The New Orleans Times-Picayune’s digital presence (led by nola.com) is awful. I mean, absolutely horrible. Even the Detroit News is kicking its ass up and down and then back up the street again.
Its daily headline newsletter (pictured above) is poorly designed and largely information-less. There are a few news stories (rarely of great significance), but it is dominated by Sports, enticements to sign up for their newsletters and graphics that link to its social media accounts and obituaries. Yes, obituaries. In their morning headline newsletter, at least three large obituaries are included below News and Sports, halfway down the email. Seriously.
I’ve previously referred to the Times-Picayune as a big crime blotter. Well, I guess you don’t need much for that, do you? (Though you could replace the obituaries with your ongoing tally of the city’s murders.)
Its mobile app is . . . worthless. Not even pleasant to look at. I mean, they’re all so bad it isn’t even useful to describe the sheer disgust, revulsion and vacuity brought on upon attempting to use it. Steady yourself or be pulled into the black hole.
Digital edition? Kindle? Nope. (Well, maybe there’s a PDF floating around out there somewhere.)
The big name in the New Orleans tech community is Tim Williamson. “Who?” you ask. Well, exactly.
He’s been involved with and recently taken over as head of the NOLA Media Group (NMG), the parent of nola.com and the Times-Picayune, which is clearly itself an empty tavern where reporters may have once drank and wrote but no longer.
Williamson’s local claim to fame is having started The Idea Village, the first of New Orleans’ tech incubators.
It appears that aside from one failed foray into the New Orleans media landscape with a Web startup, he’s mainly worked in sales. Nonetheless, he’s touted as being an igniter of the renaissance of the New Orleans entrepreneurial high-tech community. (Not that you could tell by looking around or for a job in the “tech” community here. Most of it is web design firms – which makes one wonder why NOLA.com’s digital presence is so awful.)
Though she agrees, Misty has grown tired of – and told me to stop talking to her about – my dislike of those considered big fish in small ponds. Maybe it irks me so much because I’m jealous. But I also have an exaggerated sense of justice, and, especially, injustice. I don’t like seeing a cause or a person hoisted upon a city’s shoulders as a representative of something they aren’t. But people want (and need) someone to rally around. I’d just prefer it to be around a real fish. Not one that’s been inflated to represent something it isn’t.
New Orleans is a tourist town. It’s not a tech town. Let’s be honest. The New York Times, Forbes and Entrepreneur are lying to you when they say otherwise.
If they want someone to rally around, though, I’d recommend Trey, the founder of G’s GroPro. It’s a local online grocery delivery service. We use it almost weekly. Send in your shopping list, they go to the store, purchase your stuff and charge you a flat rate depending on the number of items. Ultimately, their fee costs less than taking a Lyft or Uber to the grocery store and back would run you. In fact, I did recommend to the editor of Silicon Bayou News that she interview/profile him. Hell, if she wanted an angle, she could have noted that he’s a black entrepreneur — don’t see many black faces in the tech community and New Orleans is majority black.
Trey’s the kind of guy who needs to be rallied behind. Not Tim. He’s doing well enough for himself.
But I’m hoping Tim can pull this off – prove his digital cred and improve access to local media sources. He was correct when he asked the Times-Picayune not to reducing its printing schedule. Let’s see if he can whip NOLA.com into shape.
Now, that’s an idea.