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Melanie Hebert / Eyewitness News
Email: mhebert@wwltv.com | Twitter: @melaniehebert

NEW ORLEANS -- If you're a Saints fan, you know the voice of Jerry Romig. The team's public address announcer started his career as a sports writer at The Times-Picayune.

'When you're on a staff like that, you knew that you were a great part of the city,' Romig said of the 175-year-old print operation.

The daily newspaper not only helped shape careers like that of Romig's, but it's been a family for many.

'I was administrative assistant to Ashton Phelps, the publisher, for over 30 years and for his father for a few years also before he passed away,' remembered Metairie resident Virginia Cognevich.

That's why, with relatives still working there, word that the daily Times-Picayune will soon only publish news three times a week hit Cognevich hard.

'I just know if I get on the phone with my stepdaughter I'm gonna start crying, which I'm getting emotional right now,' she said.

'For those of us who have been a part of it, we're gonna have tears flowing,' agreed Romig. 'I guess we'll just have to accept three days a week and go with it.'

But you don't have to have worked at the Times Picayune to feel that connection. People from around the metro area are sharing a loss.

'I'm not happy about it at all,' said Harahan resident John Caldas. 'I get it delivered regularly every day and I read it judiciously every day.'

Mid-City reader Betty Bradford added, 'I need my newspaper in the morning, matter of fact I have it right here in my purse. So I'll miss it.'

'I hate it. It makes me sad. I don't want to see it happen,' said Uptown resident Mary Lee Murphy. 'I know that the industry is changing and I know that technology is dictating that change, but I'm not ready to give up my print. I'm not ready to give up the paper, and I don't want to see my friends unemployed.'

Lakeside News in Metairie says it sells about 50 Times-Picayunes a day, but can double that during football season.

'When the Saints are playing we sell paper on Mondays,' noted store clerk Jimmy Dempster.

Now, the newsstand thinks sales of the Baton Rouge Advocate will increase from about 30 papers a day.

'It's New Orleans' loss because Baton Rouge is a good paper,' Dempster added.

Still, while the Times-Picayune says goodbye to their daily printing operations, others believe the choice to focus on digital in New Orleans is paving the way for the future.

'I was really thinking of going to online access because it's really a shame to have the stacks of newspapers at the end of the week to dispose of,' said Slidell resident Amy Nolan.

Mandeville resident Jeffrey R. Lyons said he gets most of his news through his phone or iPad.

'I do like the tactile feel of holding a paper in my hand just like I like to hold a good novel, but at the same time the barriers to participation financially make digital the way to go,' he said. 'I feel like it's a sign of the times, so either get out front on that trend or you're gonna get left behind.'

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