If a recent advertisement in The Daily Advertiser is any indication, speculation the local daily will be implementing the “Butterfly Project” could be more of a reality than the Gannett-owned paper’s top execs are willing to admit.

According to Gannett Blog — a non-affiliated website contributed to by insiders from the McLean, Va., headquartered company — the Butterfly Project will in part replace local content with USA Today generated stories, and is expected to be rolled out in four or five states.

When our sister publication ABiz looked into the proposed project in September, we spoke with David Petty, publisher of Gannett’s Monroe News-Star, who at the time was serving as the interim-publisher for the Advertiser and Opelousas Daily World following the ouster of Karen Lincoln. His response to the Butterfly Project and whether it would impact Gannett’s two Acadiana papers: “It’s just a project, but the aim is to enrich the local content, not force content or whatever else — every paper has an option.”

A new publisher has since come in, Gannett veteran Judi Terzotis. The IND reached out to Terzotis recently by email, and of the five questions we submitted, she responded to all but one: Can you comment on the Butterfly Project, and is this coming to Lafayette?

Questions of an Advertiser/USA Today infusion, however, may have been answered in this full-page advertisement in Sunday’s Advertiser:

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What makes Sunday’s ad more intriguing is a recent invite sent out by Gannett’s local execs announcing a meet-and-greet with the new publisher and a sneak peek of the paper’s coming “brand transformation.”

Though Terzotis didn’t respond to our inquiry into the Butterfly Project, she did say this about the paper’s brand change: “We are in the midst of a transformation ... Our goal is to be the authority and first choice for the coverage of issues that our community cares the most about.”

So, it appears we’ll have to just wait and see on Dec. 15. In the meantime, read the September-October ABiz cover story “Butterflies?” here.

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