man sitting on bench reading newspaper

Service to the community, people, and freedom of the press go hand-in-hand

As I was cleaning out some old items from my office shelf recently, I stumbled upon an old edition of the Minden Press-Herald, a newspaper that has been a cherished part of my family’s history for four generations. This particular edition was a commemorative one, celebrating the grand opening of the newspaper’s new facility in 1986. As I pored over the yellowed pages from yesteryear, one headline in particular caught my eye: “Spechts believe newspaper should serve readers and that’s what they aim to do…”

The story featured quotes from my grandfather, Arthur, and my uncle, Bill, who played pivotal roles in steering our family’s beloved “flagship” newspaper during the late 70s and throughout the 80s. My father had hired, and then partnered with them to run the business.

The article not only delved into their contributions to the newspaper but also shed light on their involvement in the local community, painting a vivid picture of the era.

While the trip down memory lane was heartwarming, it was their words that resonated most with me. Bill’s perspective on the newspaper business’s role in community-building was profound, echoing the sentiments of many journalists even today. “The newspaper business allows you to become involved in building a better community,” Bill had remarked. “In addition, there is pride you can have in keeping alive and protecting the freedom of the press, which has been with us since the founding of our country.”

Arthur, on the other hand, emphasized the importance of people within the organization. He stated, “We are a close working family of people who care for each other. Each day there is something new — and a different challenge. It is interesting to see how our people meet these new challenges.” This emphasis on teamwork and adaptability is still a cornerstone of successful businesses today.

These two core values – community service and nurturing individuals – are just as relevant in today’s world as they were in 1986. It’s a testament to the enduring strength of principles that withstand the test of time, even as the methods and execution of businesses evolve.

In 1986, my grandfather, Arthur, shared his vision for the newspaper’s future. “I don’t get concerned about building the business,” he said. “My biggest concern is building our people — and the business will build itself.” More than 38 years have passed since those words were spoken, and the Minden Press-Herald continues to endure, weathering numerous economic and market conditions. It’s clear that these values, centered around community service and the growth of individuals, have been the bedrock of our newspaper’s ongoing impact.

In today’s rapidly changing media landscape, these values are more critical than ever. Community newspapers, as well as larger media organizations, must remain committed to serving their readers and upholding the principles of a free press. The challenges have evolved with technology and the way information is disseminated, but the core mission remains the same – to inform, engage, and empower communities.

In a world marked by shifting tides and constant change, the enduring wisdom of my grandfather and uncle serves as a reminder that the values we hold dear can be our guiding light. The Minden Press-Herald’s, along with the Bossier Press-Tribune’s, and BIZ Magazine’s continued service to its community is a testament to the lasting power of these values, and a source of inspiration for all of us, as we navigate the challenges and opportunities of today’s world.