The Advocate

Monday, March 16, 2015

New Orleans native Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, talks about his 40-year career in newspapers

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 10:04 PM

Dean Baquet (left), executive editor of The New York Times, was interviewed by WVUE-TV's Lee Zurik tonight at Loyola University. - KEVIN ALLMAN
  • Dean Baquet (left), executive editor of The New York Times, was interviewed by WVUE-TV's Lee Zurik tonight at Loyola University.

Dean Baquet, the New Orleans native who rose from The New Orleans States-Item to become executive editor of The New York Times, was the speaker tonight at the 6th annual Ed Renwick Lecture Series at Loyola University, which packed the university's Nunemaker Hall with a crowd of students, faculty and a good number of local journalists, many of whom worked with Baquet at The Times-Picayune.

"My life is a story about what's wrong with New Orleans and what's so great about it," Baquet said, mentioning that he came up as the son of a Treme bar owner duriing a time when New Orleans largely was segregated. "I don't remember being outside Treme except when my father would go to the French Quarter to buy cigarettes for his bar. I don't recall going Uptown or any place beyond Canal Street when I was a teenager." (The current generation of the Baquet family owns Li'l Dizzy's Cafe in Treme, and Dean Baquet's brother, Terry Baquet, is a top editor at The Times-Picayune.)

Baquet, who has covered politicians from former Gov. Edwin Edwards to President Bill Clinton, said his first exposure to the world of politics came when he was a student at St. Augustine High School. Then-Gov. John McKeithen spoke to his class, which left a negative impression, but it was a speech by then-Mayor Moon Landrieu in the St. Aug schoolyard that stuck with him. 

He enrolled in New York's Columbia University and came home to New Orleans during his sophomore year, homesick. "I walked into the newsroom of the States-Item almost 40 years ago. I was lost, unsure, I was a sophomore at Columbia University with intense but scattered reading habits, making B's and C's."

He stayed, because "somewhere in there I picked up a relentless ambition that has pushed me to this day."

His biggest lesson? "Everyone has a story if you just listen and shut up."

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Advocate publisher John Georges speaks at Loyola University on "Media Wars"

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 12:41 PM

John Georges, publisher of The New Orleans Advocate, with Sonya Duhe, director of the Loyola University School of Mass Communication. Georges spoke on "Media Wars" in a talk at the university last night. - KEVIN ALLMAN
  • John Georges, publisher of The New Orleans Advocate, with Sonya Duhe, director of the Loyola University School of Mass Communication. Georges spoke on "Media Wars" in a talk at the university last night.

Eighteen months after buying The Advocate and expanding the paper’s reach in New Orleans, publisher John Georges addressed a crowd of about 200 people at Loyola University’s School of Mass Communication last night. The talk was titled “Media Wars,” and Georges took more than a few swipes at his daily news competitor, | The Times-Picayune, but much of his speech was about how having a newspaper owner with no newspaper experience was a net asset rather than a debit.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Y@ Speak: gang colors

Posted By on Mon, Aug 4, 2014 at 11:55 AM

In this week's Y@ Speak, New Orleans goes to war. We remember those who fought in the battles of White Linen Night, newspaper printing schedules and Mike Ditka's wine, and Buffa's and Sidney Torres face off in court (kind of) and Sean Payton goofs on a balding Drew Brees. Elsewhere: Doug MacCash unveils a new rating system (and recovers from White Linen) and Rob Ryan goes to Wal-Mart.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cartoonist Walt Handelsman joins The Advocate

Posted By on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Cartoonist Walt Handelsman. - WALTHANDELSMAN.COM
  • Cartoonist Walt Handelsman.
Walt Handelsman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist whose work appeared in The Times-Picayune from 1989 to 2001 before he decamped to New York Newsday, will return to New Orleans to become staff cartoonist at The New Orleans Advocate.

The decision sounds like a sudden one, according to a press release from The New Orleans Advocate tonight:

Handelsman agreed to join The Advocate over the weekend, after attending Sunday’s New Orleans Saints game with the newspaper’s owners, John and Dathel Georges, General Manager Dan Shea and Editor Peter Kovacs.

“A few years ago at a Tulane art fair, I purchased a brass skeleton key on a chain created by talented local artist and close family friend, Juliet Meeks*,” Handelsman said. “I’m not much of a jewelry-wearing guy, but I’ve worn that key under my shirt every single day as a personal reminder to someday unlock the door and get back home.”

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Politicos peddling the paper — the latest wrinkle in New Orleans' newspaper wars

Posted By on Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 11:38 AM

In this screenshot of the new television ad campaign for The New Orleans Advocate, Jefferson Parish President John Young delivers a copy of the paper to a resident. Young is only one of several politicians who appear in the newspaper's TV campaign.
  • In this screenshot of the new television ad campaign for The New Orleans Advocate, Jefferson Parish President John Young delivers a copy of the paper to a resident. Young is only one of several politicians who appear in the newspaper's TV campaign.

