Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
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On the same day The Times-Picayune announced it would add more days of print editions to its diminished weekly publishing schedule, New Orleans businessman John Georges completed his deal to purchase The Advocate, the largest daily newspaper in Louisiana.
The Advocate announced the sale, which had been previously reported, on its website Tuesday night with the headline "Georges buys Advocate."
Just after 11 p.m. Tuesday, a Wednesday morning press conference was announced to formally comment on the sale. Gov. Bobby Jindal and Mayor Mitch Landrieu were said to be among those invited to the event.
The Manship family of Baton Rouge, which had owned and operated the newspaper since 1909, did not disclose the selling price.
Georges also named two former Times-Picayune executives to lead The Advocate.
"Georges said he will serve as Publisher of The Advocate and he named Dan Shea as General Manager and Peter Kovacs as Editor," according to the online story. Both journalists left The Times-Picayune as managing editors at the time of the cutbacks and publishing changes last summer.
Georges said he will meet Wednesday with the newspaper’s 450 employees.
“The Advocate is a strong brand with dedicated employees and a supportive community,” Georges said in the article. “In addition to one of the newest and most state-of-the-art print production facilities in the industry, The Advocate has impressive digital capabilities. Together, these components ensure The Advocate will thrive for a long time to come.”
The Advocate, which dates back 171 years, added a daily New Orleans edition to meet the demand when The Times-Picayune cut back to three days a week last summer.
On Tuesday, the Picayune announced it will be launching a tabloid edition for three of the four days on which it ceased publication, but the company will not offer home delivery.
Georges is well-known throughout Louisiana for the success of his nearly 100-year-old family business, Imperial Trading Co., a wholesale grocery company with branches throughout the South, distributing goods to convenience stores.
Georges waged unsuccessful campaigns for mayor of New Orleans and governor. He and his wife have three children. He has no previous experience in journalism.
David Manship, who was publisher of The Advocate, said in the newspaper's Tuesday night story that "while it was a 'sad day' to sell his interest in a newspaper he had been involved with for 40 years, it is going into good hands."
“John is a very capable businessman,” Manship said. “He’s a true Louisianian and he will do an excellent job to carry on the tradition that the paper has established.”