Benson letter expresses interest in buying Times-Picayune

Published: Jul. 26, 2012 at 3:59 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 26, 2012 at 7:02 PM CDT
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Saints and Fox 8 owner Tom Benson and wife Gayle (AP Photo)
Saints and Fox 8 owner Tom Benson and wife Gayle (AP Photo)

In a letter to the owners of the Times-Picayune, Saints and Fox 8 owner Tom Benson expressed his interest to buy the newspaper once again. Benson wrote in the letter dated July 25th to Steve Newhouse, "I would welcome the opportunity to speak to you about my interest in purchasing the Times-Picayune, with others. If this is something that is an option, we can initiate this at your earliest convenience."

In May, Benson wrote a letter asking Newhouse to reconsider reducing the Times Picayune from a "daily seven day a week paper to just three days a week."

After that letter Benson and wife Gayle met with Newhouse at their New York office. Benson wrote, "you were very gracious to host me and my wife meet and discuss your plans moving forward and to explain to us the complicated business of operating the newspaper. I can't thank you enough for the time you spent with us."

Benson also reiterated in the letter his strong feelings for the necessity of a daily newspaper in New Orleans. "The city of New Orleans is a city of immense culture, economic growth and host to millions of people annually: it is a nationally and internationally recognized city, it is a city deserving of a seven day a week newspaper."

A handwritten post script from Benson says, "P.S. In 1985 the Saints were leaving, I would hate for this to happen with our paper."

Newhouse is chairman of Advance Publications which operates the Times Picayune. Earlier this summer Advance Publications announced plans to become more of a digitally focused news gathering operation and would reduce paper distribution to three days a week.

Fox 8 received an email from the Newhouse corporation Thursday directing us to a comment made two weeks ago by Donald E. Newhouse, president of Advance Publications, owner of The Times Picayune, "Advance Publications has no intention of selling The Times-Picayune." In the email it stated this is the final statement on the matter.