OUR VIEW: Happy Birthday to Us!

Twenty-one years ago this week, a small start-up weekly hit local news stands, promising a focus on business news in the parishes of Terrebonne, Lafourche and St. Mary parishes.

This first incarnation – titled South Louisiana BusinessNews” – grew in circulation and mission, guided by founders Pam and Darrin Guidry. The name was changed to “Tri-Parish Times,” keeping the initial geographic focus, but building a staff capable of covering government, entertainment and other areas of interest to readers. Change was afoot in 2014, when the Guidrys sold the paper to its current publisher, Brian Rushing. Publisher of The Weekly – a classified ad driven publication – and Pointe of Vue, a slick, glossy monthly magazine, Brian rose to the challenge of giving readers something new which was also anchored in the familiar. The Times was no longer focused on stretching scarce resources across three parishes, concentrating instead on Houma, Thibodaux and surrounding communities.

Now, on the newspaper’s 21st birthday, we wish to express our thanks and appreciation to everyone who has stood by Houma and Thibodaux’s only completely locally owned newspaper.

Without readers to serve we are nowhere and nothing.

Our mission is to provide to you on multiple platforms news you can use, that will enhance your ability to see the community that is yours. Unlike larger operations that publish on a daily basis, we must be highly selective with our content, pulling only what we think are the most important events that we have access to, both from a traditional news perspective as well as lighter topics.

In this issue we feature information on a recent election, give voice to a community whose residents say losing a bridge across a bayou for three weeks will endanger them, and what may be the closing chapter in a long-running lawsuit in federal court. We also know the place in the heart that the performance of our local school teams has for many people – not just parents or students – and so endeavor to give you the best we can from that world.

Knowing that the printed page has limitations and being full aware of the tremendous opportunities for readers and advertisers through our electronic options, The Times has been working hard at bringing more to readers online.

There is a difficult dilemma that we find ourselves in, however. While we keep out internet services free – they range from newsletters to the website to stories shared through our Facebook page – our ability to function as a bona fide newspaper requires us to keep statistics on readership, specifically subscriptions.

Therefore we want readers of our print version to know that we appreciate you, whether you obtain The Times for a quarter from a newsstand, or subscribe by mail for a mere $9.95 per year, that we appreciate what you do for us. Your subscription, and the subscriptions of other neighbors, make a difference for us. We hope that you continue to show your support in this way.

Meanwhile we plan to keep our promise to you, our readers, by supplying you with the best content available, seeking to publish stories that matter.

Want to see more of some things and less of others? Call us at 985-868-7515 and ask for our newsroom. Give us tips. We try to have eyes in a lot of places but having extra help from readers allows us to know that much more, and to share that much more.

Finally, we wish to say a word about community newspapers in general. Living in a world that is ever-more polarized it is easy for readers to mistake news for opinion and opinion for news. Our opinion pages are clearly marked as such. If you disagree with how a story was covered, or feel that enough voices were not heard, please write to us. Send us a guest column or a letter to the editor.

In a free society it is the exchange of ideas of all types that keep us free, not a shut-down of one side or another in any discussion. You can keep discussions going strong and healthy by expressing your opinion. We want to hear it and we want to publish it. And we look forward to serving you for another 21 years to come, and even longer beyond that.