They’re all from New Orleans and are all among those who have signed a letter calling upon the Times-Picayune to sell the newspaper to a group of local investors rather than cut the print edition to three days a week. (More background on the decision to slash print circulation here and here.)
From Poynter’s Donald Newhouse rebuffs request to sell Times-Picayune:
Donald Newhouse has rebuffed a strongly-worded letter from a group of heavy-hitters in New Orleans to sell The Times-Picayune rather than cut daily printing. The Times-Picayune Citizens Group wrote in a letter delivered Monday:
“It is painful to report that right now it is nearly impossible to find a kind word in these parts about your family or your plan to take away our daily newspaper … If your family does not believe in the future of this great city and its capacity to support a daily newspaper, it is only fair to allow us to find someone who does.
Newhouse, however, isn’t interested.”
“We have read the letter with great respect and concern,” said Donald E. Newhouse, president of Advance Publications, owner of the paper. “Advance Publications has no intention of selling The Times-Picayune.”
Both NOLA.com and Gambit say the group has lined up a buyer for the paper, citing an unnamed source.
Another excerpt from the letter to Newhouse, followed by a list of those who signed it:
Unfortunately and sadly, the considerable goodwill your family enterprise has created in New Orleans in the last 50 years has dissipated in just a few short months because of the decision that took our entire community by surprise. Advance Publications and its leadership have lost the trust and credibility of a significant segment of the community. Citizens have publically protested the proposed new format; prominent civic and business leaders and advertisers have stepped up to speak out against the plan, and an online petition is climbing toward 10,000 signatures, including celebrities like Ed Asner and Garrison Keillor and ordinary New Orleanians whose comments are a tribute to the towering impact of the newspaper you built. Clearly, the voices of our community are strongly opposed to what you are doing.
It is painful to report that right now it is nearly impossible to find a kind word in these parts about your family or your plan to take away our daily newspaper. Our community leaders believe that your decision is undermining the important work we continue to face in rebuilding New Orleans. Whether you intended to or not, you have already created the impression that our recovery is so tepid that we cannot support an important civic institution like a daily newspaper. [. . .]
If you have ever valued the friendship you have shared with our city and your loyal readers, we ask that you sell the Times-Picayune. Our city wants a daily printed paper, needs a daily printed paper and deserves a daily printed paper.
Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond
Archdiocese of New Orleans
Cokie B. Roberts
President Tulane University
Norman C. Francis
President Xavier University
Kevin Wildes, S.J.
President Loyola University New Orleans
Ralph O. Brennan