How did The Advocate, a newspaper more than an hour away owned by someone with no media experience, beat the storied New Orleans Times-Picayune?
The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate President Judi Terzotis and Editor Peter Kovacs told attendees at the first annual meeting of America's Newspapers that it was a combination of clever marketing by The Advocate and a series of poor decisions by The Times-Picayune owners, the Newhouse family’s Advance Publications.
When The Times-Picayune decided to cut seven-day home delivery to just three – a decision scooped by The New York Times – The Advocate swooped into New Orleans with a seven-day paper and began to recruit journalists laid off or disgusted by Advance. The newspaper also capitalized on the antipathy the community at large had for the Newhouse family’s decision.
“Their management was our advantage,” Kovacs said.
Among the “pirate” marketing tactics The Advocate deployed: Putting copies of the newspaper on every seat in the SuperDome for the Saints football team opener, picking off “influencers” to dominate Mardi Gras coverage and successfully “vanquishing” the idea it was a Baton Rouge newspaper.