Re: "What about the Newsboy" by Scott Loar:

A big kudos to Scott Loar for his op-ed piece concerning the Jasper (apparently, in name only, nowadays) weekly paper.

When a community loses its newspaper, it loses a central part of its identity. Community newspapers are a place to give voice to many: from elected officials and civic groups to, most importantly: the reader.

Strong local newspapers have helped encourage and drive economic development within areas where it has been greatly needed.

Although I grew up in Tyler County, I grew up reading the Newsboy, as it was a supplement in our Sunday edition of the Beaumont Enterprise, and in the glory days of Willis Webb's direction it was a sterling example of what a strong community-minded newspaper could be.

It's not too late to save the Newsboy, and Mr. Loar's op-ed should be a word of warning, as much as it is an encouragement, for community newspapers to strive to serve their respective communities.

Chris Edwards

Original editorial written by Scott Loar regarding the Jasper Newsboy:

One of the things that has always been special about small towns is the local paper. It was usually a weekly or twice-a-week paper that covered all the local events and happenings in the community. You could find out about a local business opening, the high school sports teams’ latest game or even a civic group gathering for a monthly meeting. You could not wait to get your hands on the newest edition so you would know what was going on. However something has happened in Jasper, and now you just cannot find anything local in the Jasper Newsboy.

The last two issues of the Newsboy, dated April 26th and May 3rd, are the most recent examples that local is not really local. In the April 26th edition, there was a story about the candidates in the local upcoming Jasper City Council Election, but the information was supplied by the candidates and one of the front page photos has the wrong name under it. One thing that is missing is the biggest story that has hit Jasper in some time; the shooting of 11 students at a party after the Jasper High School Prom that occurred in the early morning hours of Sunday, April 23rd.

The story on the shooting was not in the April 26th paper and it is not in the May 3rd paper either. This story received national attention from papers in New York, Los Angeles, and several national television outlets, but in two papers that have come out since the shooting, still not a word in the Newsboy. There have been two press conferences by law enforcement, there have been mug shots released, two suspects have been extradited from Louisiana, and two other suspects have been arraigned with $4 million bonds set on both. Still, not a word about the incident in the Jasper Newsboy!

The Jasper Newsboy is the oldest continuously printed weekly newspaper in the State of Texas. It is owned by the Hearst Corporation, one of the nation’s largest media concerns. But the Newsboy has no local staff, no one gathering news, no one calling on businesses to sell advertising, no office where you can place a classified, drop off a legal notice, or conduct any other business. All the business affairs for the Newsboy are handled by the Beaumont Enterprise or the Houston Chronicle.

The Newsboy once was a great paper that had a legacy of hard hitting journalism and a willingness to go get the news. Advertisers wanted ads in the paper since they knew people were reading it each and every week. This reporter must confess that I once worked for the Newsboy and, in fact, I was the last local person working for the Newsboy other than a handful of carriers. For anyone like me who loves newspapers, it is a shame that the Newsboy has become what it has become. It is now only a newspaper where you will find stories that are regional in nature, possibly reprinted from earlier Beaumont Enterprise papers, or from a small number of contributors from this area. does provide news that is focused on Jasper and then reaches out to the larger area. But even KJAS owner Mike Lout often says, when the Newsboy was really a paper it made him a better news man, “They made me work harder to get and report the news, and I miss that!”

Scott Loar