Minden Press-Herald

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The Minden Press-Herald building opened in March 1986 on Gleason Street in downtown Minden, Louisiana, in a renovated former grocery store building.[1]

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 first newspaper by this name in Minden was founded in 1849. The newspaper has evolved through many manifestations. It did not emerge again under this name until 1966. In 1989, the Louisiana Press Association presented The Press-Herald with the annual "Freedom of Information Award" for its work the previous year in maintaining public access to city meetings and records.

Original Minden Herald[edit]

The earliest use of the name Minden Herald dates to 1849. William Jasper Blackburn, an Arkansas native and publisher, settled in Minden before the Civil War and started the newspaper. Minden was then a part of Claiborne Parish. He was a Democrat, a Unionist, and had opposed slavery. He served as mayor of Minden for a single one-year term from May 1855 to May 1856. Blackburn published his Minden Herald for about six years. It was not the first newspaper in Minden. That distinction was held by the former Minden Iris, which was established in 1848 at the same time as the founding of neighboring Bienville Parish.[2] When the Minden political climate shifted to favor the Know Nothing Party, which repudiated "non-native" ideas, Blackburn moved to Homer, where he founded the Homer Iliad newspaper.[2]

Harper Brothers and Lowe[edit]

The name The Minden Herald was revived briefly during Reconstruction, but few, if any, issues of the newspaper of that period are extant. A quotation from the Shreveport Times, which began publication in 1871, refers in 1872 to The Minden Herald.

A later The Minden Herald was published in 1924 under the direction of printer Clifton Harper (1902–1982), a native of Mississippi. Harper had attended Minden High School and also worked at another publication called The Webster Signal. The Signal was published by Thomas Wafer Fuller, who served as a member of the Louisiana State Senate from 1896 to 1900 and as Webster Parish school superintendent from 1908 to 1920.

Clifton Harper studied printing under the direction of his brother, William Harper. He worked for the new Minden Tribune, edited for a time by J. Frank Colbert. The latter later served as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1920–1925, and the mayor of Minden for a single two-year term from 1944 to 1946.[3]

Clifton Harper left Minden in 1924 to attend Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and then Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Harper and his wife, the former Myrtle Buckley (1904–1990), both completed their degrees in business administration and journalism, and returned to Minden. Clifton’s brothers, William Harper (1894–1971) and Clinton Harper (1904–1978), along with Prentiss Winifred Lowe (1905-1992), had founded The Webster Sentinel there in October 1928. Clifton Harper joined the paper as editor.[2]

On November 14, 1929, the name Minden Herald was restored by the Harper brothers and Lowe, the fathers of "The Herald" half of the Minden Press-Herald. They restored the name Minden Herald in order to clear up confusion over another journal, The Webster Signal-Tribune, which had started in 1926, after The Webster Signal merged with The Minden Tribune.[2]

In May 1936, The Herald was voted the best newspaper in Louisiana by a panel that included the journalist and State Representative Rupert Peyton of Shreveport. At the time The Herald carried no "boiler-plate" news but only original local reporting. It was cited for layout, news, and editorials.[4]

On November 17, 1949, Clifton Harper started The Minden Press and remained its publisher until 1956, when he sold the publication.[5] For eight years he taught at the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, named for Henry W. Grady and located at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.[5]

Spivas’ Webster Printing Company[edit]

Harper had published the weekly The Minden Herald 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.

The papers were acquired by the Webster Printing Company, owned by Hubert Spiva (1899-1939) and his wife, the former Lilla Ellenor Stewart (1906-1959). Spiva was a veteran newspaperman and Lilla also had experience in journalism. She was the daughter of attorney Daniel W. Stewart, Sr. and his wife of Minden. The new company ceased publication of The Signal-Tribune and issued The Webster News as a separate paper on Tuesday.[2]

After Hubert Spiva died in 1939, Webster Printing and Lilla Spiva had sole control of the Minden newspaper market through the 1940s. In 1949, she was the only woman publisher (and representative in any role) from Louisiana at the annual meeting of the National Editorial Association in Chicago, Illinois.[6]

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 weekly publication to Thursday, in order to have a day’s advantage over the Minden Herald. For a time, Minden was served by three local papers: the Minden News on Monday, the Minden Press on Thursday, and the Minden Herald on Friday.[2]

Emergence of the Press-Herald[edit]

In January 1953, The Webster News was renamed The Webster Review. In October 1954, Lilla Spiva combined The Webster Review and the Minden Herald into a single publication, known as the Minden Herald, issued on Thursday in competition with The Minden Press on Monday. She hired Major dePingre (1928–2007), a Leesville native and a Louisiana State University graduate, as editor of this latest Minden Herald.

