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The Media Narrative

Lede New Orleans: Newsroom Equity

Lede NO groupshot

Jen Larino, upper left and E'Jaaz Mason (bottom) with students from Lede New Orleans.

It was right in the middle of the 2019 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival when the staff of the Times-Picayune learned that their newsroom would be shutting down. At the time, Jennifer Larino was lead reporter at | The Times-Picayune, and within months of the layoffs, she had founded a community-based journalism nonprofit with New Orleans-born filmmaker and teacher E'Jaaz Mason.

Lede New Orleans works to build skills in young journalists and artists with the goal of increasing equity in the journalism industry in newsrooms and producing news coverage that more accurately reflects the authentic character of the people of New Orleans.

In our conversation, Larino and Mason talked about the Times-Picayune layoffs (2:00); inequity in media (7:00); how mainstream media miss the point of the Second Line (11:00); launching a journalism nonprofit in the middle of a pandemic (15:50); and the somewhat shaky future of New Orleans (22:00). After the interview you'll hear an excerpt of the song "Qiuck," by New Orleans band Tank and the Bangas, and the host's episode essay, focusing on contact tracing (27:45).

Podcast theme music by Matt Jenson.

Related Links

Lede New Orleans

Poynter Institute: newsroom closings page

Pew Research Study on news staff layoffs

Jen Larino recent articles

E'Jaaz Mason Sci High Awards

Katrina Babies (film in production)

Music Recommendations from the Lede New Orleans cofounders