The Advocate adds third reporter to cover Saints

Ramon Antonio Vargas, a reporter for The Times-Picayune and author of a book about Loyola athletics, is joining The Advocate as a sportswriter covering the Saints.

Vargas is latest in a series of Times-Picayune reporters and editors who have signed on with The Advocate since it began printing a daily, home-delivered New Orleans newspaper.

He will be one of three Advocate staff writers assigned to the Saints, joining Sheldon Mickles and Ted Lewis.

Vargas, 26, has covered New Orleans-area news since 2007, when he joined The Times-Picayune as a part-time morning reporter for the online desk while a student at Loyola University.

He was later promoted to a full-time position in the newspaper’s St. Tammany bureau, where he covered courts, crime and Slidell city government.

Most recently, he covered the New Orleans Police Department and Orleans Parish criminal court. He has won several awards from the Associated Press and Press Club of New Orleans for his criminal-justice and general news reporting.

Vargas also has won several awards for sportswriting during his time at The Times-Picayune, including for a profile of a troubled teenager who used boxing to get his life back on track and a poignant tale of a Saints Spanish-language radio announcer who lost his son during the team’s Super Bowl season and called the championship game for his child.

Earlier this month, Vargas published “Fight, Grin and Squarely Play the Game: The 1945 Loyola New Orleans Basketball Championship and Legacy,” which profiled the only team from New Orleans to ever win a collegiate national basketball championship.

Vargas is a native of Metairie and graduated from Stuart Hall School, Jesuit High School and Loyola University New Orleans.

He has been the vice president of the Press Club of New Orleans for four years.

The Advocate began offering daily home delivery of a New Orleans edition last year, when the New York-based owners of The Times-Picayune cut back delivery to three days a week and laid off nearly half their newsroom.

The Advocate ramped up its New Orleans coverage in May, when businessman John Georges purchased the newspaper. It is one of the only newspapers in the United States whose circulation is growing.

Peter Kovacs, the newspaper’s editor, said The Advocate is committed to providing New Orleans readers with a daily, home-delivered newspaper tailored to their needs.

“We’re excited to have Ramon join the best sports staff in Louisiana,” he said. “Given the importance of The Saints to New Orleans and Louisiana, we thought it was important to expand our coverage as we grow our readership.”