Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chain reaction

The Lafayette City-Parish Council did not meet this week. The Daily Advertiser, the official journal of record that is paid more than $240,000 annually to publish public notices, failed to print the council’s agenda Friday, violating the Home Rule Charter that requires publication of the agenda within two working days of the meeting.

“It just didn’t get done,” says Janet Gianelloni, the city-parish council’s administrative assistant.

The public blunder is just one outward sign of the chaos taking place on Bertrand Drive and indicative of much bigger problems at Lafayette’s daily paper. The Advertiser has been undergoing cuts since 2005, massive ones in the past five months, all handed down by corporate media giant Gannett. The publicly traded entity has been sucking the life out of what has been one of its most lucrative papers to offset losses elsewhere and placate antsy short-term, profit-oriented shareholders.

In fact, the longtime legal clerk who handled public notices for the paper was among those laid off in a 50 percent reduction to the classified department, which appears to explain why the mistake was made.

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