WRIGHT HERE: History of newspaper – Austin American-Statesman

By now, most of you have probably heard about the Advertiser’s impending move.

There is a ton of colorful history in the background of this newspaper – and for a good community newspaper, that’s how it should be.

Part of the history of this newspaper – which has been around for 161 years now – is a history of travel.

We’ve been in this lovely old Laundromat (yes, it is capitalized; go figure) for 34 years. In researching the history of the paper and its various moves (with huge shouts out to Ken Kesselus and county clerk employee Carol Rice), 34 years seems to be about the average length of stay in any one place.

We’ve been aware for a fairly long time that the city of Bastrop wants this piece of property in order to expand downtown parking options.

But it’s not really a case of, as Joni Mitchell said, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” We aren’t going to be having a duel at dawn with me and city manager Mike Talbot facing off (now that picture should bring a grin to your face).

Yes, there are a lot of pros for us as a newspaper in this location. We want to be downtown and close to the courthouse. We’ve been here long enough now that everybody knows where we are. And who can forgot the fun and exciting election-night return parties in the parking lot. If you’ve never been to one, you have missed out.

There are some cons. It is an old Laundromat with one small bathroom and birds in the ceiling.

But in the overall scheme of things, it’s an amicable negotiation between two entities. Yes, the city officials pulled out the eminent-domain card, mainly because their collective hand was being forced by decisions at the state level out of their control. I’ve personally talked to several of the council members who’ve expressed sincere regret that it needed to be done. I can’t speak for the decision-making process on our end, except to say that the Advertiser is a business – and the decisions that are made on our behalf are made due to sound and experienced business practices.

Leaving our longtime home will be bittersweet. Although I never had the privilege of working side-by-side with longtime editor and local legend Davis McAuley, his presence in this building and the precedents he set for good journalistic standards can still be felt. The walls are lined with awards this newspaper has garnered for many years. Pictures and memorabilia are tacked up on the walls all through the place. They speak of the many years people have practiced the craft of community journalism within these walls.

Soon, we will embark on setting new traditions in a “new” place. It’s exciting in a way, and it is an established part of our ongoing history in this community. As soon as we find a new home and get settled, we’ll throw a big party and invite y’all in for a good, old-fashioned Bastrop housewarming, so get ready!


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