The early returns are in on al.com’s anticipated restructuring of its statewide website, and so far I’ve gotten a collective head scratch from every Mobilian I’ve spoken with about it.
It’s not so much the reorganization of the site that has locals rolling their eyes; it’s the fact the state’s second-largest metropolitan area appears to have almost no representation on the state’s largest news website. As I write this, selecting “Mobile” at the top of the page results in just one story being listed as “news from Mobile,” and that is about gubernatorial candidate Bill Hightower.
Mobile’s news page is peppered with multiple stories from Birmingham and other areas of the state, but almost nothing from the Port City. Even Mobile’s high school sports page is dominated by stories from the other end of the state.
As al.com has moved local advertising operations north and prepared another round of buyouts, it appears Southwest Alabama may not play much of a role in its future plans. One can’t help wondering with dwindling print circulation, and now dwindling online coverage as well, what Advance’s plans are overall for our area.
Mobilians are fond of visiting our sister city New Orleans, and as that is the case, many of us are fond of, or at least familiar with, the Big Easy’s alternative weekly newspaper, Gambit.
It was announced Monday that the newspaper, which has been independently owned for decades, has been purchased by the owners of The New Orleans Advocate, the city’s daily newspaper.
The Advocate, a sister paper to The Baton Rouge Advocate, is owned by John and Dathel Georges, who purchased the Baton Rouge paper in 2013. They started The New Orleans Advocate in direct response to Advance Media’s decision to reduce production of the Times-Picayune to just three days a week.
Gambit has been owned and run by Margo and Clancy DuBos since 1991, and the paper has been a staple of New Orleans life for decades. The newspaper battle that erupted between The Advocate and the Times-Picayune in 2013 did seem to affect Gambit some, as its coverage made a noticeable shift toward more arts and entertainment and away from news and commentary. Still, the paper has remained a vibrant part of the New Orleans media scene.
The Georges family says they bought the paper as part of their ongoing effort to preserve iconic Louisiana brands, and that it fits in with their current media holdings, which also include three other weekly newspapers. The DuBoses plan to remain with Gambit, with Clancy continuing his column and Margo as business manager.
Gambit was formed in 1981 and currently publishes 35,000 papers a week.