Thoughts on That Chris Rose Piece: Where NOLA Journalism Went Wrong
A few years ago I wrote about the fact that the Times Picayune would no longer be publishing a paper 7 days a week. I framed that story with my memories of reading and meeting Chris Rose.
So it was no surprise when I read this quote by Chris Rose yesterday:
After Hurricane Katrina, “we had Ray Nagin as mayor; all the city institutions and individuals had failed everyone. The Times-Picayune really stepped it up. And I was the face of The Times-Picayune.” –Chris Rose
To me, at least, this was true. Chris Rose was the face of the newspaper.
Let’s back up: yesterday I saw a click-bait tweet promising a story on how “Pulitzer-winning NYTimes best-selling NOLA writer Chris Rose” ended up waiting tables, I of course clicked.
I couldn’t finish the article fast enough, reading about Chris Rose’s three trips to rehab, his time waiting tables, his kickstarter project that went bust, his divorce.
Honestly, none of that was shocking to me.
Instead, I was shocked to read that Chris Rose has become a pariah in New Orleans journalism. And that is unforgivable.
Yes, he missed deadlines. Yes, he was clearly having lots of personal problems.
You see, I always thought the Times Picayune‘s biggest mistake was cutting the number of days for a print paper.
I was wrong.
This was the day they failed:
“But The Times-Picayune finally decided that New Orleans had heard enough of my personal story.” -Chris Rose
Never. Not uh. Not happening. There will never be a day when I’m tired of hearing Chris’s stories.
But it wasn’t just the newspaper. According to the CJR article, one by one all of the doors to all of the news outlets in the city closed on Chris Rose.
That fact crushed me.
Who cares that the man waited tables for a while to make money? Are we really that snotty? That, to me, is not the hook of this story. That should not be the click bait tweet.
The crux of the story is that Chris Rose cannot tell his story. And it makes me want to drop everything, head back home, start an alt magazine with my closest journalism friends and become the voice for Chris Rose and all the others who have been cast aside and whose beautiful stories aren’t being told in the city that care forgot.