Advocate sale brings renewed interest to newspapers - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Advocate sale brings renewed interest to newspapers

John Georges (left) at Wednesday's announcement John Georges (left) at Wednesday's announcement

New Orleans, La. - "I pass the ball to you; throw strikes."

With those words, Richard Manship handed over ownership of The Advocate, a paper that's been in his family for more than 100 years.

Businessman John Georges met Wednesday with The Advocate's staff for the first time as the paper's owner and says he plans expand the presence in New Orleans.

The Advocate began a daily paper here last year when the Times-Picayune scaled back its print version to three days a week.

"This sign of unity between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is brought to you today by this great newspaper," says Georges.

Loyola journalism instructor Mike Giusti says the sale of The Advocate shows there's still interest in the newspaper model, even as papers across the country slash staffs and reduce circulation.

"It looks more like we're moving back towards the family-owned model," he says. "You've got a family who really wants to put in money and invest in something that they believe in as opposed to being the cash cows that all went out into the '70's -- that all went out to the shareholders."

Giusti says Georges will have to do some hiring if he wants to truly compete with the Times-Picayune.  Georges has already announced the hiring of former Times-Picayune managing editors Dan Shea and Peter Kovacs.

"The Advocate is a smaller newsroom than Nola.com," says Giusti. "Nola.com has the biggest newsroom in the entire state by far and The Advocate's the second.  And then when you look at investment in the New Orleans area, The Advocate has five or six actual reporters based in the city. I understand that they're going to be expanding out but the Times-Picayune is more in the neighborhood of a hundred journalists covering the city."

Just as The Advocate announces new ownership, the Times-Picayune says it will produce a tabloid on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays when the full paper isn't printed.  Called TPStreet, it will be available in stores and electronically.

Giusti says, as a teacher of future journalists, it's exciting to see expansion in the business. "Seeing more outlets to me is just better from a consumer's perspective and as an educator's perspective," he says.

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