Times-Picayune Fires Half Of Its Newsroom Staff

The print newspaper industry has been clobbered in recent years as online media continues to soar, therefore it comes as no surprise to learn that New Orleans’ mainstay newspaper the Times-Picayune announced massive layoffs on Wednesday.

The newspaper has laid off 200 staffers including 84 of its 173 newsroom workers. Fired employees were given notice on Tuesday.

The Times-Picayune was founded in 1837 and through its ranks some well-known journalists have been discovered. Among those being fired are the award-winning restaurant critic Brett Anderson, the papers longtime sports columnist Peter Finney and the news outlets religion writer Bruce Nolan.

The layoffs won’t take effect until Sept. 30, giving writers a little bit of time to find new positions at other papers and through online reporting services.

According to Times-Picayune blogger Jaquetta White:

“Mood started out at melancholy and quickly plunged from there. The decline was chronicled in adjectives: Depressing. Heartbreaking. Devastating.”

The Times-Picayune is owned by parent company Advanced Publications which recently laid off 400 employees at the Birmingham News, the Press-Register in Mobile and the Huntsville Times.

The print newspaper industry might appear to be crumbling around us but not everyone thinks its on the way out, billionaire investor Warren Buffett recently acquired 63 newspapers from Media General Corp. at a cost of $142 million. Berkshire Hathaway also recently acquired a stake in the St. Louis Post Dispatch and Arizona Daily Sun through a stock investment in Lee Enterprises. In late 2011 Buffett also purchased his hometown paper the Omaha World-Herald.

At this time Advanced Publications has not issued a public statement regarding the layoffs and it is not clear if any positions will later be filled with newer, cheaper talent.