JR Ball, the executive vice president of Louisiana Business Inc., the publisher of Business Report and other Baton Rouge-based publications, will be leaving his post in July to become the Red Stick bureau head for NOLA.com. It’s the latest from the front in the developing turf war between The Advocate and The Times-Picayune, which is based in New Orleans and whose digital arm is NOLA.com.

While the newspapers — The Advocate was purchased by businessman John Georges in May — are beefing up their bureaus in each others’ respective hometowns, it was the Business Report’s Daily Report that broke the story this morning, posting its version just a few minutes before NOLA.com. “JR Ball is a top-notch editor, as readers of Business Report can attest,” Times-Pic Editor Jim Amoss told Daily Report. “We’re delighted he will become the leader of our news team in Baton Rouge.”

JR_BallPulling Ball into NOLA.com's Baton Rouge bureau brings instant credibility and institutional knowledge to the team there, which has gone without a managing editor since March, when Carlos Sanchez left after six months on the job. Although he was covering the Baton Rouge beat long before, Ball has been with Business Report since 1999, during which time his columns have become a staple of the local editorial landscape.

Possibly part of what attracted NOLA.com to him could be that Ball has never been afraid to pick fights in his Business Report columns, whether it be with the mayor or governor, and they always generate a steady flow of comments online. Plus, with a background in covering everything from sports to local politics, he’ll be able to hit the ground running.

Ball will also be stepping back into an editing role, which he filled at the Business Report for many years while claiming a number of regional and national press awards. He earned a reputation during that time as an editor who expected his reporters to be accurate, fair and concise, while allowing opportunities for stories to be built with strong narratives and magazine-style structures. He was likewise known for paying his freelancers well and was said to have an open mind about pushing big deadlines to further develop sources and stories.

Here’s more from NOLA.com:
Ball will be working out of NOLA.com | Baton Rouge’s new hub at One American Place, now the Capital One building, in downtown Baton Rouge. He will oversee an expanding team of reporters tasked with being innovative and entrepreneurial in their approach to building a digitally focused news and information company that informs Baton Rouge readers, wherever they are, and however they want to be informed — on their phone, on their desktop, on their tablet, or in print.

The free printed weekly BR is the latest result of that effort. It gives a compact overview of the most important entertainment, sports and news events of the past seven days in Baton Rouge, and a look at the week ahead. It is distributed throughout Baton Rouge each Wednesday.
Read the full story here.

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