The Minden Press-Herald is a Monday-Friday daily newspaper published in Minden, the parish seat of Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana, by Specht Newspapers, Inc. It serves the Minden and Webster Parish circulation area with mostly local news.
The original Minden Herald
The earliest use of the name Minden Herald dates to 1895, when publisher/printer/editor William Jasper Blackburn, an Arkansas native, arrived in Minden, then a part of Claiborne Parish. He was a Democrat, a supporter of the Union, and opposed slavery. He was mayor of Minden too for a single one-year term from May 1855 to May 1856. Blackburn’s Minden Herald was published for about six years. It was not the first newspaper in Minden. That distinction went to the former Minden Iris, which emerged in the founding of neighboring Bienville Parish in 1848.
The Minden political climate shifted to favor the Know Nothing Party, which repudiated "non-native" ideas, and Blackburn moved to Homer to establish his Homer Iliad. During the American Civil War, Blackburn published in opposition to the Confederate States of America. Tried in Confederate District Court in Shreveport, Blackburn survived conviction by a single vote on charges of having produced counterfeit Confederate currency. Had the verdict been unanimous, he would have been hanged. Blackburn remained in Homer during the Reconstruction era and served in the United States House of Representatives as a Republican from 1868 to 1869. Thereafter, he was a member of the Louisiana State Senate until he was defeated in 1878 by the emerging Redeemer Democratic government. Blackburn relocated to Little Rock, where he published the Arkansas Republican.
Harper Brothers and Lowe
The name Minden Herald was revived briefly during Reconstruction, but few, if any, issues of the newspaper are extant. A quotation from the Shreveport Times, which began publication in 1871, refers in 1872 to the existence of the Minden Herald. A later Minden Herald appeared in 1924 under the direction of printer Clifton Harper (1902–1982), a native of Mississippi. Harper attended Minden High School and worked at another publication called the Webster Signal, published by Thomas Wafer Fuller, a member of the Louisiana State Senate from 1896 to 1900 and a Webster Parish school superintendent from 1908 to 1920. After Fuller's death in 1920, his widow, the former Alma Bright, continued publishing The Signal for several years thereafter. Clifton Harper studied printing under the direction of his brother, William Harper. He worked for a competitor of the Webster Signal, the new Minden Tribune, edited for a time by J. Frank Colbert, a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1920–1925 and the mayor of Minden from 1944 to 1946.
Clifton Harper left Minden in 1924 to attend Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He and his wife, the former Myrtle Buckley (1904–1990), both completed their degrees in business administration and journalism and returned to Minden, where Clifton’s brothers, William Harper (1894–1971) and Clinton Harper (1904–1978), along with Prentiss W. Lowe (1905-1992) began their Webster Sentinel in October 1928. Clifton Harper joined the paper as editor.
Clifton Harper started the Minden Press on November 17, 1949 and remained publisher until 1956, when he sold the publication.
On November 14, 1929, the name Minden Herald was restored; therefore, the Harper brothers and Prentiss Lowe were the fathers of the "Herald" half of the Minden Press-Herald. At the time, the Webster Sentinel explained that the resumption of the name Minden Herald was intended to clear up confusion over another journal, the Webster Signal-Tribune, which had begun in 1926, when the Webster Signal merged with the Minden Tribune.
The Spivas’ Webster Printing Company
Under Harper’s leadership, the weekly Minden Herald was published on Friday. His editorials called for economic growth and modernization. Harper Brothers and Lowe acquired ownership of the other local paper, the Signal-Tribune, published on Tuesday. In February 1932, the Minden Herald purchased the Webster News and changed its name to the Minden Herald and Webster News published as a single newspaper. This arrangement continued until April 1937, when the Harper Brothers left the local newspaper market, and the papers were sold to the Webster Printing Company, owned by Hubert Spiva and Lilla Stewart Spiva. Hubert Spiva was a veteran newspaperman and his wife, Lilla, daughter of Daniel W. Stewart of Minden, had experience in journalism. The new company ceased publication of the Signal-Tribune and instead issued the Webster News as a separate paper on Tuesday.
