As they approach their fifth year of ownership of The Advocate, Dathel and John Georges today announced a new management structure that adds a seasoned Louisiana newspaper executive to help guide the growth of the state’s largest news organization.
Judi Terzotis, who now leads the Lafayette Advertiser and seven other newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, will become president of The Advocate.
“We have grown to the point, with three daily newspapers and 13 weeklies, as well as rapidly growing digital sites, that we need to expand our management team to match,” John Georges said. “We are very fortunate to find someone from right here in Louisiana to complete the successful team we already have.”
Dan Shea, who has been both president and publisher of The Advocate for the last three years, has been named publisher and CEO.
Terzotis has worked for 25 years for the nation’s largest newspaper company, Gannett. She is currently the president of its Gulf Region, which also includes five papers in Louisiana, two in Mississippi and one in Alabama.
“This is a great opportunity to join a company with an absolute commitment to the traditional values of a community newspaper,” she said. “My own experience will complement with what the Advocate has accomplished and will help keep the company strong.”
Unlike newspapers in most cities that have cut their news staffs, reduced the number of pages in their papers or stopped printing on some days entirely, under Georges, The Advocate has launched The New Orleans Advocate and The Acadiana Advocate and invested in newsgathering and new facilities.
The Advocate has larger weekday print circulation than when Georges bought the company, and page views on its website have grown 30 percent since last year.
The Advocate’s operational and business departments will report to Terzotis, who will report to Shea. Editor Peter Kovacs and the newsroom will continue to report directly to Shea.
Shea said he plans to concentrate on longer-term issues associated with the changes in the economics of the news industry, to look for new acquisitions and keep the company focused on continued growth in New Orleans.
“Dan and his team got us here,” Georges said. “I expected Judi to help build on that success and bring us forward.”
Terzotis said she is most proud over her career of helping to give her companies a common goal and vision, mentoring her staff to maximize their abilities and becoming an active member of the community.
Before moving to the South, she was the publisher of The Coloradoan in Fort Collins and was associate publisher of the Colorado Springs Gazette.
“Ours is a complex company trying to bring unique journalism to three distinct markets,” Shea said. “What all our papers have in common is a commitment to quality — online and in print — despite the challenges of the industry.”
Terzotis and her husband Bob, an economics consultant, plan on relocating from Lafayette to a home convenient to both Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Their son, Capt. Trey McMinn, an LSU graduate, is a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Louisiana National Guard and is currently deployed to Iraq. She has two stepchildren residing in North Carolina: John, a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and Sarah, a high school senior.