The Cutline
  • Cover of the Times-Picayune, Sept. 2, 2005

    The Times-Picayune, which won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina, announced on Thursday a plan to slash its print publishing schedule to three days a week—effectively leaving New Orleans without a daily newspaper.

    As part of the move, the New York Times reports that there will be "massive" layoffs at 175-year-old Times-Picayune as the paper focuses its efforts on The Newhouse family, which owns Advance Publications, the Times-Picayune's parent company, shuttered the Ann Arbor News in similar fashion in 2009.

    The print rollback will begin later this year, when a "new digitally focused company launches this fall with beefed up online coverage":

    NOLA Media Group will significantly increase its online news-gathering efforts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while offering enhanced printed newspapers on a schedule of three days a week. The newspaper will be home-delivered and sold in stores on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays only.

    On Wednesday, according to the website Best of New Orleans, the paper's staffers greeted the impending news with collective shock:

    Tonight, in private homes, on porches and at least one bar, employees of The Times-Picayune gathered to collectively absorb the shock of a New York Times report that the paper is about to undergo a massive restructuring that will leave New Orleans without a daily published newspaper--just as longtime local publisher Ashton Phelps prepares to leave and be replaced by Ricky Mathews, publisher of the Mobile Press-Register and president of Advance Alabama/Mississippi.

    "I had to find this out by Twitter," one staffer told the site. "Do I go in to the office tomorrow? Do I even have a job to go in to tomorrow? I don't know. No one has called me. No one has said anything."

    According to a Best of New Orleans source, the editorial staff will be cut by at least a third, "top brass will be fired and reporters who remain aboard will take sharp salary cuts and be expected to start blogging through the day."

    Advance also announced Thursday that three other newspapers it owns in Alabama--the Birmingham News, Huntsville Times and Press-Register of Mobile--will move to a three-day-a-week printing schedule, too.

    The Times-Picayune won the 2006 Pultizer Prize for public service reporting for its coverage of Katrina, as staffers rode out the storm in its offices, reporting despite power failures that shut down its printing presses.

    Read More »from New Orleans to lose its daily newspaper
  • Click image to see more photos. (Pete Souza/White House)

    The story behind a photograph showing a 5-year-old black boy touching President Obama's hair may be coming to your inbox soon.

    The New York Times published the adorable back story about the photo—which has been hanging in the West Wing of the White House for more than three years—on Thursday, and it's quickly become the most-emailed article on the Times' website.

    [Related: Obama can't stop talking about his girls]

    In May 2009, the child, Jacob Philadelphia, was visiting the White House with his father, a former Marine who was leaving his 2-year stint working for the National Security Council as part of the White House staff. The father asked to take a family photo with the president. Jacob said he had a question for Obama, who was then in his fifth month in office.

    The Times recounts the rest:

    "I want to know if my hair is just like yours," he told Mr. Obama, so quietly that the president asked him to speak again.

    Jacob did, and Mr. Obama replied, "Why don't you touch it and see for yourself?" He lowered his head, level with Jacob, who hesitated.

    "Touch it, dude!" Mr. Obama said.

    As Jacob patted the presidential crown, ... [White House photographer Pete] Souza snapped.

    "So, what do you think?" Mr. Obama asked.

    "Yes, it does feel the same," Jacob said.

    As the paper noted, President Obama has largely avoided discussing race during his first term. But the photo "is tangible evidence" that the president "remains a potent symbol for blacks, with a deep reservoir of support."

    "As a photographer, you know when you have a unique moment," Souza told the Times. "But I didn't realize the extent to which this one would take on a life of its own. That one became an instant favorite of the staff. I think people are struck by the fact that the president of the United States was willing to bend down and let a little boy feel his head."

    Read More »from Boy who touched Obama’s hair: Story behind White House photo is probably in your inbox
  • S.E. Cupp (GBTV)

    Hustler magazine is facing some criticism after publishing a digitally altered image that depicts S.E. Cupp, a conservative talk show host for Glenn Beck's GBTV, engaged in an oral sex act.

    The magazine included a disclaimer with the photo, under the headline "Celebrity Fantasy," that reads:

    No such picture of S.E. Cupp actually exists. This composite fantasy is altered from the original for our imagination, does not depict reality, and is not to be taken seriously for any purpose.

    The adjacent text explains Hustler's rationale for publishing the image:

    S.E. Cupp is a lovely young lady who read too much Ayn Rand in high school and ended up joining the dark side. Cupp, an author and media commentator who often shows up on Fox News programs, is undeniably cute. But her hotness is diminished when she espouses dumb ideas like defunding Planned Parenthood. Perhaps the method pictured here is Ms. Cupp's suggestion for avoiding an unwanted pregnancy.

    "I've covered a lot of this misogyny, whether it was Sarah Palin or Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin," Cupp said on Glenn Beck's radio show on Wednesday. "But I've never seen anything this disturbing and graphic."

    "It's a doctored photo, so it's not like I'm embarrassed because I performed this act and they caught it on film," Cupp continued. "It's embarrassing because, as you said, it will be out there forever. The fact that I work really hard, and am an Ivy League educated young woman with a pretty good job doesn't really matter when you look at a photo like this."

    Cupp and Beck wondered aloud why the liberal media had not condemned Hustler for the stunt.

    "You have to wonder if they had done this to somebody like Nancy Pelosi or Michelle Obama, would that stand?" Cupp said. "Would no one make a stink about it? I have to think they would."

    "Where's NOW?" Beck said, referring to the National Organization of Women, which led protests against Rush Limbaugh when the conservative firebrand called Georgetown Law student and contraception advocate Sandra Fluke a "slut" earlier this year.

    Read More »from Hustler publishes fake explicit photo of S.E. Cupp, sparking criticism


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