As NOLA Media Group and Alabama Media Group continue to unite into the Southeast Regional Media Group, more staff cuts keep coming.
This past week, NOLA announced a “restructuring” that led to the firing of 28 full-time and nine part-time editorial staffers — or “content” staffers, as they are called. This was a slash of 21 percent of the Times-Picayune/NOLA.com editorial staff, but still left it with 118 full-time journalists, according to its published announcement. Ricky Mathews, who will lead SRMG once the merger is complete, said despite the cutbacks NOLA.com/T-P have the largest news-gathering force in the New Orleans region.
“It’s a difficult day for us and our colleagues who are losing their jobs,” Mathews said in the article announcing the cuts. “We wish them the very best. Aligning our costs with the business realities faced by media organizations around the country is a tough challenge. But it’s also important for our readers to know that we remain the largest and most experienced news staff, and the most widely read newspaper and website in the area.”
But the moves were not without consequences for the Newhouse-owned organizations in Alabama and Mississippi. Mathews announced the company is creating a New Orleans-based facility to design and produce the pages of the T-P, Press-Register, Mississippi Press, Huntsville Times and Birmingham News. That work will be housed in the Times-Picayune’s East Jefferson bureau along Interstate 10 in Metairie.
What exactly that will mean for Mobile and other Newhouse cities in Alabama is not yet clear, but in New Orleans at least, it looks like these changes mean the T-P is out of the music journalism business.
One of the more surprising revelations from the changes is that music reporter Keith Spera is being reassigned to focus on general metro news. Fellow music writer Alison Fensterstock was sacked as part of the cutbacks. Again, no telling what this means for entertainment coverage in the Azalea City.
Things keep getting stranger in the world of the blogger known as the “Legal Schnauzer.”
Roger Shuler, aka “The Schnauzer,” reported last week he and his wife were evicted from an apartment in Springfield, Missouri, where they’ve been living for the past year. To make matters worse, Shuler says his wife’s arm was severely broken by sheriff’s deputies during the eviction after she tried to get the litter box for their cat, Baxter.
The couple has been in dire financial straits after a $3.5 million libel judgment was issued against Shuler because of his reports claiming Attorney General Luther Strange and a campaign aide had an affair. Lately Shuler has been back at it, reporting on an alleged affair between Gov. Robert Bentley and his senior advisor, Rebekah Mason. While Shuler has produced no hard evidence of such a relationship, his report did spur more mainstream media outlets to ask about an affair as well after the governor’s wife of 50 years filed for divorce earlier this month.
Now it appears the Shulers have found themselves in more legal hot water outside Alabama. In Shuler’s report, he says wife Carol’s arm was so severely broken it has required surgery. It also seems the Shulers are involved in an eviction lawsuit with the company that owns the apartment complex in which they were staying.
He claims apartment complex employees threw their belongings along the side of the road and also stole a number of valuable items, including clothes, wedding photos and his wedding ring.
Shuler also made allegations that his own brother, David Shuler, was aware an “unlawful” eviction was going to be processed but did nothing about it, “directly implicating him in Carol’s injuries.”