Audit Notes: NOLA stirrings, Libor’s victim, Honda-driving billionaire, etc.

—With the news market in New Orleans suddenly up for grabs—thanks to Advance Publications’s decision to slash the newsroom of the Times-Picayune in a pitiful quest for clicks—it’s good to see online and alternative competitors organizing themselves to have a run at the T-P’s suddenly disrespected readership.

The Lens, My Spilt Milk, NOLA Defender, and Uptown Messenger have formed a cooperative that will start out promoting each others’ work and maybe find some other ways to collaborate.

The Lens’s Steve Beattie Beatty tells me:

The changes at the TP “certainly were the catalyst for this, though we’ve all been mutual admirers for some time. Plenty of readers have suggested a new central clearinghouse for news, and our four online sites all cover different pieces of the city, so it makes sense to offer that service. I’d say it’s less about The Times-Picayune’s decision to cut back on print coverage and more about’s nearly impenetrable website.

The Lens, along with a culture site, Nolavie, is also part of a plan announced by the public radio affiliate, WWNO-FM, to expand its local news coverage. WWNO says it’s been in talks with the other two sites for eight months, so the plans aren’t a direct response to Times-Pic debacle.

Still, it’s all very timely.

—Matt Taibbi gets a gold star for taking on Larry Kudlow for insisting the Libor scandal is a victimless crime. What Taibbi might have also mentioned is that first victim of marketplace corruption—admitted to by Barclays itself—is the market itself. How can you trust a manipulated market?

—Steven Greenhouse, who at this point has to be considered the dean of American labor reporters (okay, it’s rather a vanishing speciality), has a good report from Joliet, Illinois, where machinists are striking against Caterpillar. Despite a net income of $4.9 billion, a record, and even better projections for next year, demanding a *six-year* wage freeze. Its adversary, the International Association of Machinists, is said to be equally tough.

—The best thing about about Nick Bilton’s fun bit about Silicon Valley as some kind of Gatsby-esque lotus land was the reaction is provoked from local denizens, including Michael Arrington:

There is an obscene amount of money here. But it’s the only place in the world where most rich people don’t really flaunt it.

I know a billionaire that drove an old Honda until recently, for example.

Well, there you go. But what’s he drive now?

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Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014). Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.