Times Online

The front page of our newspaper this week is not a mistake.

It’s an official announcement to you, our readers, that The Times of Houma-Thibodaux is expanding our coverage and is rolling out our new, digital platform — a model that will carry us into the future.

For years, we have heard from locals their desire to see more from our newspaper — more stories, more presence at community events, more coverage of the things that make the Houma-Thibodaux area great.

But we were hamstrung. We are confined to space limitations within our pages and tight deadlines, which limited how we worked, where we worked and how much we could do in a given week.

But now, those chains are off and we are free to answer the bell and do more.

Becoming a digital news source will allow us greater freedom to report on the things that matter most to our readers. We will be able to be quicker, more efficient in our coverage and our coverage base will grow wider than ever.

We understand that some in the community would prefer to have a physical, hard copy of a newspaper in their hands each week, and to those people, we apologize. But we also would like to invite those people to please visit www.houmatimes.com and see the vast array of stories that we populate daily to keep the community informed and up to date on everything that matters most to our people.

This is a decision that was made with careful planning throughout our entire staff, and we believe that it best fits the needs of our audience, which craves local news and has a thirst to stay informed.

The Times is a local newspaper, and local is the key word in that sentence.

We are locally owned — the only such newspaper in Terrebonne Parish.

We are locally managed — our entire newsroom is comprised of people who were born and raised in the Houma-Thibodaux area.

We live here. We work here. We have fun here. The issues that matter to you, matter to us, too, because we, too, are citizens in this wonderful community that we truly believe is one of the greatest places in the world to call home.

So, what should one expect to see during this change?

Well, for one, more of the things that are important in our area.

Our newsroom has a plan of action to report quicker and be more available when breaking news happens. We also will be involved more in covering what’s happening in local government, and we will remain 100 percent committed to heavily covering athletics in the area. That plan isn’t just idle words. You’ve seen it in action for the past several weeks on our social media accounts.

In addition to breaking news and day-to-day work, we’ve also made a commitment to be a news source for the common citizen. We strive to get more faces seen in more places. Through use of our Pick Six photo galleries and other online photo galleries, we’re putting an emphasis on showcasing the good things happening in our community.

We think it’s unfair that most common people are online in the news when they die or commit a crime. We seek to change that. We want to showcase the wonderful things you are doing to celebrate life in our community.

But, we want this to be a partnership with you, the public we serve.

The Times is officially calling on every, single person with a story to tell to reach out to us when it’s time to tell that story.

We want press releases — any and all. If we are not currently on your mailing list, please add us. Send to casey@rushing-media.com and also to mary@rushing-media.com.

If you see a ball team you’re proud of on social media celebrating a big win? Save the photo and send it to us. We’d love to have it. See someone in the community that wins an award or does a good deed? We want to know, because we want the public to know.

In expanding our coverage, we’re also expanding our team. In the coming weeks, we will be rolling out a plan to allow community members to submit content to be published. It’s a change and a new chapter for us, and we’re excited. We hope you can join in that excitement and be part of our new future.

So to everyone at home, we appreciate your kind words, love and support throughout the years.

After much thought, we’ve finally decided to put your suggestions to good use and invest further in our news coverage.

We can’t wait to put that into motion and do more to deliver to you — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days out of the year. •

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