Baton Rouge’s daily newspaper is looking to “fill the void” The Times-Picayune is leaving in New Orleans when it stops printing a daily newspaper in the fall.

The Advocate, a Baton Rouge family-owned newspaper with five bureaus across South Louisiana, including offices in both the state Capitol and Lafayette, is planning for a New Orleans edition of its daily paper. Its slated to begin circulating in the fall as The Times-Picayune follows through on its plans to become a three-day-a-week printed publication with a heavier focus on digital coverage:

“This has to have significant news in it,” [Capital City Press President Richard Manship] continued. “This is not just an attempt to sell more papers. We will be trying to cover the news in New Orleans.”

The Advocate will add staff to supply this added coverage, Manship said without providing specific numbers.

It would be a return to a New Orleans presence for The Advocate, which had a correspondent there until 2009.

“From the moment that they announced that they were going to a three-day-a-week newspaper, we thought there would be tremendous opportunities for The Advocate to fill a void they’re creating,” Manship said.

According to The Advocate’s website, the newspaper's 2010 circulation was 93,185 Monday-Friday and 116,432 on Sundays.

The Baton Rouge daily closed its New Orleans bureau in 2009, the year that’s been pegged as the newspaper industry’s worst in decades.

It’s unclear how The Advocate will circulate its New Orleans edition, though Manship says the company’s return to The Crescent City should take place around the same time that The Times-Picayune stops publishing a daily paper in the fall.

As The Independent reported in its March 7 news story, “Surf’s Up,” The Advocate is also planning for the end of free, unlimited access to its online news content, opting instead for a paywall similar to The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette and The Daily World in Opelousas, both Gannett-owned papers. No timeline has been given on when the digital paywall could pop up.

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