“I urge you to sell” the Times-Picayune, U.S. Sen. David Vitter tells Steven Newhouse.
July 26, 2012
950 Fingerboard Rd.
Staten Island, NY 10305
Dear Steven Newhouse:
In light of your decision to only print the Times-Picayune three times per week, and the multiple credible buyer groups that I know want to buy the paper and continue it as a daily, I urge you to enter into serious negotiations with them. Then I urge you to sell.
Maybe you truly believe that your new model for the Times-Picayune will serve the region well. I do not. More importantly, no citizen of the region whom I’ve spoken to about this does. And I literally mean no one. This includes everyone at the Times-Picayune itself that I’ve spoken to.
First, no digital platform, no matter how good, can completely replace a printed daily in substance, use, and significance to the community. This is particularly true in large, important segments of the population.
Second, you have a terribly inadequate digital platform which has actually gotten worse since your announcement. The new format has been universally panned (and I agree). And this is reflected in the numbers. As a single member of our Congressional delegation, I actually have far more Facebook followers than your whole enterprise.
Third, from a pure business perspective, you’re about to get smoked. The Advocate and others are moving in to fill the void you are creating. And TP subscribers, including me, will be eager to cheer them on by trading our subscriptions.
For all of these reasons, do the right thing. Sell.
United States Senate