Nagin……

The comments I’m receiving via email about Ray Nagin’s lawyer Robert Jenkins entering Federal court to try a major criminal case tomorrow are pretty amusing, especially since Jenkins, when he isn’t doing the legal pundit thing for WDSU is known mainly for his practice in New Orleans state courts. The consensus of the emails is the guy is in over his head but that Judge Berrigan will cut him some slack to compensate.

It is against that backdrop of private thoughts being shared with Slabbed about tomorrow’s criminal trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin that I viewed the media stories building up to the trial. One, by NOLA.com’s Rich Rainey and Juliet Linderman relied on interviews with ol’ reliables like the BGR’s Janet Howard along with legal pundits Dane Ciolino and Grey Sexton, who both ran on at the mouth spouting tired legal cliches that bore absolutely no resemblance to what the highly accomplished, successful lawyers that I speak with were sharing with me.

Meantime over at the Advocate Gordon Russell, who covered and helped expose major facets of the public corruption at the heart of the Nagin Indictment, wrote a great piece on the topic. Gordon didn’t have to rely on any interviews since he literally lived the events from a front row seat so there are no interviews or tired cliches in his piece no sir, just Joe Friday which is exactly how old school guys like me appreciate it.

All that said there is something tangentially related to the two stories that I was immediately drawn to in the number of people commenting to each. As I write this Gordon’s piece, at the Facebook only Advocate, has one Facebook comment while Rainey and Linderman’s piece has sixty, including mainstays like Muspench and company who are folks that I term ‘high quality’ commenters. This situation is part traffic but is is also undeniably part commenting platform. Large swaths of the media runs in herds folks which is why business statisticians have the bottom 2 quartiles (or 3 quintiles) when quantifying business sector financial analysis. The following video explains:

In any event like everyone else we’ll be following the Nagin trial. Besides Gordon I’ll be looking to Jason over at AZ for context. This week ought to fun for the muckraking community down here.

A question of trust: Advocate owner John Georges lied about Steve Newhouse meeting

Looks like we have a truth problem over in the Publishing/Ownership department at the Lucky Coin Today:

The dangerous peoples of the intertubes strike again – Jason Berry

After reading Jason’s piece head over Jim Romenesko and read a few more whoppers from John Georges and his shills in comments.

I have not spoken to Steve Newhouse though some curious visitors from Jersey occasionally pop up reading Slabbed. In fact, the last thing most people want publicized is the fact they have spoken to Slabbed New Media. That list of names is long, distinguished, occasionally infamous and in fact would be surprising, perhaps even shocking to the readers of this project.

I do have the Wino’s permission to reveal her name after her death (which hopefully will not come to pass for many, many years). Otherwise my lips are completely sealed. (See how easy it is not to lie?)

History will record Advocate Owner John Georges as either a Media Visionary or Complete Buffoon

I’m intrigued by John George’s business plan of going head to head with the Times Picayune in New Orleans, a business strategy that literally bucks 30 years of industry consolidation trends. The talent Georges has poached from NOLA Media Group to beef up the New Orleans edition of the Advocate did not come on the cheap. Since the Newhouse pay scale is reputed to be the industry’s most generous, even in these austere days for the print media business, the employee morale impacts of that fact regarding the newbies in NOLA on the staff in Baton Rouge is undeniable as journalists are only human too:

Baton Rouge Advocate to reduce workforce through buyouts of veteran employees ~ AP Story via NOLA Media Group

Maybe we’re the Buffoons here at Slabbed for failing to see the wisdom of making a major investment in a declining industry in a declining advertising market.  In the construction market, when this type of thing happens it is usually a strategic play where one of the two competitors ends up buying the other out.  History tells us that the Newhouse clan will not sell the Times Picayune.

The winner is usually the one with the most net worth to throw away in the competition. Using that metric alone indicates Georges is pissing in the wind since assets in a declining industry can usually be bought on the super cheap via auction.  We’ll see.

Dominicales Omnibus: Altis tenuibusque conciliat!

Indeed it does does folks because the news gods favor Slabbed New Media this morning.  First up because you heard it here first:

Catching up with South Mississippi’s Gene Taylor and Trent Lott ~ Da Noose and Nelson

(Gene) saved the county up to $45,000 in labor.

Does he consider getting back into politics?

“Sometimes I do,” he said. “Like when I see this mess with the National Flood Insurance (Program) — Congress holding a gun to people’s heads and the best they’re offering is a year extension.”

It’s frustrating, he said, the inflated premiums, “which will adversely effect so many people down here and knowing that I know there’s a better solution.”

Indeed there is a better way. Michael and Karen’s piece also solved a mystery as the Dunbar Pier is close by. Altis Tenuibusque comes at a price thus my surprise at seeing the public pier fixed a few weeks back and not knowing it was a community production. And yeah Gene, please run because this area needs you in Washington!

