A LOOK BACK: Small Town Newspapers

By Billy Crawford

For many years, the locally owned Leesville Leader came out each Thursday morning. It consisted almost entirely of local news.

All the Vernon Parish communities, including Anacoco, Evans, Hicks, Hornbeck, Leesville, Pickering, Pitkin, Rosepine, and Simpson, had a local reporter who would write a column sharing the latest news of that area.

As a student at LHS in the early 1960’s, the school newspaper, the Cat Talk, was published in the Leader.

All the local businesses advertised, including the local grocery stores. I remember my mother spending time each Thursday morning searching the paper for the “grocery sale items” that she would purchase on Friday morning.

So, in this era of social media and online news reporting world events, how important is it for a town to have a local newspaper dedicated to local news?

Relying on recent reliable research, I have discovered the following:

A local newspaper:

–shines a spotlight on the issues that matter most to them.

–is invested in the community and is perceived so by the readers.

–publishes articles on a wide range of topics not covered in any other news source, including extensive use of photographs, school news, senior citizens, local governmental agencies, obituaries, weddings, festivals, sports, clean-up campaigns, etc.

–keeps local history alive.

All these reasons are why I enjoy reading the new Vernon Parish Journal, an online e-paper that is FREE to all, published each Wednesday by Rick Barnickel.

Many others like me, who no longer live in Vernon Parish but still have relatives and friends there, enjoy keeping up with our hometown happenings.