Veteran journalists join New Orleans Advocate

Four longtime Louisiana journalists have been hired by The Advocate to improve the newspaper’s coverage in Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes.

Former Times-Picayune reporter Jeff Adelson and Advocate business reporter Chad Calder will cover all aspects of Jefferson Parish news, including politics, crime and education.

Adelson, who has spent more than a decade as a print journalist, most recently worked as the Times-Picayune’s lead state political reporter. Prior to his stint at the Capitol, he spent four years covering suburban issues, including Mandeville Mayor Eddie Price’s conviction on corruption charges, the Ku Klux Klan murder in rural St. Tammany and land use and flood protection in Jefferson Parish.

Calder, who joined The Advocate in 1998, has written about the connections between the Baton Rouge economy, market failure, planning, development, sprawl, and community disinvestment and renewal. He has chronicled the city’s efforts to improve its economy by making itself more attractive to young professionals, particularly the creative class. He also focused on attempts in Baton Rouge to reverse the effects of decades of urban sprawl.

Joining bureau chief Sara Pagones in The Advocate’s new St. Tammany office are Baton Rouge political reporter Faimon Roberts and community news veteran Sharon Edwards.

Before moving to the St. Tammany bureau, Roberts covered East Baton Rouge Parish government and was a general assignment reporter for The Advocate. He covered the 2012 mayor-president election and investigated how public officials dispersed suite tickets to Bayou Country Superfest. Roberts also worked in The Advocate’s Florida Parishes bureau, where he covered Livingston, Tangipahoa and St. Helena parishes.

Edwards, who has covered St. Tammany for 17 years, is the new community news editor for the bureau. She served as assistant community news editor for The Times-Picayune from 1995 to 2012 and most recently was the entertainment columnist for its Picayune section.

“For me, community news is journalism at its best,’’ Edwards said. “The St. Tammany community seeks a strong connection with its newspaper and this is a tremendous opportunity for residents to see their stories reflected on the pages of the daily paper, The Advocate.’’

Pagones, who launched the first community news section for The Times-Picayune in 1984, agreed that St. Tammany readers are hungry for stories about their lives, from playgrounds to classrooms to social activities.

“The St. Tammany team is excited about the opportunity to tell those stories every day,’’ she said.