NEW ORLEANS, LA — In May, the Times-Picayune, the daily newspaper serving the greater New Orleans area since 1837, announced it would cease daily publication and switch to a Wednesday, Friday and Sunday schedule with a supplemental sports paper printed on days after games played by the New Orleans Saints. This makes New Orleans the largest metropolitan area in the United States without a local daily paper. LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab, or PPRL, which is funded by the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication, recently conducted a survey of New Orleans area residents to gauge their feelings about the situation.
More than 1,040 respondents were surveyed, reporting some serious concerns about the impact this change would have on the community.
More than two out of five residents — 42 percent — report the loss of the daily Times-Picayune will have a major impact on their ability to keep up with news and information about their local community.
Nearly one out of two residents — 46.6 percent — believe the loss of the daily Times-Picayune will have a major impact on the diversity of views represented in discussing community issues.
Two out of five — 41.4 percent — said the loss of the daily Times-Picayune would have major impact on the ability of local news media to serve was a watchdog over local government.
One in five respondents think the loss will cause a major increase in both business (20.5 percent) and government (21.8 percent) corruption.
One out of five respondents, or 21 percent, firmly believe that there is no connection between the Times-Picayune and NOLA.com, when in fact they are the same entity. Very interestingly, about three out of five, or 62.6 percent, of respondents with a paid subscription to the Times-Picayune report reading it seven days a week. In other words, many residents who received the Times-Picayune everyday do not read it every day. Also, only one in 10 (11 percent) of New Orleans residents report reading NOLA.com every day, and only 11 percent of NOLA area respondents said they would pay for online news. Two out of five respondents report preferring to receive their news in print form.
Alternative Sources of News
After being informed that the Times-Picayune was moving to a three-day publishing schedule, respondents were then asked where they plan to get local news from in the future. Three out of four respondents said local television (76 percent), followed by local Internet sites (44 percent) and the new iteration of Times-Picayune (40 percent).
The Advocate moves to New Orleans
After being informed of the Baton Rouge Advocate’s plans to publish a New Orleans edition, more than one in three (36.2 percent) of respondents said they plan to buy it. More interestingly, nearly one in three (28.2 percent) of those who do not subscribe to the Times-Picayune said they plan to buy The Advocate.
About PPRL and the Times-Picayune Survey
The Public Policy Research Lab at LSU, which is committed to providing relevant public opinion data to the state and the region overall, wrote a survey research proposal to gather data in regard to New Orleans area residents reactions to the loss of the daily Times-Picayune. As one of the leading journalism schools in the country, the Manship School at LSU decided to fund the research. Funding was also generously provided by The Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs and LSU professors Meghan Sanders, Andrea Miller, Amy Reynolds and Lance Porter. Without the support of these parties, this data would not exist and their assistance is greatly appreciated.
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