Some longtime ‘Advocate’ employees take buyout, leave paper this week
Several longtime newsroom staffers at The Advocate have said their goodbyes to their colleagues at the newspaper this week. In July, the newspaper announced it was offering a buyout option to veteran employees as a way to reduce its full-time staff by 5%. Executives also said at the time involuntary layoffs might become necessary if not enough employees took advantage of the plan. The Advocate’s general manager Dan Shea did not return a call seeking comment, but sources familiar with the situation tell Daily Report at least eight writers, editors and members of the photography staff opted to take the buyout and will no longer be employed by the paper after this week. Long-time Baton Rouge readers may not recognize many of the names, as they were behind-the-scenes employees. However, feature writer Carol Anne Blitzer—who for years penned the social column Coffee with Carol Anne and Mary—as well as People section editor Madelyn Lamb are among those who have left. Sources say the buyout plan was generous, giving employees one week’s salary for every year of their tenure up to 26 weeks. Sources also say there have been no announcements in the newsroom about whether involuntary layoffs will be necessary. Reductions in the staff of the local daily have come as the paper ramps up staffing and circulation of a New Orleans edition of the daily newspaper. The paper’s Crescent City edition has hired several high-profile former writers and editors from The Times-Picayune/nola.com over the past few months. —Stephanie Riegel
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