserves a great paper, Carr said on Twitter. The tweet was retweeted 207 times as of late Friday morning.
The background for the Save the Picayune Facebook page is the Times-Picayune's screaming one-word headline, Catastrophic, from the Aug. 30, 2005 edition detailing the devastation from Katrina. That edition could not be printed due to the hurricane and was only available in PDF format on the paper's website.
The Facebook page includes the phone number to Advance Publications and Steven Newhouse, chairman of Advance Internet. The page encourages supporters of the paper to call the numbers to pressure the company into reversing its plan.
Photos on the page mention the paper's Pulitzers along with slogans like, Stuff Happens On Tuesday and What About Thursday? - references to Advance Publications' plans to cease publication on those days.
Some Facebook users suggested someone step in to buy the paper, with New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson's name being floated as a possibility. Others said registration drives should be held to save the Picayune.
Newspapers are a dying medium. Newspapers all over the world are failing for one reason, nobody buys them. You want to save the Picayune? Hold a subscription drive, wrote David Wright.
User Susan Fischer said she kept her Times-Picayune subscription out of loyalty to the paper for its work after Katrina.
We have kept our subscription for daily paper for the simple reason that we so appreciated what the TP did for our city post Katrina, she posted.