In December 1955, Webster Newspapers Corporation was formed under the direction of Tom Colten, a Detroit native, who moved to Minden from Bogalusa. There he had been business manager of the Bogalusa Daily News. After Webster Newspapers purchased The Minden Press from Harper and The Minden Herald from Lilla Spiva, it combined the newspapers under the 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.[2]

On January 17, 1969, publisher Richard Hill announced that The Press-Herald would convert three days later from hot metal to offset printing.[7][8] A few weeks later, Hill resigned as publisher and was succeeded by Tom Kelly, a native of Winn Parish. For the preceding seven years he had published the Ruston Daily Leader and was previously the managing editor of the Jennings Daily News in Jennings in Jefferson Davis Parish.[9]

In 1989, the Louisiana Press Association presented The Press-Herald with the annual "Freedom of Information Award" for the year 1988 in recognition of the editorial staff's achievement in preventing the City of Minden from closing its meetings or restricting records from public access. The late 1980s had been a time of intense investigations into activities of the mayor, Noel "Gene" Byars, who was recalled from office in January 1989. He was subsequently convicted in the 26th Judicial Court of felony theft.[10] In the summer of 1988, Byars had ordered municipal employees not to meet with the news media without first consulting him.[11]

Specht Newspapers, Inc.[edit]

In 1965, Colten sold the newspapers to Richard Hill. Colten became the executive director of the Minden Chamber of Commerce and was elected the next year as mayor, serving two consecutive four-year terms.

On July 18, 1966, Hill began to publish the Minden Press-Herald as a daily newspaper. He sold the Minden Press-Herald to Specht Newspapers, Inc. It publishes the newspaper at 203 Gleason Street in Minden, in a former grocery store, along with the Bossier Press-Tribune in Bossier City.[2] Chipley Newspapers of Pensacola, Florida, is a subsidiary of Specht Newspapers.[12]

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 advertising manager and soon thereafter the publisher[13] of The Minden Press-Herald. He eventually became the owner. Specht spent several years publishing newspapers in Alabama, Kentucky, and Florida, before he founded Specht Newspapers, Inc., in 1983.[14]

Specht also owned Webster Printing Company in Minden. He died at the age of sixty-five after a lengthy illness. He and his wife, the former Cheryl Mulford (1947-2016),[15] had sons, David A. Specht, Jr. and William Specht, and daughter, Melanie Specht.

Specht, Jr. is the current president of Specht Newspapers, Inc. He is married to Tina and they have two grandsons, Zachary and Joshua Specht.[14]

Divisions of the Press-Herald[edit]

The Minden Press-Herald is divided into:

  • Local News
  • Community News
  • Opinion
  • Sports
  • Obituaries
  • Good News (includes religion)
  • Classified

The Press-Herald's online version can be found at www.press-herald.com.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Minden Press-Herald, March 23, 1986
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h John Agan, "Minden Press-Herald story goes back more than 150 years", Minden Press-Herald, 2007
  3. ^ "Official Returns Given for Minden Primary Election", Minden Herald, April 14, 1944, p. 1
  4. ^ "Herald voted best in Louisiana", Minden Herald, May 8, 1936, p. 1
  5. ^ a b "Clifton Harper Services Today", The Minden Press-Herald, April 5, 1982, p. 1
  6. ^ "Minden Publisher Attends National Press Convention," The Minden Herald and Webster News, November 11, 1949, p. 1
  7. ^ "Press-Herald Goes Offset on Monday", Minden Press-Herald, January 17, 1969, p. 1
  8. ^ Minden Press-Herald, January 20, 1969, p. 1
  9. ^ "Tom Kelly Named Publisher", Minden Press-Herald, March 6, 1969, p. 1
  10. ^ Minden Press-Herald, April 16, 1989, p. 1
  11. ^ Sonny Jeane, "Mayor orders city employees not to meet with news media", The Minden Press-Herald, July 24, 1988, p. 1
  12. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-01-07. Retrieved 2008-05-27. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Specht Assumes Management of 'Press-Herald'", Minden Press-Herald, August 28, 1969, p. 1
  14. ^ a b "David A. Specht, Sr". Shreveport Times. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
  15. ^ "Cheryl Mulford Specht". The Shreveport Times. Retrieved March 10, 2016.