by Kevin Allman
"We are NOLA Media Group. And we are hiring," the ad read, saying that positions were open in "content, digital solutions, human resources and sales," and urging applicants to visit nola.com/jobs for more information. Many of the jobs listed there are similar to those eliminated last week, including general assignment news and sports reporters as well as advertising account executives and sales managers.
Among the listed benefits in the ad: "commuter accounts." A commuter account is a pre-tax benefit similar to a health care flexible savings account, which allows an employee to put aside pre-tax monies for public transportation costs or parking fees. Such a benefit would have little value at The Times-Picayune building at 3800 Howard Avenue, which has plenty of employee parking — but will have more practical use at the new NOLA Media Group offices, which senior managers have said will be located in downtown New Orleans.
Some employees who have been invited to remain with the company have been told those offices may be in the One Canal Place Office Tower, the 32-story office building with The Shops at Canal Place on its three lowest floors.
While navigating the parking garage at One Canal Place, exiting into downtown traffic and trying to reach freeway on-ramps would seem to be more difficult than getting out of the more centrally-located 3800 Howard location, reporters and photographers have been told they will spend most of their time out of the office and "in the field," communicating with the main office via laptops and mobile devices.
Furthermore, the new NOLA Media Group newsroom will bear little relation to the old Times-Picayune newsroom, some employees were told, as it will be built around the concept of flexible "workstations" rather than traditional desks and bullpens.