NEW ORLEANS -- As Times-Picayune employees wait to learn whether they have a future with the company, some major advertisers are sounding off against plans to scale back the newspaper. Several businesses have joined a newly-formed group opposing the changes.
For restaurateur Ralph Brennan, a key business strategy over the years, has been advertising through the Times-Picayune. When news surfaced about the papers plans for a massive scaling back of its operations, Brennan couldn't believe it.
"My first feeling was shock. I was so surprised that they would consider printing only three days a week," said Brennan.
Now, Brennan and several other major advertisers are joining The Times-Picayune Citizens' Group -- a growing collection of business and civic leaders who are speaking out against the planned changes.
Ray Brandt Automotive Group, Latter & Blum, Hurwitz Mintz Furniture and several other companies are also now part of the group, which is urging the company's new executives to reconsider.
Gambit Weekly co-owner Clancy DuBos isn't surprised by the snowballing effort to save The Times-Picayune.
"It's a tragedy for us to lose our daily newspaper and I say that as someone who competes against them," said DuBos.
"Anytime prominent advertisers speak out on an issue involving a newspaper, it's something a newspaper owner will, or at least, should pay attention to."
While Times-Picayune executives haven't budged since announcing the changes, company president Ricky Matthews responded to the growing reaction in the community.
In a statement, he said, "We recognize that some advertisers are concerned about our new strategy. We take these concerns seriously and are continuing our outreach efforts."
For now, Brennan says he's unsure whether he'll pull any ads, but his feelings about the changes are firm.
"I'll make that decision later and see what's best for us as a company. It's too early to tell right now," said Brennan. "1.2 million people in the metro area and we're not going to have a daily paper. That just doesn't make sense, and a paper is such an important part of a community. I don't understand their reasoning."