While the Times-Picayune is bent on giving New Orleans readers exactly what they do not want, The Advocate has announced the establishment of a six-member advisory panel of prominent New Orleanians to help ensure that its New Orleans edition fully serves the needs and desires of the community.
The announcement says,
Six New Orleans-area community leaders will sit on a board to advise The Advocate’s owners and management on ways to improve the newspaper and tailor it to the tastes of New Orleanians. … “We plan to succeed by relentlessly listening to the people of New Orleans, and this board will help us do that,” said [editor Peter] Kovacs. “We are a Louisiana company so we have no one to answer to except the people of Louisiana.”
A prominent board member is Anne Milling, who was a key member of a group that launched a valiant but failed effort last year to get Advance Publications to sell the Picayune to local interests. The other members are Kyle France, Calvin Johnson, Denise Thornton, Erika McConduit and John Casbon. Brief bios of all the members are contained in the announcement.
The Advocate is also setting up a Baton Rouge board to advise on the capital city edition of the paper.
Coincidentally, in a Forbes.com opinion piece published today titled What The World’s Smartest Carmakers Can Teach Newspapers, Micheline Maynard writes,
In order to keep people buying and reading papers, there needs to be a reason for them to do so. They need to feel that a newspaper brings value to their daily life. They also need to know what to expect from that paper, whether it’s standout sports coverage, or constant questioning of politicians, or trustworthy reporting on their community’s economy.
The Advocate is obviously following that advice. The Picayune has forgotten how to do so.