The ranks of those who worked during the Press-Register’s time as a daily newspaper keep thinning as longtime reporter Brendan Kirby has confirmed he is leaving the P-R/al.com for a new venture.
Kirby couldn’t say a lot about his new gig yet — only that he will be a senior political reporter for a website called LifeZette. The online publication Politico reported earlier this year that LifeZette is the brainchild of conservative commentator Laura Ingram, and it will be branded as “a cultural and political web destination for conservatives and independents.”
Kirby, who has worked for the P-R since 2000 and covered a wide variety of beats, including state and federal courts, said his last day at al.com will be July 10. Though his new employer will cover national issues, he said he and his family have no immediate plans to relocate.
Kirby is well regarded among other journalists locally and one former P-R reporter described his departure as a big loss for the paper.
“Brendan is one of the last capable beat reporters,” he said.
LifeZette has been in the works for months, according to Politico, and has recently begun gathering journalistic talent. Former Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro is one name that has been reported and he will serve as the site’s political editor.
Ingram is a radio host, Fox News contributor and also a contributor to ABC’s Sunday morning public affairs program “This Week.”
Kirby’s departure may have come at a good time if reports from al.com insiders bear out. Some currently with the company say they are expecting layoffs once al.com and NOLA.com are completely brought together under the leadership of former Press-Register publisher Ricky Mathews.
Mathews oversaw severe cutbacks at the Press-Register prior to being moved by Advance Publications to run the Times-Picayune and NOLA.com in New Orleans. His arrival there was quickly followed by the announcement that the T-P, as well as all of Advance’s Alabama newspapers, would reduce publication from seven-days-a-week to just three. The T-P, which had not endured the rounds of cuts that took place in Alabama, was shocked by very deep layoffs that saw many seasoned journalists at one of the country’s premier newspapers cut loose.
Shortly after it was announced last month that a reorganization was underway for the company’s Louisiana and Alabama operations and that they would all soon work under the name Southeast Regional Media Group, it was made public that more rounds of layoffs would be coming to the T-P and NOLA.com.
Insiders at the P-R/al.com have told Lagniappe there have already been a couple of layoffs and that more announcements may be coming in a “couple of months.”
Mea Culpa II
We have to apologize again for the lingering issues we’ve had with lagniappemobile.com over the past week. There was so much more voting for the Nappie Awards — more than half a million votes so far — that it overwhelmed our web host and crashed our site pretty hard.
I’m not technically adept enough to tell you what happens when a site crashes like ours did, but I do know it’s taken several people far more technically savvy a lot of time to get it back up and running. But even as I write this, things have been a bit testy.
The voting has continued unabated, though, as it is hosted at another site, and the breakdowns have been short-lived. Hopefully by the time this hits the street it will all be back 100 percent.