The Times-Picayune

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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Monday, September 23, 2013

Y@ Speak: feud season

Posted By on Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Sept. 23, 2013. We've lost count of the days of the Great Blog Wars. Our bodies weary from life in the trenches. Food and water in short supply. Hands and feet caked in mud. Our eyes blinded from constant rolling. Twitter is dead, and we killed It.

The Blog Men, @Editilla and @CBForgot, have left a scorched Internet. What remains of it following their endless pissing contest: Dr. John's dick jokes, amoebas, pedicabs, Costco caskets, a defiant Scott Fujita and a victorious Saints.

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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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Friday, September 6, 2013

Review: A Truckload of Ink

Posted By on Fri, Sep 6, 2013 at 6:22 PM


A newspaper newsroom is a perfect setting to have a large cast of characters reel off entertaining stories, banter and butt heads and delve into personal and professional intrigue. In Jim Fitzmorris’ A Truckload of Ink, the reporters’ and editors’ routine is upstaged when they are blindsided by the biggest story of the day: the drastic reduction of their own paper’s publishing and operations.

In the boisterous first half of Act 1, retiring editor Fintan (Bob Edes Jr.) regales reporters with a war story and shares a bottle of whiskey on his last day in the office. There are as many as 13 characters onstage as the younger reporters, most played by NOLA Project members, listen with one ear, attend to stories breaking at City Hall and chide their beloved colleague. There’s an air of nostalgia in Fintain’s tale as he talks about an era when public drunkenness wouldn’t necessarily disqualify a candidate for public office. Young political reporter Billie (Natalie Boyd) objects to traces of old-world political incorrectness, society pages writer Beatrice Bell (Leslie Castay) recalls one candidate’s cheap cologne, and contentious political columnist Bevin (A.J. Allegra) calls Fintan an old blowhard. Director Beau Bratcher so ably orchestrates the blitz of crosstalk, competing conversations and interruptions that at times it seems too quiet when everyone is listing to one speaker. Even though there are 14 characters, there is a clear sense of most of their personalities and how the changes affect them, and the entire cast helps make the workplace chaos convincing.

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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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Monday, August 12, 2013

Y@ Speak: seasoning

Posted By on Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 12:50 PM

"Area Man Wakes From Post-Football Slumber, Wears Dress, Runs"

What season is this? Football has seemingly replaced our collective brain matter, already. Schools are coming back to life. Barbie conventions are a thing. Big butts can kill you. Meanwhile, air conditioning units file for OT as fat chunks of rain "cool down" our heat-ravaged minds and bodies. Driven by madness, New Orleans takes to the streets in its last-ditch "festival" effort, wearing red.

As we melt away into whatever "season" appears between now and fall, let us reflect on a week of our city's insanity.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Y@ Speak: new beginnings

Posted By on Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Alter egos, doomed films, firings, deaths, zombies, new friends and friendly strangers, new publications, and moments of discovery — and disappointments (Mannie Fresh, hang in there. Vine gets better). This week's Y@ Speak is about our new leases on life, whether admitting you have a gutter punk problem or realizing you have paid too much for a pretty regular burger experience.

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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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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Stephanie Grace, Laura Maggi join The Advocate

Posted By on Tue, May 21, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Longtime New Orleans political columnist Stephanie Grace and Times-Picayune reporter Laura Maggi are the latest names to join the New Orleans edition of The Advocate.

Grace, who declined a job offer from The TImes-Picayune last year following the paper's restructuring, will return to print three times weekly with a column that will appear Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. (Most recently, she has written a series of cover stories as a contributor to Gambit.) Last week, James Gill, another veteran T-P columnist, jumped to The Advocate, where his column appears twice weekly.

"I'm back to doing what I always did — writing about local and state politics — and really excited to be part of the conversation in Baton Rouge," Grace told Gambit this morning. "I'm picking up where I left off, and surrounded by some of my favorite people who happen to be great journalists."

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Monday, May 13, 2013

James Gill jumps from The Times-Picayune to The Advocate

Posted By on Mon, May 13, 2013 at 10:01 PM

James Gill, whose acerbic wit and incisive columns about Louisiana politics and peccadillos have appeared in The Times-Picayune since 1986, is the latest T-P name to jump ship to The Advocate.

"It's very hard to make out a quote, because quotes are all bullshit," Gill told Gambit tonight. "But I am delighted to go to the highest bidder, I am happy to be renewing my association with [former Times-Picayune managing editor, now Advocate editor] Peter Kovacs — and I am delighted we have a newspaper war again after so many years."

Gill took a buyout from the Picayune in late 2009 and almost immediately signed a freelance agreement to continue his elegant-but-pugnacious column on the paper's op-ed page. Since then, he and his wife Gail have split their time between New Orleans and Gill's native England.

In 1997, Gill wrote Lords of Misrule, a book that traced the intersections between the history of New Orleans and the history of Mardi Gras Carnival krewes.

Last January, Gill wrote about the news that businessman John Georges was interested in buying The Advocate:

The Picayune, after publishing a daily since 1837, was bound to be missed, and the Advocate's owners did not neglect the opportunity to pick up the slack. They launched a New Orleans edition, which they say is selling respectably.

That just goes to show that a lot of people really do like a paper in their hands every morning, because The Advocate's New Orleans edition cannot hold a candle to the Picayune. This is not a knock on the ex-Picayune staffers who make up its New Orleans bureau; it doesn't matter how brilliant they are, because we still have them hopelessly outnumbered.

With Gill jumping ship, that number was just reduced by one, and more are expected to follow this week.

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