If you haven’t seen The New Orleans Advocate’s new television campaign, you probably will soon. The brisk, clever ads emphasize the paper’s daily delivery schedule and feature local personalities — Archie Manning, Irma Thomas, Rita Benson LeBlanc, Andrea Apuzzo, the 610 Stompers — ringing a doorbell and handing copies of 
The New Orleans Advocate to a surprised homeowner. It’s all set to a jazzy soundtrack and the familiar Yat growl of Ronnie Virgets: “New Orleans is at ya do’ — seven days a week.”

But it’s not all chefs, musicians and sports figures. Among the familiar faces ringing the doorbell are several elected officials: Jefferson Parish President John Young and Sheriff Newell Normand; St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister; and New Orleans City Council Vice President Stacy Head.

“Business is good in Jefferson Parish!” Young says, handing the homeowner a newspaper, while Head announces, “Here’s the latest from the City Council!”

Most newspapers’ marketing departments — including that of The New Orleans Advocate — are completely separate from their newsroom operations. Nonetheless, using elected officials in ads for a newspaper is a new one on Kelly McBride, the house ethics expert at the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit school for journalism in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Advocate obviously has a competitive relationship with The Times-Picayune,” McBride told Gambit. “If the politicians join The Advocate in sharing that message, what does that say about The Advocate’s ability to critically examine those politicians?”

Not surprisingly, Advocate owner and publisher John Georges — who ran for governor in 2007 and mayor of New Orleans in 2010 — disagrees. At last weekend’s Rising Tide conference at Xavier University, where he was introducing keynote speaker Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, Georges told Gambit, “That ad is filled with New Orleans newsmakers, and that’s what the people in the ad are appearing as — they’re newsmakers.”

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Advocate becomes the official newspaper of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans

Posted By on Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 9:48 PM

The New Orleans Advocate, which expanded from Baton Rouge into the New Orleans market 11 months ago, is now the official newspaper of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, Advocate owner John Georges announced tonight at a reception at the Superdome, along with Tom Benson, owner of the Saints and Pelicans, and Saints co-owner Rita Benson LeBlanc.

The deal does not extend to naming rights to the New Orleans Arena, though Georges said there would be plenty of Advocate signage in the city's Superdome/Arena sports complex.

The partnership between two of New Orleans' wealthiest and most influential families drew a crowd of several hundred business leaders and politicos to the Bienville Club Lounge on the third floor of the Superdome, including most of the New Orleans City Council and Jefferson Parish President John Young, as well as Benson's wife Gayle and Georges' wife Dathel.

Most of The Advocate's New Orleans editorial staff was on hand as well, though editor Peter Kovacs said the newspaper and sports teams' partnership would not extend to editorial in any way, but simply be a marketing and promotional tool for both entities.

(Editorial will be involved in one immediate way; The Advocate plans to print a commemorative broadsheet edition this Sunday to mark the Saints' season opener against the Atlanta Falcons, and the paper's New Orleans staff has been told to show up at the Dome Saturday night so they can personally tuck 70,000 copies of the paper in the seats.)

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Times-Picayune to launch its tabloid product, TP Street, on Monday

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 9:06 PM

The Times-Picayune will launch its new tabloid print edition, TP Street, next Monday, according to a memo this evening from NOLA Media Group Vice President of Content Jim Amoss.

After going to thrice-weekly publication last fall as part of its move to a "digital newsroom" (and later adding a Monday sports tabloid during New Orleans Saints football season and a early-Sunday "bulldog" edition in the subsequent months), NOLA Media Group announced in April it would return to printing a news product on the days that The Times-Picayune was not printed.

That tabloid print product, which was named "TP Street," was largely greeted with dismay in the newsroom and confusion and derision elsewhere, due in part to publisher Ricky Mathews' spin on the tabloid. Mathews had called TP Street "the latest milestone in our evolution as a multimedia news organization," when it was clear that the move was a retreat to daily printing.

Adding to the confusion was NOLA Media Group's statement that TP Street was a response to subscribers' demand for a paper — but TP Street would not be delivered to subscribers, but available only on news racks for an additional price. (The final version of TP Street will carry The Times-Picayune's familiar "flag," or front-page logo.)

That non-delivery plan, Gambit learned several weeks ago, has also been reconsidered as NOLA Media Group pondered the possibility of returning to daily delivery of a daily print product with the name Times-Picayune, effectively positioning the physical paper where it was a year ago before the "digital transition" — albeit a physical paper with a severely damaged brand and new competition in the form of The Advocate's New Orleans edition.

Amoss' memo to his staff below the jump.

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Y@ Speak: awards season

Posted By on Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 11:55 AM

As I am handed a golden scepter and draped in my red velvet cape, I present to you this week's Y@ Speak following our farewell to the reign of Lauren LaBorde. Her rule will be difficult to follow.

Nevertheless, New Orleans Twitter basked in the warm glow of its inaugural Y@ Speak award nominations, got really excited about Hubig's rebuilding its pie factory, ate oysters, met @BeingNOLA, and battled termites.

All in preparation, presumably, for #twitterprom, aka the Y@ Speak Awards. Winners will be announced at 5:30 p.m. tonight at Publiq House (4528 Freret St.). Your host is dream job conjurer Ian Hoch. Can't make it in person? Follow along on @yat_speak.

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