- Will Broyles
Sadly, this week saw something totally expected, but alarming. The Times headquarters now dons U-Haul logo signage on its facade, as well as a new LED “Open” sign inviting customers of U-Haul into the building for trade. As of now, the Shreveport Times has not notified the public as to what their plan is in preserving their bound original newspaper prints that date back to the early 1870’s.
We originally reported this issue in a report (here) back in early November. Now, in mid-December, it is becoming more and more likely that these assets of Shreveport history, owned by the Times, is likely to be carelessly disposed of or stored away until they are a distant memory and safe for the mega-corporation, Gannett, to toss.
Gannett did have at least one offer to have this writer preserve the documents and maintain access in perpetuity to the Times. After initially accepting that offer, the Times reneged and claimed these bound prints were “assets” they actually wanted to keep. Several months later, the Times now must be content to ignore concerns from the public regarding these original papers and hope the issue will simply go away, or literally be U-Hauled off as major renovations to the building are currently under way. As of this past weekend, insiders confirmed that the archived original papers were still unmoved near the current renovations.
What does this mean for a once-proud newspaper and a once-proud city? Our city obviously loses should the only visible path play to its end (as it has the entire year that the Times could have made a plan). This also cements the reality that while print news media still fights for its life across our country, our local paper is basically dead and gone. Gone are the days of actual investigative journalism, and reporters and top staff alike (outside of the sports page) have little tenure and a cursory context to the goings on of our community. Often, those who remain to read for the scraps of news available must overcome the tsunami of unchecked press releases from local government, press releases touting the majesty of the Community Foundation, clickbait stories intended to draw shallow attention and mountains of coupons.
What matters here is that when we did have a real newspaper, it served this community. The Times has largely ceased serving the interest of the community for quite some time now, but even those of us who watch happenings in our community are shocked that they’d so carelessly regard the original prints, symbolic of their former glory.
Shreveport needs a watchdog newspaper as our corrupt governmental bodies spiral the drain at the city and parish levels. Such a newspaper could make major impacts in helping clean up our governmental messes of lack of transparency and accountability. Instead, our newspaper is literally vacating so that a city spiraling out of control can more conveniently haul their lives and materials away from our beloved home.