NEW ORLEANS — The Advocate began daily home delivery and newsstand sales throughout the New Orleans area on Oct. 1, 2012, filling the void left when the city’s longtime daily newspaper went to three times a week.
The Advocate in July, 2012, announced it would enter the New Orleans market about the same time The Times-Picayune switched from daily to three-times-a-week publication of its print editions.
In the weeks since, staff at The Advocate have worked feverishly to assemble a staff of journalists, sales representatives and delivery people so a daily New Orleans edition can be delivered throughout the Crescent City area.
The Baton Rouge-based newspaper began free distribution of The Advocate’s New Orleans edition on Sept. 24, 2012, at newsstands, convenience stores, drugstores and other outlets throughout the area.
The Advocate also began taking subscription orders for home delivery. The response exceeded expectations.
Much was made after The Times-Picayune’s announcement that New Orleans seemed fated to become the largest city in America without a daily newspaper.
Advocate Publisher David Manship, whose family has owned and published The Advocate for more than a century, said his family did not want to see that happen.
“At The Advocate, we think New Orleans and its citizens deserve a quality newspaper printed each and every day, and we intend to provide one,” Manship said. “We intend to continue providing subscribers with a daily newspaper that focuses on local, state and national news.
“We have earned the trust of Baton Rouge citizens by delivering a quality daily newspaper for more than a hundred years. And we are committed to doing the same in New Orleans.”
Several pages in The Advocate, including the front page and the South Louisiana/Business section front, will be reworked to showcase major New Orleans stories each day.
Other parts of The Advocate will include extra New Orleans area coverage as well.
The Times- Picayune, which is owned by Advance Publications Inc., a Newhouse family company, announced plans in May to convert its daily newspaper to a 24-hour digital news source with a print edition occurring only on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
A new company, the NOLA Media Group, will oversee The Times- Picayune and its affiliated website, NOLA.com.
The move to a three-day-a-week print version has generated swarms of opposition across all ranks of New Orleans residents, ranging from cab drivers to university presidents.
In making the switch, The Times-Picayune eliminated many longtime employees.
In staffing its New Orleans bureau, The Advocate tapped some of the talent that had been let go by The Times-Picayune.
While firmly committed to The Advocate’s print product across south Louisiana and, now, in New Orleans, the Manship family’s Capital City Press is pushing forward with its own digital media initiatives.
“We recognize that the way people get their news is changing,” Manship said. “And we will keep up with these changes by delivering news in all the different formats our subscribers use, including print.”
In addition to its traditional print product, The Advocate has a website — http://www.theadvocate.com — that now includes a special destination page for New Orleans news. The Advocate’s digital products include smartphone and e-tablet apps as well as an “E-edition,” which is an electronic reproduction of the pages that roll off the printing press each day.
Manship said he first considered distributing copies of The Advocate in New Orleans only at single sales points such as convenience stores and in news boxes.
Overwhelming demand for home delivery prompted him and other Advocate officials to rethink that and to push forward with home delivery.
Manship said The Advocate’s coverage and staffing in New Orleans will get “bigger and better” as more subscribers get the newspaper.