More media maneuvers: The Advocate added four reporters last week, including Jeff Adelson, who had been working as The Times-Picayune's state political reporter in Baton Rouge; Adelson will be covering Jefferson Parish. Also coming on board: longtime T-P party photographer/chronicler Steven Forster. Sources within The Advocate say the paper is very interested in challenging the Picayune on one of its traditional strengths: parties and society coverage.
Meanwhile, the T-P snapped up JR Ball, executive editor of the Baton Rouge Business Report, to helm its Baton Rouge bureau, which has been without a formal leader since bureau chief Carlos Sanchez departed after only seven months on the job. Another job hopper: Rebecca Catalanello, who had been covering charter schools for The Lens; she'll cover health care for the T-P.
The paper also announced the return of restaurant critic Brett Anderson, who has been on leave for a year on a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. The paper had originally fired Anderson during its transition last year, then reversed itself and tendered a job offer. Anderson, a marquee name in food journalism, had put off the decision, leaving the paper in limbo for a year. It is now hiring a second food writer.
And the Gannett Co., a newspaper and TV conglomerate with holdings around the United States, announced its intention to purchase Belo, the parent company of WWL-TV. Gannett, which publishes USA Today, also owns dailies in five Louisiana cities. If the deal is OK'd by federal regulators, WWL-TV (Gambit's television partner) could be under Gannett control by year's end.
Gannett, which has laid off thousands of employees in the last few years (and awarded raises and handsome bonuses to top executives even in lean times), is said to be paying $2.2 billion for Belo.
— KEVIN ALLMAN