Monday, July 25, 2011

New Orleanians love their newspaper

The newspaper industry is in the tank. Everybody knows that. Nobody has time to read and it's all bad news anyway. Of course, the Rupert Murdoch debacle may have shaken things up. We might go back to that dreary old, ethical, unbiased, balanced reporting thing. Without phone tapping or hacking.

But here in New Orleans, we read our newspaper. The Times-Picayune actually has a higher percentage of daily readers than any other newspaper in the country. Isn't that amazing? Is it because we have a highly educated populace? Not. How about the literacy rate? Nope.

Yet, the Times-Picayune - at 175 years of age - is #1 in the United States with 50.1% daily readership in its print edition (a full 9% ahead of #2) and 50.8% on its online Web site. Heck, the great Philadelphia Inquirer is #46 with only 18.7%. The ultimate New York Times is #54.

New Orleans a small city or a big town. Everything that happens here affects everybody. If you read the society page, it's likely you might see somebody you know. Or read a story about someplace you've been. Or even read about yourself. Or, in my case, something you wrote.

It's big enough to have real news and small enough that folks still care. Other places have high rates of violence, but we haven't given up hope those statistics can be reversed.

We've got a new mayor. A new police chief. A new district attorney. We're reforming the schools. We're tearing down blighted housing and restoring historic buildings. Opening new hospitals and clinics. We've still got churches and non-profits that care for the poor. And young people who've come to enjoy the culture and contribute to our communities. Some homeowners are even finally getting their FEMA money and moving out of the trailer. Maybe we've got levees that work. It's happening.

Besides, we clearly have the most interesting news - most of our former politicians are en route to prison; federal prosecutors are taking down everyone from cops to city contractors. And a former governor is marrying a woman 50 years his junior and starring in his own reality show. All that and local movie stars, movie making, gumbo making and music making. We want to know it all.

You can too on or this blog.

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