One long-time Minden Press-Herald staffer is stepping down to pursue a dream and another will be stepping up to take his place.
Josh Beavers has announced he is leaving the publisher's post and long-time sports editor, Gregg Parks, has been named to take the reins of the local daily newspaper, says David Specht Jr., owner and president of Specht Newspapers, Inc.
"It has been my privilege to call Josh more than a colleague, but a friend," Specht said. "He embraced the community of Minden and the Press-Herald from day one. We are a better company because of his involvement."
Beavers said he is leaving the Press-Herald to a career "that has long been a passion." He will join the Webster Parish school system as an English teacher at Lakeside High School.
"For a long time I have wanted to give back by making a real difference in the lives of our children," Beavers said. "Education has long been a passion of mine. It is a field I wanted to enter during my university days and in years since. However, for one reason or another, I kept putting my desire on hold. At long last, I have decided to pursue that passion."
"As Josh embarks on this new journey in his life, we share his excitement and know he will have a positive impact on the lives of many young people," Specht said. "We wish him much success."
The Press-Herald will now move into the next phase under Parks' leadership.
"Gregg Parks is more than just a capable leader, he has a heart for Minden," Specht said. "With him as publisher, the Press-Herald will continue to lead the way for not only the community but the newspaper industry as a whole. We are truly blessed to have someone like Gregg ready to step into the role of publisher."
Parks began his newspaper career at the Press-Herald in 2002, assisting in the sports department before being named sports editor just a few months later.
"I didn't have any newspaper experience before coming to the Press-Herald," Parks said. "I have to thank Josh Beavers for giving me a chance. My time here at the paper has taught me a lot. Josh has given me so much help in the past and continues to do so."
Parks said the newspaper industry as a whole is in constant flux, but he sees good things ahead for the Press-Herald.
"Bigger newspapers are facing changes and some have even gone out of business," he said. "But I see a bright future for community papers like the Minden Press-Herald. We report on world events, but our focus is news here at home that affects our family and friends. People will always want their hometown news."
New management often means new direction and change. Parks said he doesn't anticipate drastic differences at the Press-Herald.
"I don't see anything drastic. Josh did such a wonderful job here, why would I mess with success," he said. "But we will evolve and improve when we see the chance. We will be looking to improve our online presence while continuing to provide the best daily newspaper coverage we can."
Parks said his transition into the publisher's chair will be made easier by the staff already in place at the paper.
"Without a doubt, the main reason I feel confident in taking this job is because of the staff we have here. I can say with conviction that this is the best group of people I have ever worked with. From top to bottom, everyone here does their job in a professional manner and I have complete confidence they have my back, as I do their's," Parks said.
"I want to thank Dave Specht for giving me this opportunity and Josh Beavers for his help, leadership and friendship that has helped lead me here. I feel if I can do half the job Josh did here, I'll be fine," he added.
While Parks assumes the publisher's role, former Press-Herald freelance writer Blake Branch comes on board as sports writer and general assignment reporter.
"Blake has interned here and has covered Glenbrook sports for us in the past," Parks said. "I know he will do a good job in that position."