by Kevin Allman
The meetings — conducted by editor Jim Amoss, city editor Gordon Russell, online editor Lynn Cunningham, features editor Mark Lorando, sports editor Doug Tatum, and possibly others — will spell out job offers and severances. Those who are not invited to join the newly formed NOLA Media Group, which will produce the content for NOLA.com and the three-times-a-week Picayune, will be allowed to leave for the day. Two sources have told Gambit that severance for fired employees will be calculated at 1.5 weeks for every year of service, capped at one year's compensation.
At least three very familiar newsroom names, including award winners, have said they intend to take severance and/or don't expect to be invited to join NOLA Media Group.
Amoss videotaped a message today that is expected to be posted Tuesday on NOLA.com. In the speech, which was taped in a corner of the newsroom in full view of employees, Amoss is said to have assured readers that the reorganized newsgathering operation would continue to serve the needs of New Orleans well. One newsroom employee called it "propaganda," noting that Amoss and Cunningham have never responded to an open letter sent to them June 1 by a group of employees, asking questions about the paper's future.
One person vital to the transition is James O'Byrne, editor of NOLA.com. O'Byrne was set to address a scheduled meeting of the Faubourg Delachaise Neighborhood Association (FDNA) at a private home Tuesday night, but FDNA president Debby Pigman says O'Byrne cancelled his appearance with the group late today.