The (Baton Rouge) Advocate “has reached deals with more than a dozen funeral homes to begin printing their obituaries” in its New Orleans edition, the paper reports.
“The lack of local obituaries has been a frequent criticism of subscribers,” a report from the paper’s New Orleans bureau says.
The obituaries news is another challenge to The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune by The Advocate, which moved aggressively into the New Orleans market after the Times-Picayune reduced print frequency last year. New Orleans businessman John Georges purchased the Advocate this year, and the paper has hired some prominent Times-Picayune veterans.
The Advocate has also announced an advisory panel for its New Orleans edition that includes Anne Milling, who was among a group of prominent New Orleanians who petitioned Advance Publications to sell the Picayune rather than reduce its print frequency.
Meanwhile, in a region of California that a U-T San Diego reporter calls “San Diego County’s backcountry,” another newspaper war is heating up, with some intriguing characters.
Casey Jones and his wife Lois are challenging the Borrego Sun and Julian News with new papers. Jones used to edit the Sun, whose publisher, Patrick Meehan, has managed Black Sabbath and has “just wrapped up production of a new film about the life of Rudolph Valentino.”
Meehan is threatening to sue the Joneses, who are offering cheaper ads. Jones “can’t imagine what basis there could be for a lawsuit,” the U-T’s J. Harry Jones (presumably no relation) reports. “There was no contract, no severance,” Jones said.
Julian News’ publisher, Michael Hart, notes that his is “the only paper east of Ramona, all the way to the Imperial County line, that can do legal advertising.”
State legislators in many locales have flirted with removing public notices from newspapers; in Connecticut a bill that would allow municipalities to reduce their spending on public notices by posting on municipal websites instead has survived a committee hearing and will move to the state Senate, Hugh McQuaid reports:
Towns officials, who consider the requirement an expensive mandate, have asked for the change for years. The Connecticut Newspaper Association has lobbied heavily against the bill.