#SavetheTP Highlights Impact of Social Media on Local and Global Issues Alike

The New York Times broke a story on May 23rd that immediately got New Orleanians, defenders of New Orleans, and defenders of traditional journalism all riled up at once. Early the next day, the Times Picayune made an official announcement on the paper’s website, Nola.com, that the story was true. News continued to roll out via the Gambit, the blog of Jim Romanesko, and other sources of the deep staff cuts, reduced print schedule, and other changes announced by the owners of the Picayune under the guise of creating a more robust “digital presence.”

Someone picked a bone with the wrong city.

In some ways, New Orleans is seen as a place with weak citizens. For years we’ve dealt with teenagers wielding guns around every corner, blatant corruption among our politicians, failing schools, pothole-ridden roadways, and a variety of other ills. In 2005, much of that was changed. Forced with the decision to either abandon our beloved city or fight for her survival, we fought.

We gathered arms, declared our discontent, and got to work. Since then we’ve turned into a model for education reform, we’ve marched on City Hall to protest murders, and we continue to undercover and rid our government of politicians and systems that are proven to be corrupt.

So when Newhouse and Advanced Publications announced they would, with one sweeping statement, turn a staple of New Orleans life into a thing of the past, they might have expected us to cower and accept the news like New Orleanians of old. If so, they were very much mistaken.

In 2012, New Orleans is a city of fighters.

The outcry on social networks was immediate and far-reaching. Local and national celebrities, news organizations, and average citizens alike tweeted support for the Times-Pic, angst over the future of her writers and editors, and a staunch determination to fight the decision.

The attention has sparked national debates about the future of print media from the Columbia Journalism Review, CNN Money, and more. One writer cited the ongoing battle for the Times-Pic in a story about stalling digital ad revenues. Some called for Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints, New Orleans Hornets, and local Fox News affiliate to purchase the papers. Others thought Warren Buffett, who recently purchased 63 newspapers through his firm Berkshire Hathaway, would be a good new owner for the paper. Buffett later responded that he was keeping an eye on the situation, but had no plans to purchase the paper at present.

The fight for New Orleans’ only daily paper continued this past Monday at a rally organized by supporters. This is a stark contrast to other cities who have undergone similar changes or are currently facing them, such as Birmingham.

On twitter, @SaveThePicayune was created to tweet ongoing details about the cause and #SavetheTP continues to be used as a rallying point. Here are some of the notable tweets that crossed our desk in the days immediately following the announcement:


#SavetheTP: An online community rallies to save offline media.

The city of New Orleans got a shock late last week that sent waves of dismay across the country. The Times Picayune announced an impending reduction in print schedule, taking the institution from a daily newspaper to a Wednesday/Friday/Sunday kind of gal. This is the story, as told by Twitter.

