Get The Town Talk Alexandria essential facts below. View Videos or join the The Town Talk Alexandria discussion. Add The Town Talk Alexandria to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
The daily newspaper has a circulation of some 19,500 daily and 27,500 on Sundays. It covers the news primarily in seven parishes with a population of approximately 400,000. The coverage area reaches from the Mississippi River on the east to the Texas border on the west.
In 1962, Joe D. Smith, Jr. (1922-2008) became publisher of The Town Talk. He was the husband of Jane Wilson Smith (1922-1992), a McCormick heir whose family owned the newspaper. Over the years, Smith was also the general manager, president, and chairman of the board. Under his tutelage, The Town Talk became the first daily newspaper in Louisiana to become computerized. He took the view that newspapers were expected to foster growth and improvement in the community as well as report the news. Some four years after the death of Jane Smith, Smith sold to Central Newspapers for $62 million.
On the acquisition of The Town Talk, Louis A. Weil III, Central Newspapers' chief executive officer, said that under Smith's leadership, "the newspaper has become one of the premier medium-sized dailies in the South. It fits with our goal of acquiring newspaper properties with a strong position in their market area and a proven history of journalistic integrity." Weil's analysis was in sharp contrast to that of Adras LaBorde, who in 1945 launched a 32-year career with the newspaper. At the time, LaBorde described The Town Talk as "an overgrown country weekly published on a six-day basis." The publication had indeed changed little in the years between 1925 and 1945.
Other key members of the news and editorial staff, as of 2009, include: Richard Powell Sharkey, assistant managing editor for news and features; John Marcase, assistant managing editor for news and sports; Cynthia Jardon, editorial page editor and social media editor; Mandy M. Goodnight, news editor; and Randall Benson, sports editor.
The building in which The Town Talk has been housed since 1982 is owned and largely occupied by the companies of Ken and Charlotte Wasmer, who bought the structure in September 2015 and spent more than a year in remodeling. An upstairs of some six thousand square feet will be leased to another tenant. News director Jim Smilie noted that the newspaper throughout its history had always been located in the downtown Alexandria area and would remain at that preferred location.
Beginning April 5, 2017, The Town Talk will reduce its printed editions from seven to three days per week. Hard copies will be delivered henceforth only on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. The change is being undertaken because far more read the newspaper on-line than depend on actual deliveries. Judi Terzotis, the president of The Town Talk, said that the change is driven by both customers and advertisers. The Town Talk has eight times more digital reader than print readers. In 2016, the publication had 3.4 million visitors and 22 million page views.
Ira Wallace Anthony (1936-2010) -- wire services editor and copy editor from 1963 to 2007
James R. "Jim" Butler, Jr. -- former managing editor; later editor of The Eunice News in Eunice, Louisiana
William F. "Bill" Carter (1928-1995) -- sports editor in second half of 20th century
William Chaze -- Associated Press Washington editor, correspondent; senior editor US News and World Report; foreign news editor, consultant Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.
Helen Derr (1918-2011) -- religion editor, 1955-1977
Ronald R. Grant -- former state (regional) editor and editorial page editor
Chanan Gerald Hambleton (1935-2012) -- Town Talk reporter, president of Alexandria Press Club, and later news director for KSYL Radio and a consultant for the Rapides Parish Police Jury
Tom J. Hardin -- executive under Joe D. Smith, Jr., and publisher under Central Newspapers ownership
Mike Hasten -- Capitol reporter in Baton Rouge
Chet Hilburn -- reporter, later with Houston Chronicle, author of The Mystique of Tiger Stadium: 25 Greatest Games: The Ascension of LSU Football (2012)
Ethel G. Holleman (died 1979) -- women's editor in 1960s and 1970s
Leandro Sarchielli Huebner -- former senior photographer and photo editor from 1987 to 2007. Initiated the first total digital darkroom for a newspaper in Louisiana. Worked at The Town Talk from 1973 until retirement in 2012.
James Henry "Jim" Leggett -- former political reporter and editorial page editor
Elizabeth Roberts Martin -- first woman in an editor's position; named president of the Louisiana Press Women in 1974
Bret H. McCormick -- former news and sports reporter; sports editor since 2013
Marilyn Miller -- later industrial public relations representative in Minden and the author of Sons of Darkness, Sons of Light: A True Crime Story based on a crime in Webster Parish on Christmas 1916.
Roy Winfred Pitchford (1943-2017) -- former business editor of The Town Talk; former bureau chief at the Baton Rouge Advocate in his native Baton Rouge; formerly with the El Dorado News-Times in El Dorado, Arkansas, and a Southern Baptist pastor.
Len Sanderson, Jr. -- first director of The Town Talk's Baton Rouge bureau, 1974; chief of staff to Governor Roemer (1988); later a business consultant