NEW ORLEANS — The Advocate marked the launch of its daily New Orleans edition Monday, as the newspaper moves to fill a void created by The Times-Picayune’s decision beginning Oct. 1 to publish three days a week.
More than 50 people attended a news conference at Rock ‘n’ Bowl Monday, featuring a brass band and an introduction of the seven veteran Times-Picayune employees who have been hired to work so far in The Advocate’s bureau.
David Manship, publisher of The Advocate, said the first thought was to just distribute copies of the newspaper in New Orleans to meet public demand. But the decision was made to introduce a special New Orleans daily edition in response to the public outcry about The Times-Picayune scaling back its frequency.
“The Advocate is committed to New Orleans,” he said. “We’re not here for a couple of days, we are here to stay.”
To that end, a New Orleans bureau is being temporarily housed at 201 St. Charles Ave. A permanent office will be located in the same area.
The Advocate will distribute free copies of the New Orleans edition across the city this week, then roll out home delivery and sales Monday. The goal is to distribute 10,000 copies across the greater New Orleans metro area in 35 ZIP codes and at 400 single-copy locations.
As of Friday, Manship said, The Advocate had more than 2,000 subscribers in New Orleans.
Gregory Rusovich, chairman-elect of Greater New Orleans Inc., thanked The Advocate for answering the requests of many residents and bringing a daily newspaper to the city. “Economically, our region has the hot hand,” Rusovich said. “We deserve a daily paper, and thanks to The Advocate and the Manship family, we will have that daily newspaper.”
New Orleans business leaders were some of the loudest voices opposing the decision by The Times-Picayune to cease publication of a daily newspaper. The Times-Picayune, which is owned by New York-based Advance Publications Inc., a Newhouse family company, is shifting its resources toward online publications.
Manship said while The Advocate has versions available for mobile apps and has a website and e-edition, the company still believes in the power of a daily newspaper.
“Our core product is the print edition,” he said.
To mark the launch of the New Orleans edition, The Advocate is rolling out an advertising campaign across the Crescent City that will involve print, TV, radio and billboards.
“We hope to get as many subscribers as possible,” Manship said.
Manship said The Advocate’s coverage and staffing in New Orleans will get “bigger and better” as more subscribers get the newspaper.
Suzanne Mestayer, chairwoman of the Business Council of New Orleans, urged people who like the idea of having a daily newspaper to support The Advocate.
“Subscribe to the newspaper, advertise, join the effort,” she said.