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 week. The talk was titled "Media Wars," and Georges took a few swipes at his daily news competitor, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, but much of the talk was about how having a newspaper owner with no news experience was not so bad.
"It's good to have outsiders," Georges said, calling himself a "disruptor" of the traditional newspaper game. Georges pointed out that the people who created the now-defunct Palm Pilot didn't understand Steve Jobs' concept for the iPhone, adding quickly, "I'm not saying I'm at his level."
Georges was dismissive of the T-P's recently announced plan to print the paper in Mobile, Alabama, and truck it in to the city every day. Asked if he ever saw a future where the two papers might collaborate, he cracked that it already was happening: "They quote us in every one of their stories."
No questions were posed about The New Orleans Advocate's circulation numbers, nor its initial widely reported problems with home delivery. But Georges got the biggest laugh of the night when asked about his future political plans (he has run for New Orleans mayor and for governor). He said he doesn't intend to run again for governor. "I've enjoyed it," he said. "I haven't served in it — but I've enjoyed it." — KEVIN ALLMAN