Advocate owner says he ‘tried to buy’ Times-Picayune

The Advocate | WWL | Dump the Picayune | The Times-Picayune

The Baton Rouge, La.-based Advocate announced Wednesday it was hiring four reporters from the Times-Picayune, a paper with which it is engaged in a growing newspaper war.

In a May 2 interview, WWL-TV anchor Melanie Hebert passed on a viewer question to John Georges, The Advocate’s new owner: Would he be interested in buying the Times-Picayune “You can’t buy something that there’s not a willing seller,” Georges replied.

I tried to buy them. I sent word to them before the Advocate or during the Advocate and they weren’t interested in selling.

Advance, which owns the Times-Picayune, has repeatedly said the paper is not for sale.

Earlier in the interview, Georges threw a couple of elbows at the Times-Picayune: “I’m used to competition,” he said. “I’m not sure whoever I compete with is used to competition.”

And there’s this:

The good news is we know what our readers are going to want, and we’re going to give them what they want. We’re not going to dictate what they want and how they get it; we’re going to give them everything they want. Like I do in my other businesses.

In another post-sale interview, Georges told Tommy Tucker that “change needs to be subtle, it can’t be radical and quick, but before, you know, let’s say by Christmas time you’ll have a paper that you wish for.”

John Maginnis says New Orleans will benefit from having two newspapers jostling for its attention.

The solution for both, of course, is to beat each other to the best stories and to better capture the cultural vitality of both cities. Doing so will require big long-term investments for both companies, with the dividends to be reaped by better informed and entertained readers. How this all plays out could foreshadow the future of daily journalism across the land. The whole newspaper world is watching. Gentleman, start your presses.

Previously: Rick Edmonds: “it looks to me as though Advance got ahead of itself” | Former Times-Picayune editors will lead Baton Rouge Advocate, which has a new owner | Times-Picayune says circulation is up since it cut staff, print frequency | Saints owner offers to buy Times-Picayune

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