One week after New Orleans businessman John Georges purchased The Advocate and installed former Times-Picayune Managing Editors Peter Kovacs as editor and Dan Shea as general manager, the war between the papers escalated. Former T-P City Editor Gordon Russell and City Desk Editor Martha Carr — considered by staffers the leading lights in the newsroom during the paper's recent troubled times — defected to The Advocate, along with reporters Claire Galofaro and Andrew Vanacore.
A newsroom source told Gambit several days before the announcement, "If Gordon and Martha are leaving, we're all leaving" — and indeed two more prominent T-P veterans will join The Advocate in the next few days.
The four staffers who quit last week offered two weeks' notice to T-P Vice President of Content Jim Amoss, and then left for a meeting at The Advocate's Baton Rouge headquarters while still officially on T-P office time. The paper let them go immediately.
Kovacs told Gambit he didn't have a precise date for when their bylines might start appearing in The Advocate. "I think our goal is in the very near future," Kovacs said. "Things are moving very quickly and I would hope we would start seeing them in the next week or so. It's a ramp-up process."
Beyond that, Kovacs had little to say when asked about a redesign of the paper (rumored to be scheduled for late summer) and a possible web redesign. "We have lots of plans to improve the paper," Kovacs said. "I'm not going into which they are and when they're coming." — KEVIN ALLMAN