Susan Larson, host of WWNO’s “The Reading Life” and former longtime Times-Picayune books editor (she and I worked together at the paper, but she left in one of the first rounds of buyouts, several years before last year’s saga unfolded), invited me for a chat on the show. You can listen to our conversation at this link (my portion begins at 13:27.) And also check out her revised and updated version of A Booklover’s Guide to New Orleans, released just last month.
Kevin Allman, editor of New Orleans’ respected alternative weekly Gambit, drove coverage of The Times-Picayune saga, trailing New York Times media reporter David Carr by only a few hours in confirming the grim coming changes, in May 2012.
He recently offered his assessment of my book. My favorite quote from his review? “If newspapers are black and white and dead all over, in New Orleans they’re the walking dead, and Theim’s tale of how print still lives will be of interest to New Orleanians and the newspaper industry at large.”
You may read his review by clicking here.
New Orleans Magazine Associate Publisher and Editor Errol Laborde has been generous with his time (while I was writing the book), valuable real estate (in the pages of the magazine) and with his praise (first, a few weeks ago, on “Informed Sources,” the public television show he produces on New Orleans’ WYES-TV, and now on the magazine’s blog).
Sometimes a person is just having a routine day at the office, going through the usual motions, perhaps thinking of what to get for supper, and then BAM! something happens that suddenly bounces a life in a new direction.
That happened last year to Rebecca Theim a former reporter for The Times-Picayune (1988- ’94) who has most recently been living and working in Las Vegas. When she heard about The T-P being reduced to thrice weekly and about the accompanying layoffs, she was outraged. Being separated by distance she could have easily been justified for doing nothing, instead she got into action. She founded a group that raised money to divide among the terminated employees. She also uncorked her reporting skills and began following the story as a journalist.
One day when media historians study what the Newhouses did to journalism, Theim (pronounced “theme”) will be an important source, perhaps the most important. Now we are seeing the results of her work … The publication is an excellent, at times riveting, bit of reporting put together in an amazingly short time.
– Errol Laborde’s Oct. 7 column on MyNewOrleans.com, the blog of New Orleans Magazine
You may read the rest of Errol’s column by clicking here.
The Advocate, the former Baton Rouge newspaper acquired by New Orleans billionaire John Georges, who has continued its fledgling expansion into New Orleans in a big way, is a supporting character in my book, and by anyone’s admission, far from an objective observer in the New Orleans media landscape. That’s no doubt why the daily newspaper went to Andrew Burstein, LSU’s Charles B. Manship Professor of History, and commissioned him to review my book.
Burstein, a noted Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson scholar, tells me in an email that, “My main attachment to Louisiana politics and culture is of the era when Thomas Jefferson was weighing the strategic significance of the Mississippi River. I could read your book with objectivity because I had no idea who any of the players were, many of whom now work at the Advocate.”
“Rebecca Theim, who worked for the paper from 1988 to 1994 and now lives in Las Vegas, narrates the story of the paper’s demise with clear compassion and in journalistic detail — while wielding a pen as mighty as any sword … This is a book with attitude.”
– LSU historian Andrew Burstein’s review of
Hell and High Water
You may read the remainder of the review by clicking here.
I freelanced a lengthy (for the Web, but nothing after writing a book) take on the fractured media landscapes at The Times-Picayune and the three Advance Publications’ newspapers in Alabama.
You may read the report by clicking here.
Thanks so much to Errol Laborde, producer of New Orleans PBS affiliate WYES-TV’s “Informed Sources,” for his complimentary call-out Friday of Hell and High Water and noting it will be available near the first anniversary of the changes at The Times-Picayune, Oct. 1, 2013. (Errol’s kind words begin at 26:10 in the show’s replay available at this link.)
I encourage you to buy local, but if for some reason you can’t or prefer not to, Hell and High Water is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com at this link.
For you digital fiends, I’ve been told that an ebook will not be available until the winter.