That said the advantages of Altis Tenuibusque are also very clear as today’s missive will illustrate but first we have major news from the New Orleans Media Congroovancy as Ace Investigative Reporter Nell Nolan leaves the House of News to join the Lucky Coin Today. A fair read of these pages well illustrates why Slabbed New Media has come to conclude that Nolan was Ashton Phelps best hire bar none during his tenure as publisher of the T-P and Nell goes back farther than that to the old States Item, which I well remember because we used to get it in Waveland back in the olden days. Plus if Nell ever decides to leave the news biz a very lucrative career pumping the pinks awaits. Either way I’m a fan for life.

Now for the best political gossip from Jefferson Parish bar none because I have it.  I’m hearing from multiple sources it is likely that Parish Prez John Young will not seek re election. In the event that prediction comes to fruition here are the scenarios: Continue reading “Dominicales Omnibus: Altis tenuibusque conciliat!”

Are we ready to talk about the NOLA area media landscape again?

I think I’m getting close. To kick start things I’ll confess to watching Errol and the Noisemakers every Friday night at 7:00PM on WYES (or later on my DVR). Those of you on the coast from the Pass east are likely scratching your heads but rest assured Erroll and gang are the NOLA equivalent of WLOX This Week except better. Stephanie Grace has been on the past few weeks with Errol and she is positively beaming with enthusiasm about the new NOLA media landscape. Hammerman back in early May, not so much.  And then there is Perlstein.  😉

Just to prepare everyone I’m likely to have a unique viewpoint as is my wont. Meantime the people poaching continues:

Veteran T-P reporter will spearhead Advocate’s push into St. John, St. Charles parishes ~ The Advocate

Stay tuned.

With West Bank breakfast memories….. John Georges adds a few more “dangerous people” to the internet

I’ve seen this several places but no where was the right perspective conveyed on the topic of John Georges beefing up the Advocate’s staff better than Jeffrey over Yella Blog.  I guess these former TPers are not as dangerous now that he signs their paychecks.

New ownership and rebranded as the Lucky Coin Daily……..

It will be interesting to see the impacts of the scandal ridden video poker industry having a major Louisiana daily newspaper. Here is our first hint as the following broke in John George’s new newspaper earlier this week:

Video poker industry forms association ~ Ted Griggs

Absolutely Allen Powell II is a fantastic journalist…..Oh SI can you see

And for a long while I wondered how Jim Amoss could let him go, especially to a new competitor in the Advocate. Didn’t take me too long to figure out the answer though because the gang at NOLA Media Group can still highlight Powell’s great work and no longer have to pay his salary. I personally think there is a method to the madness and leveraging copywrite, fair use and the DMCA is smart.

I’m tickled because the lone commenter to the above on NOLA has figured it out. Steve Newhouse may be a trust fund baby but there is a method to the madness.

Oh Si can you see Part Deux: Errol and the noisemakers.

Well folks I’m not quite sure where to start as Slabbed chips in another 2 cents worth on the remaking of the Times Picayune. By now I hope you guys have “Sometimes Picayune” fatigue but I know that is not the case with some of ya so here goes for those of you that want to get the deep down low on this topic.  I haven’t had more to say on this since late July because Slabbed has been out on assignment doing high quality investigative journalism such as blowing open Aaron Broussard’s use of oversea business ventures as a conduit for graft and bribery and  uncovering a specious real estate transaction involving a small school district. You lifers well know these are far from the only skins hanging on the wall here at the worldwide headquarters of Slabbed New Media as we’ve become a powerful voice in the local media landscape in our own right.

People are naturally resistant to change, to the point where it is to their detriment.  It is a well-studied topic and one in which I am familiar via my interest in behavioral economics. Throw in competing financial interests and it made for an interesting summer as Errol Laborde and the noisemakers made sure their newly disenfranchised voices would be heard loud and clear via sheer mass and repetition. Occasionally something highly insightful would be written, mostly in the new media on websites like American Zombie and Library Chronicles along with certain trade journals.  Since the news broke in May media alliances have been made, broken and remade.  As a long time blogger on stock message boards the business implications of the spectacle were both informative and amusing to me as I often thought of the following while watching the gyrations:

Graph courtesy of The AtlanticNow don’t get me wrong, when the 500 pound gorilla in the room decides it is time to go on a diet the local inhabitants of the forest are going to be impacted especially since local food sources have been on a drastic decline.  My problem is that even when it is shown that the numbers in the new Newhouse business model make sense, old line cognitive biases cause the noisemakers to ignore the “newsonomics” those numbers present. Leaky pay-walls are a joke and are easily defeated.  The concept that the readers will make up for the drastic declines in advertising are a pipe dream along with the notion “the news”, whatever that is, has intrinsic value to the general public. Continue reading “Oh Si can you see Part Deux: Errol and the noisemakers.”