Gambit Site Analysis by Caitlin Miller

Since August I have been working for Gambit Communications as an advertising and marketing intern. Gambit is a free New Orleans newspaper available at over 375 locations around the New Orleans area. Its first issue was published 32 years ago, and since then Gambit has been committed to sharing and strengthening New Orleans’ unique culture. Gambit is a major contributor to the community and frequently sponsors events that emphasize tradition, while also promoting the continuously growing community and new businesses. The paper is locally owned, and one of the most successful alternative weeklies in the United Sates. The Gambit team frequently receives awards for its editorial prestige and design.

Gambit was founded in 1981, and prints every Tuesday. 40, 000 papers are distributed around the New Orleans metro area beginning on Sunday nights. You can find Gambit on Tulane’s campus at the LBC and Bruff Commons. Gambit reports on a wide variety of issues from politics, elections, elected officials, New Orleans events, art, music, and film. Gambit will endorse political candidates, except in national elections and judicial races.

The Gambit office is majorly split between editorial, business and advertising departments. I think this divide fosters and environment where writers feel free to report what they want, without pressure from the advertising and marketing team. Gambit is a free weekly, and therefore it gains all revenue from its advertisements. I spend the majority of my time in that department. Advertising has more to do with the classic ad form that most people recognize. These employees are creative, and work with their clients (local New Orleans businesses) to craft ads that will bring them more customers. I have had the opportunity to brainstorm taglines for businesses such Breaux Mart and Sukho Thai. This is where my academic work becomes useful. As an English and Political Science Major I have learned to think critically, which has allowed me to be creative while thinking about the final goal and customer.

An interesting facet of Gambit’s presence is its role in event planning. Gambit is constantly sponsoring or planning their own events that add and support New Orleans’ culture. For example, this past Thursday, October 10th, I volunteered and attended Gambit’s Red, White, and Blues event. Located in the recently renovated Pavilion of Two Sisters in City Park, the event benefitted the Foundation for Entertainment Development and Education. Gambit hosted local food and wine vendors, who offered samples to the attendees, and of course being in New Orleans– there was a live band.

Gambit’s Foundation for Entertainment Development and Education is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 to “fund projects and programs that acknowledge the profound importance of the performing arts to the culture and economy of New Orleans.” Programs and education initiatives are directly aimed at youths in order to foster an environment where the performing arts is celebrated and respected. In 2012 over $25,000 was given to eleven different arts organizations. Past recipients include: New Orleans Youth Sound Experience (NOYSE), Goat in the Road Productions, New Orleans Recreation Development Foundation, Jefferson Performing Arts Society, and the Mudlark Puppeteers among many others. The Foundation is supported by four annual events: The Tribute to the Classical Arts, The Big Easy Theater Awards, The Big Easy Music Awards, and The Reds, Whites and the Blues. As the marketing and advertising intern I am expected to volunteer at these events, advertise them, and brainstorm ways to make them more successful.

Red, White, and Blues is just one of many Gambit events. For the fall, we are planning a “French quarter scavenger hunt.” Participants will receive a list of clues that pertain to New Orleans’ history, and scores will be tallied at the famous Pat O’Brien’s. The event is co-hosted by an organization that aims to spread Hurricane safety awareness. Gambit also will have a presence at other community events, not affiliated with the newspaper.

Since Gambit is such an established publication, there are very little issues surrounding its production and the office environment. I’m normally am given a list of tasks to do during my afternoons at the office that range from creative based to data entry. The main goal of publishing Gambit is to distribute as many papers as possible, in order to be able to sell more ads.

One of the major goals in my time at Gambit is to increase the weekly’s presence in the universities. New Orleans’ students, particularly Tulane students, are community driven and Gambit’s ideal reader. The newspaper hosts a wealth of events, fundraisers, and plain information that is essential to anyone living in New Orleans. Together my supervisor and I have developed projects and outreach initiatives to involve a younger readership.

Since we are living in a decline of the “printed word,” print publications all over the country are in transition period as digital media expands. New Orleans recently went through a highly publicized newspaper upheaval. The Times Picayune changed its distribution to 3 days a week, while the Baton Rouge Advocate is resifting its focus to also service the New Orleans area. Gambit has remained a consistent form of news throughout this chaos. Gambit is a weekly newspaper, so it cannot function as New Orleans’ main news outlet but it does a thorough job of covering main issues that affect every day New Orlenians.

The way people get their news is changing, and this is especially true with the millennial generation. In 2007 Gambit launched their website and blog “The Best of New Orleans,” which is updated daily. It is an excellent way to stay on top of the many events and festivals that occur almost too frequently in New Orleans.

One of the major goals in my time at Gambit is to increase the weekly’s presence in the universities. New Orleans’ students, particularly Tulane students, are community driven and Gambit’s ideal reader. The newspaper hosts a wealth of events, fundraisers, and plain information that is essential to anyone living in New Orleans. Together my supervisor and I have developed projects and outreach initiatives to involve a younger readership.

Gambit prides itself on being a neighborhood staple, and I really appreciate how the employees are able to blend tradition and innovation in order to strengthen the New Orleans community. Every year Gambit presents a “Best of New Orleans” issue that honors the classics in every field, but also advertises the many new local businesses that have opened since Katrina. I am constantly updating their entertainment guide, and adding new restaurants and venues to their database.

Personally, my time at Gambit has allowed me the opportunity to further explore New Orleans culture. Many people accuse Tulane of staying safe in “the bubble,” Gambit has encouraged me to expand beyond campus. I have been introduced to a slew of new places. My supervisor will frequently give me tickets to fundraisers, concerts, and food events that I would not attend if I had not worked at Gambit. I love the environment and how committed everyone is to New Orleans as a community and hot bed of culture.

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Photobooth at the Red, White, and Blues Event!

 

 

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