More bad news for print journalism: New Orleans Times-Picayune lays off 202, including half its newsroom staff

I have previously written about the woes of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, which is being changed from a vital daily newspaper to one that publishes three days a week and has a flashy and tacky website that delivers far less content than the current one.

Many of the commentaries I’ve read about the changes have focused on New Orleans now becoming the largest American city without a daily print newspaper, but those critics often underplay — or miss entirely — the changes to the website There seems little doubt that we’ll continue seeing more news publication via the web and less in print, but it’s possible to make that shift while retaining first-rate reporting.

Today’s news from New Orleans confirms that the news content is going to suffer at least as much as many of us feared, probably more.

From Times-Picayune lays off nearly one-third of its staff:

Managers at The Times-Picayune are informing more than 200 members of the newspaper staff today that their last day at the company will be Sept. 30. The Times-Picayune, according to documents given to employees, is shrinking its overrall staff — including news, advertising, circulation and other departments — by 32 percent, or 202 employees.

In the news operation alone, eighty-four of the 169 people currently employed in the Times-Picayune newsroom were notified Tuesday that they will lose their jobs and be given severance packages. Employees who were not laid off were offered new jobs beginning this fall with Nola Media Group, the new company that will oversee news coverage for The Times-Picayune beginning this fall.

There is more in the piece.