Veteran reporter celebrates Advocate/Times Picayune merger
New Orleans’ historic newspaper, The Times-Picayune has been purchased by their Baton Rouge-based rival, The Advocate.
Manship School Professor Len Apcar, a 40 years veteran journalist who’s worked at the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, says the merger will increase the quality of reporting in the Crescent City.
“I don’t see a downside to this for good government. The Advocate is one of the best run news operations that I have ever witnessed, and I have been here several years.”
The Advocate received it’s first Pulitzer Prize for it’s reporting on the history of Louisiana’s non-unanimous jury verdict law that was overturned at the ballot box last year.
The Advocate has published a daily paper in New Orleans since 2012, and the merger will use “brands and features of both publications” starting in June. Apcar thinks the new publication will feature the strengths of both of the previous papers.
“The Picayune is a great name and a great newsroom. It needs leadership and reinvigoration, and I think that will come with this merger.”
The Picayune traces it roots back 182 years, and gained widespread acclaim for continuing to report on Hurricane Katrina online even as the paper’s building was surrounded by water.
Employees of the Picayune and it’s online service, Nola.com, have been given 60 days notice that they will be fired, and it is not certain how many if any of them will be retained in the new publication. Some say it’s a sign of an increasingly unfriendly job market for would-be journalists, but Apcar is optimistic.
“Some people may not make the merger, and I think that it is unfortunate. On the other hand, there is no shortage of work that needs to be done, and I’m optimistic that things can work out.”