At the end of August, NOLA Media Group, the new parent organization of the Times-Picayune and NOLA.com, confirmed that it “has leased 27,000 square feet on the top two floors of the Canal Place office tower in downtown New Orleans to house the new media company.”
The announcement continued:
The news-gathering operation, along with sales, digital solutions, marketing and other administrative functions, will be housed at the new offices, accommodating more than 140 employees. … NOLA Media Group’s sister company, Advance Central Services Louisiana will produce, print and distribute the newspaper three days a week from its longtime offices at 3800 Howard Avenue, housing departments responsible for production, circulation, finance and technology.
A June Times-Picayune article and subsequent comments by editor Jim Amoss confirmed that the new organization’s total staff headcount will be lower than it was in the old organization, meaning the space available in the existing Howard Avenue location would presumably be adequate. That, plus the fact that the going rate for space in office buildings like Canal Place suggests that the lease may cost in excess of $400,000 a year, means that this cannot be viewed as a cost-cutting move, which is odd considering that the need to reduce costs was implied as a primary motivation behind the decision to trim the number of print editions from seven to three days a week and to reduce staff.
Considering all this, would it be outrageous to suggest that this is a strategic move to allow the digital side of the house to easily separate itself from the print side in case of a future divorce? Or are the new managers simply suffering from an ego-induced edifice complex?
Time will tell…