Storified by Molly Oehmichen · Mon, May 28 2012 22:24:51

Just learned in the NY Times that my newspaper, my employer, my morning routine may cease to exist: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/23/new-orleans-paper-said-to-face-deep-cuts-and-may-cut-back-on-publication/Brendan McCarthy
@MargaretOrr Start a "SaveTheTP" hastag. #SaveTheTPToffleresque
I am stunned, for my friends, former colleagues, my city. #SavetheTPBeth
You can’t fold a computer into a comfortable size and work the crosswords. I want my newspaper. Every day! #SavetheTP #SavetheTPjournalistsValerie J. Andrews
“@WWLTV: Times Picayune to be published on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays only”This is crazy! #SavetheTPLeslie Lott
And here are the stakes for New Orleans —> RT @NaomiMartin I bet the NOPD and city councilmembers are celebrating tonight #SavetheTPDante Ramos
The Times-Picayune may not be perfect, but it’s here and has always been here. #SavetheTP #SavetheTPjournalistsAngie
Hard to believe this image could soon be a thing of the past – at least on a daily basis. #savethetp http://yfrog.com/odxf9rdjBarri Bronston
@JeffDuncanTP Let us New Orleanians know how we can help you keep the TP from being gutted by Newhouse and Advance Pubs #SavetheTPcarrie williamson
Has anyone set up a #SavetheTP Kickstarter fund yet? I’m eager to make a donation to that.Brett
Maybe Tom Benson will buy The Times-Picayune so it will be in for good, too. He does own a news station already. #SavetheTPL. Kasimu Harris
Former Gambit editor Michael Tisserand: "Ricky Mathews has just replaced Roger Goodell as New Orleans’ persona non grata."Gambit
Are torches & pitchforks available for purchase in NOLA, or did David Simon buy them all up already? Asking for a friend. #SavetheTPBrett
Can’t really believe they are calling this new arrangement for the Times Pic "a more robust newspaper." #savethetpJPG
Free drinks tonight @mollysdecatur for #TimesPic employees w/ID. We couldn’t be more upset. Starts at 10 pm.Molly’s at da Market
Possibly naive qstn: If Green Bay can own their NFLteam, can NOLA fund the TP? Citizens buy shares? Discuss. #savetheTPPableaux Johnson
@pableauxNO I like it. what about an @kickstarter campaign? #savetheTPmatt konigsmark
RT @GinaRaeSmith: Instead of telling their employees first, those in charge let the @nytimes do it: http://nyti.ms/JJLG9e #FAIL #SaveTheTPSave the Picayune
RT @michellekrupaTP: @MayorLandrieu vows to help Times-Picayune ‘grow and not diminish’ http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/05/mayor_mitch_landrieu_vows_to_h.html #NOLA #SaveTheTPSam Furman
The Times-Pic has been around since 1837! What’s the meaning of this?! #SaveTheTPElliot Hutchinson
New schedule "will leave New Orleans as the biggest city in the United States without a major daily paper." http://huff.to/JGJGJl #SaveTheTPGina Smith
The perception of our city, in the eyes of major companies, and opportunity for growth will suffer greatly without a daily paper #SavetheTPMatt Wolfe
I have a stack of newspapers from notable events since I was young. A stack of screenshots just isn’t the same. #SaveTheTPWill Samuels
BTW, the TP was PROFITABLE! http://ow.ly/b8xTa #savethetpSave the Picayune
I’ll stop now. But #savetheTP #savetheTP #savetheTP #savetheTP #savetheTP #savetheTP #savetheTP #savetheTP #savetheTP #savetheTP #savetheTPHannah Miet
Change was necessary, but THIS? Jed Horne discusses http://ow.ly/b8xUT #savetheTPSave the Picayune
Newhouse may be sending a msg w/ this ill-advised action, but New Orleans will send a msg of our own.This story is far from over. #savethetpashley graham
I really hope someone takes out a full-page #SaveTheTp ad. #wouldbeawesome #nola #tp #TimesPicayuneNikki
Or senior citizens RT @SaveThePicayune What happens to the poorer communities, who now don’t have access? #savethetp http://ow.ly/b8xZSTressa
@SaveThePicayune #savetheTP Follow and retweet. Say no to corporate suits gutting one of NOLA’s most important institutions.Mike Smith
In what other venue could Al Copeland and Anne Rice so publicly vent their hatred of each other? #savetheTPSave the Picayune
Sad to see the cutbacks at the Times-Picayune. A great newspaper.I shot a film in NOLA in 1994. Read that paper every day.AB
The Times-Picayune in print! #savetheTP #fridayreadsLJL
"In the Ninth Ward, in particular, laptops grow on trees." http://www.esquire.com/_mobile/blogs/politics/times-picayune-cutbacks-9118943 #SaveTheTPMelaNated Writers
Just downloaded @NOLAnews iPad app – THIS mess of an app is the basket they’re putting their eggs into, alongside the awful site? #SavetheTPMatt Wolfe
Don’t let New Orleans lose a great newspaper.@SaveThePicayuneAB
@SaveThePicayune "In matters of principle, stand like a rock." #savetheTPEmily Maurer
Kill the head, body will die. Install adblock on your browser (google it), cut their ad revenue. A protest they’ll notice. #nola #savethetpElise
RT @GillianGurley: 2010 Kaiser Foundation report says 36% of NOLA residents don’t have Internet access. #SaveTheTPCate Root
bizarre to see this #savetheTP http://instagr.am/p/LDnnv3pjNu/Sally Bronston
Take action: email stevejj@advance.net – tell him stopping the daily pub of the TP is wrong. Sample language: http://ow.ly/b9EXVSave the Picayune
Anyone who loves #NOLA or good journalism or both should follow @savethePicayune and help #savetheTPTony Olivier
The Times Picayune crew at Molly’s, celebrating the paper’s life rather than mourning its death. http://pic.twitter.com/rSwun9YuBrett
Open letter to Steve Newhouse: New Orleans needs a daily ‘Times-Picayune’ | Capital New York: http://bit.ly/KJxVBw #SaveTheTPGina Smith
RT @murywillis: Check out my letter in today’s times-picayune & support @SaveThePicayune #katrinakids http://pic.twitter.com/R6hjDKQWSave the Picayune
"In a city where not much of anything works, The Times-Picayune does." Thank you, David Carr and The New York Times! http://ow.ly/bcnzwSave the Picayune
A Doomed Romance With a New Orleans Newspaper http://nyti.ms/MRRRpR #NOLA #SavetheTPRaymond Reeves
"The Internet is not a substitute for legacy journalism…It fails to sort the news."- Renee Peck, NOLAvie http://ow.ly/bcohiSave the Picayune
RT @NFLonTheHill: Just dawned on me that the N.O.Times-Picayune won’t publish Mondays after Saints games this fall. Who thks that’s a smart biz decision?Jim Carlisle