Through the 1940s, Webster Printing and the Spivas had sole control of the Minden newspaper market. After Hubert Spiva's death, his widow, Lilla, continued to run the corporation. In 1949, she was the only woman representative from Louisiana at the annual meeting of the National Editorial Association in Chicago, Illinois.
In 1949, Clifton Harper returned to the local newspaper scene with his new Minden Press. He engaged in an aggressive marketing campaign and moved his publication to Thursday to have a day’s advantage on the Minden Herald. For a time, Minden was again served by three local papers: the Minden News on Monday, the Minden Press on Thursday, and the Minden Herald on Friday.
Emergence of the Press-Herald
In January 1953, the Webster News was renamed the Webster Review and then, in October 1954, the Webster Review and the Minden Herald were consolidated into a single publication issued on Thursday in competition with the Minden Press on Monday. This change came at the same time that Major dePingre (1928–2007), a Leesville native and a Louisiana State University graduate, was hired as editor of the latest Minden Herald. In December 1955, Webster Newspapers Corporation was formed under the direction of Tom Colten, a Detroit native, who arrived in Minden from Bogalusa, where he had been business manager of the Bogalusa Daily News. Webster Newspapers purchased the Minden Press from Harper and the Minden Herald from Mrs. Spiva and combined the newspapers under the long-anticipated Minden Press-Herald name. DePingre was named editor of both the Minden Press (Monday) and the Minden Herald (Thursday). Colten served as publisher of both papers beginning with the January 1956 issues.
In 1989, the Louisiana Press Association presented The Press-Herald with the annual "Freedom of Information Award" for the year 1988 for the work undertaken by the editorial staff in keeping the City of Minden from closing meetings and records from the public. During this time in city history, there was an intense investigations into activities of the mayor, Noel "Gene" Byars, who was recalled from office in January 1989 and subsequently convicted in the 26th Judicial Court of felony theft. In the summer of 1988, Byars ordered municipal employees not to meet with the news media without first consulting him.
Specht Newspapers, Inc.
In 1965, Colten sold the newspapers to Richard Hill. Colten instead became the executive director of the Minden Chamber of Commerce and was elected the next year as mayor, having served two consecutive four-year terms. While Colten had hoped to establish a daily newspaper, that change did not occur until July 18, 1966, when the current Minden Press-Herald made its debut. The Press-Herald was sold to Specht Newspapers, Inc., which publishes the newspaper at 203 Gleason Street in Minden, the site of a former grocery store, along with the Bossier Press-Tribune, a Monday-Friday afternoon newspaper in Bossier City. Chipley Newspapers of Pensacola, Florida, is a subsidiary of Specht Newspapers.
Specht Newspapers was headed by David Arthur Specht, Sr. (October 29, 1945–April 14, 2011), a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A son of the late Arthur and Mary Specht, David Specht moved to Minden in 1968 and became the publisher and eventually owner of the Minden Press-Herald. Specht thereafter spent several years publishing newspapers in Alabama, Kentucky, and Florida, before he founded Specht Newspapers, Inc., in 1983.
Specht also owned Webster Printing Company in Minden. He died at the age of sixty-five after a lengthy illness. Specht was survived by his wife, the former Cheryl Milford of Minden; a son, David A. Specht, Jr., of Minden, the current president of Specht Newspapers, Inc., and his wife, Tina Specht; two grandsons, Zachary and Joshua Specht; sister, Melanie Montgomery of Tallahassee, Florida, and brother, William Specht of Shreveport.
Divisions of the Press-Herald
The Minden Press-Herald is divided into these sections:
Good News (includes religion)
The Press-Herald's online version www.press-herald.com requires subscription for full use.
Current and former Press-Herald staffers
- John Agan (born 1958) is the former author of "Echoes of the Past", a periodic column on local and state history, much of it from the 19th century. He is a professor at Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City and the official Webster Parish historian.
- Juanita Agan (1923–2008) wrote a periodic column "Cameos", which focuses on "older times" of Americana. In 2013, The Press-Herald began repeated selected past Juanita Agan columns.
