One encounter with Judi Terzotis, President of The Advocate, is all it takes to discern her love of journalism. Typically, journalists report on other people’s stories, but we flip the roles as we listen to Judi Terzotis, wife of Bob, mom of Capt. Trey McMinn and stepmom of John and Sarah, share her story on this podcast episode of Discover Lafayette.
Terzotis oversees the daily operation of The Advocate’s three newspapers in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Acadiana, plus 11 weeklies. Owned by John and Dathel Georges, their vision is to preserve The Advocate’s well-established and respected Louisiana brand while maintaining traditional journalistic values, both in print and online.
Growing up an “Army brat,” Judi attended 11 schools before graduating from high school. A University of Tennessee graduate, she had the opportunity to intern with the iconic Lady Vols Basketball Coach Pat Head Summitt. This experience allowed her to witness a great mentor in action and instilled the understanding that the human side of work can partner with high expectations. Judi started in the newspaper industry early with a small Tennessee newspaper and moved up the ranks quickly, having spent 25 years with Gannett before joining The Advocate in February 2018.
With 104 journalists across three markets, The Advocate is the largest news organization in Louisiana, Bolstered by John Georges’ long-term commitment to elevate community journalism, Judi expressed that Georges leads with his heart and wants to do the right thing for employees and the community. This strategy has paid off for The Advocate as it has grown its print circulation year after year since being purchased by the Georges five years ago, which is an anomaly in today’s media market.
Sharing interesting statistics about their audience, 43% of The Advocate’s readership consists of Baby Boomers who prefer to read print newspapers. Even with the growing Millennial market and its preference for digital access to news, however, Georges is committed to maintaining print publications of their three newspapers.
Staying on top of trends in the constantly evolving media market, The Advocate has 3.3 million unique visitors per month, and depending on the sports season, up 17 to 20 million monthly page views. These numbers translated to an Alexa U. S. website ranking of 519 on the day of our interview. This high volume of website traffic, coupled with precise targeting of demographics and other analytical data, allows the newspaper to assist advertisers in reaching their desired audience and get the best return on their advertising investment.
Acadiana Business, the new business-centric newsletter, rolled out on September 4, 2018, and fills the void in business reporting the community has been clamoring for. Each Monday through Friday, at 10 a.m., Acadiana Business is distributed via email at no charge and you can sign up online at www.theadvocate.com. The content is also available online at the Acadiana Advocate and in Sunday’s Acadiana Advocate business section.
Adam Daigle is the new Business Editor in Acadiana and Dan Boudreaux is a full-time writer as well. Reporter Ben Myers will remain along with Leslie Westbrook, photographer, and free-lancers who will contribute to the endeavor. Discover Lafayette is proud to be a partner in this endeavor.
Reporting is a team effort, and Judi loves empowering her talented staff as they pitch ideas and explore direction on their stories. Advice to anyone wanting to get into journalism? Intern and immerse yourself in media and/or advertising organizations. Interning pays incredible dividends to those investing in their career of choice.
Judi anticipates the expanded use of video in the next couple of years as a growing trend in how news is distributed. It is possible that 80% of what you will see online by 2020 will be storytelling via video and images.
In closing, we discussed the challenges of instantaneous reporting through the growing use of social media and the time-honored need to verify that stories are told correctly. Integrity never goes out of fashion.