Louisiana’s The Advocate purchasing The Times-Picayune
The owners plan to publish a daily, home-delivered product incorporating brands and features from both publications.
Dathel and John Georges announced their purchase on The Advocate's website. "I want to thank Advance for working with us to ensure a strong print and online news company for years to come," John Georges said.
The new paper will debut in June. The two papers' websites will be merged at "around the same time," The Advocate reported .
The husband and wife bought The Advocate in late April 2013, nearly a year after Advance Publications Inc. announced The Times-Picayune would cut back publication to three days a week, lay off 200 employees and shift focus to its website, Nola.com.
Advance was pursuing similar strategies in other markets, including Michigan, Alabama and Pennsylvania, with relatively little pushback. But the move stunned many in New Orleans, where tradition dies hard. Protests were organized and there were suggestions from some locals that Advance sell the paper. Many readers had formed a deep bond with the Times-Picayune after the catastrophic flooding following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The paper's dogged work covering the aftermath, despite having to evacuate its flooded plant, resulted in a Pulitzer Prize.
In the state's capital city, the Manship family, then the owners of The Advocate, seized the opportunity to expand with a New Orleans edition.
The result was something all but unheard of in an internet-driven, 21st-century media world: an old-fashioned newspaper war.
The Georges' purchase of The Advocate — which publishes editions under The Advocate, The New Orleans Advocate and The Acadiana Advocate flags — intensified the rivalry. The Georges hired veteran Times-Picayune reporters and editors including Dan Shea as general manager (now publisher) and Peter Kovacs as editor.
Shea, Kovacs and The Advocate President Judi Terzotis will continue to lead the combined news organization, the paper said.