The man The New York Times called “a prophet of Katrina’s wrath” for his prescient coverage of New Orleans’ vulnerability to hurricanes and flooding has decided to stick with the city’s beleaguered newspaper.
On Tuesday, Mark Schleifstein, the Times-Picayune’s environment reporter for the last 28 years, accepted a job offer from the new Nola Media Group, which was formed in the wake a decision to cut the daily paper’s staff (by about 200 thus far) and reduce publication to three days a week. In an update on his Facebook page, Schleifstein wrote:
The decision to stay was difficult for many reasons, including my own anger at how the announcement was made (or not made) of the decision to move to 3-day-a-week publication of The Times-Picayune and the creation of the new/revised online presence, and my continuing concern about whether employees of the new entities will have any say in their direction, development.
That being said, however, at this time in my own career and in the post-daily paper life of New Orleans, I felt that I owe a responsibility to our community to attempt to continue to provide them with quality coverage of the environment, the area’s levee system and hurricanes.
The community should be happy about that. Three years before Katrina devastated the city, Schleifstein and his colleagues at the Times-Picayune tried to sound the alarm in a series called “Washing Away,” which warned: