Days after New Orleans billionaire John Georges finalized his purchase the Baton Rouge Advocate, the Advocate announced the hiring of several longtime Times-Picayune staffers.
The “poaching” of the TP staffers is another sign of Georges’ intention to further develop the New Orleans version of the Advocate as a daily paper.
The Advocate’s website says the four TP staffers hired away are:
- Martha Carr, a 16-year veteran of the Picayune. Carr will be Managing Editor of the New Orleans Advocate.
- Gordan Russell, a 14-year veteran of the Picayune, described as the TP’s “leading investigative reporter.”
- Sara Pagones, who will become the New Orleans Advocate’s St. Tammany Bureau Chief.
According to the Advocate, Carr, Russel, and Pagones were “part of a team that received two Pulitzer Prizes for its work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.” The paper also announced the hiring of TP staffers Claire Galofaro and Andrew Vanacore, who have collectively covered several major stories in the Metro area and Southeast Louisiana.
After completing the purchase last week, Georges quickly hired two other longtime TP employees: Peter Kovacs as editor, and Dan Shea as General Manager.
Last year, the Picayune stunned the city by announcing it was moving to a three-day-a-week printing schedule, in a stated move to focus on delivering news and content in the online digital arena.
However, following months of public backlash, and after the expansion by the Advocate into the New Orleans market as a daily paper, the Picayune has apparently reassessed the need for a daily (or near-daily) newspaper.
The Picayune’s owner and publisher announced last week they would begin printing “TPStreet” on three of the days that the Picayune is not printed. TPStreet is an apparently scaled-down version of the Picayune that will be available for sale on the street in New Orleans, but not for home delivery.