- Josh Beavers (born c. 1979), former publisher and editor, resigned 2014. A native of Claiborne Parish, Beavers was born to Dwight Alan Beavers (1948–2008; drowning victim) and the former Sheila McKenzie; in 2013, he had been named vice president of Specht Newspapers, Inc.
- Derwood Alexander Brett (born 1947), originally from Camden, Arkansas, reared in Farmerville, Louisiana; advertising director in the early 1970s; publisher in the early 1990s, resident of Mt. Ida in Montgomery County, Arkansas
- Jerry Byrd, sports editor c. 1992; joined The Press-Herald after having written 2,131 consecutive columns for the defunct Shreveport Journal, later sports editor for Bossier Press-Tribune
- Gene Clark (born 1935), originally from Franklin Parish, became managing editor in February 1974, having previously been at the Denham Springs News in Denham Springs in Livingston Parish. He had earlier worked at the Press-Herald sports desk.
- Barbara Colley, romance and mystery novelist based in the New Orleans metro area, once edited the advertising section of the Press-Herald.
- Bonnie Jean Culverhouse, formerly Bonnie Koskie (born 1955), is the current managing editor.
- John Paschal "Pat" Culverhouse (born 1946) is the former sportswriter, advertising director, city editor, and managing editor.
- Wayne E. Dring (born June 22, 1940), former advertising director and managing editor of the Press-Herald during the early 1970s; formerly editor of the weekly The Bienville Democrat in Arcadia in Bienville Parish.
- Bruce Franklin is the online editor and handles all digital content.
- David Kidd (born 1951), sports editor in 1973, was a champion track runner at Westlake High School in Westlake in Calcasieu Parish and at Louisiana Tech University
- Charles E. Maple (1932-2006), news editor of weekly Minden Press and Minden Herald, 1960-1966, later chamber of commerce executive director
- Marilyn Miller, a former Press-Herald executive director, is an industry public relations representative and the author of Sons of Darkness, Sons of Light: A True Crime Story based on a crime in Webster Parish which occurred on Christmas 1916.
- Nody Parker (1943–2007) was sports editor of the Press-Herald in the early 1970s and an area baseball coach. He had a second career in education in Texas.
- Gregg Earl Parks (born c. 1965), new publisher; former sports editor
- Stanley R. Tiner, the executive editor of The Sun Herald in Biloxi-Gulfport, Mississippi. Tiner, a Shreveport native and graduate of the journalism department at Louisiana Tech University, was the managing editor of the Press-Herald from September 1969 to March 1970.
- Joey White, sports editor and managing editor, 1977 to 1986
- Minden Press-Herald, March 23, 1986
- John Agan, "Minden Press-Herald story goes back more than 150 years", Minden Press-Herald, 2007
- BLACKBURN, William Jasper - Biographical Information
- "Official Returns Given for Minden Primary Election", Minden Herald, April 14, 1944, p. 1
- "Clifton Harper services today", Minden Press-Herald, May 5, 1982, p. 1
- "Minden Publisher Attends National Press Convention," Minden Herald and Webster News, November 11, 1949, p. 1
- Minden Press-Herald, April 16, 1989, p. 1
- Sonny Jeane, "Mayor orders city employees not to meet with news media", Minden Press-Herald, July 24, 1988, p. 1
- "David A. Specht, Sr.". Shreveport Times. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
- "My Time Here Has Ended", Minden Press-Herald, July 18, 2014
- Minden Press-Herald, April 9, 2013
- "Brett new Press-Herald publisher", Minden Press-Herald, September 19, 1990, p. 1
- "Byrd named sports editor", Minden Press-Herald, June 30, 1991, p. 1
- "Press-Herald" Appoints Clark Managing Editor", Minden Press-Herald, February 5, 1974, p. 1
- Minden Press-Herald, March 15, 1990, p. 1
- Net Detective, People Search
- "Press-Herald Names Sports Editor", Minden Press-Herald, June 12, 1973, p. 1
- Marilyn Miller, Sons of Darkness, Sons of Light, a True Crime Story, Many, Louisiana: Sweet Dreams Publishing Company, 2000 ISBN 1-893693-09-0
- "Press-Herald staffer takes AL post", Minden Press-Herald, January 15, 1988, p. 1