Veteran Louisiana Editor’s Leadership Cited by NPF Judges

Peter Kovacs, editor of The Advocate in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, has been chosen as winner of the National Press Foundation’s 2016 Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award.

Kovacs will receive the award at NPF’s annual journalism awards dinner on Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Washington, D.C., along with other award winners. Learn more about the NPF dinner and awards here.

Learning of the award, Kovacs said: “The Advocate is owned by a fearless and dedicated Louisiana family, and we have a terrific publisher and a talented staff. But our chief asset is our readers and advertisers, who believe as we do that great news coverage is vital to building informed, prosperous communities.”

The NPF judges said of their selection: “Peter Kovacs has demonstrated great leadership in extremely challenging times. He has twice rallied his staff to perform heroic journalism in the aftermath of historic flooding, believing in the strength of the printed word to serve the community in times of crisis. Kovacs skillfully steered coverage of the police shooting of a black man in Baton Rouge that roiled the community and the subsequent shootings of law officers. When a journalistic and business opportunity opened in New Orleans, The Advocate seized both under his leadership. Kovacs’ deep commitment to journalistic excellence is in the finest tradition of the legendary Benjamin C. Bradlee.”​The Bradlee award carries a $5,000 honorarium, which Kovacs will donate to The Advocate’s employee relief fund. About a quarter of the Baton Route staff were impacted by the 2016 flooding.

Kovacs has been a newspaper editor in Louisiana for more than three decades. From 1983 to 2012, he held a variety of positions at The Times-Picayune. During his time there, the newspaper won four Pulitzer Prizes, including two for coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Kovacs joined The Advocate in 2013, and helped expand its reach by launching separate newspapers serving New Orleans and Acadiana.

The National Press Foundation established the Editor of the Year Award in 1984 to recognize significant achievements that enhance the quality of journalism in the United States. It recognizes imagination, professional skill, ethics and an ability to motivate staff — qualities that produce excellence in media and represent the highest standards of journalism. The list of distinguished winners is here.

The National Press Foundation is an independent nonprofit that is run by and for journalists. NPF’s sole mission is to educate practicing journalists about today’s most pressing issues and critical toolbox training.