By Malcolm Butler
It’s been almost two years since Kyle and Judith Roberts and I collectively made the decision to become the faces and voices of the Lincoln Parish Journal.
Sometimes we make good decisions in life and sometimes maybe not. This was a great decision, and we haven’t looked back.
In July of 2021, I approached Kyle and Judith — I probably should say Judith and Kyle since she really runs the show; we just say “yes ma’am” — about the idea of becoming the publishers of the free, online-only media outlet that was less than 6-months old at the time.
It made sense to all three of us. And yet, it took a leap of faith by us as well.
Funny how God works sometimes.
We signed the agreement in late August, and on September 1 of 2021, we took over this endeavor. We felt our trifecta had the intangibles to lead the Lincoln Parish Journal based off our backgrounds.
Kyle and I are lifelong Ruston natives. Judith has lived in Ruston since enrolling at Louisiana Tech more than 20 years ago. Between the three of us we have more than 110 years in this community.
All three of us are proud Louisiana Tech graduates. In fact, Wiley Hilburn disciples from the Tech School of Journalism. And anyone who has lived in our wonderful community for any length of time knows the impact that Mr. Hilburn had on our area. And we know the impact he had on us.
And anyone who is a Wiley Hilburn disciple is a PROUD Wiley Hilburn disciple. Bottom line: we know our way around the ever-changing world of journalism, and from a number of different angles.
Judith has taught in the Tech communications department for more than a decade. Kyle has a strong background in marketing working for more than 10 years in that field. And I have more than two decades working in the athletic communications department at Louisiana Tech.
The three of us have been embedded within this community for the vast majority of our lives. We are proud Lincoln Parish residents. It’s what makes this a rather fun challenge for us.
But we couldn’t come close to doing this alone. It has taken a team effort.
We have been fortunate to have a great LPJ Family working with us. Again, people that have made their homes and their marks in our area for decades: Scott Boatright (writer), Teddy Allen (columnist), Wes Harris (writer), Sallie Rose Hollis (columnist), Doug Strickel (columnist), Dusty McGehee (columnist), Brandon Ramsey (columnist), Doug de Graffenried (columnist), Darrell James (photographer), Tim Smith (photographer), Reggie McLeroy (photographer), Josh McDaniel (photographer), Rachel McGehee (ad rep), Heather Shaw (ad rep) and the late Dick Christian (ad rep).
It’s our all-star cast that has made the Lincoln Parish Journal what it is today.
The LPJ’s success can also be heavily attributed to our readers and our advertising partners. Without you, we would be a ship (full of nouns, verbs, adjectives, commas, dangling participles, etc.) drifting aimlessly in the night (or on the inner-web as my buddy Teddy Allen likes to call it).
In the 23-months that we have published the Lincoln Parish Journal, we have seen a readership growth of over 600 percent. In August of 2021, the month before we became the publishers, the Journal received just over 45,000 views. The past four months have seen the Journal eclipse 300,000 views each month.
After totaling more than 2.2 million views in 2022, we are on pace for over 3.8 million views this calendar year. And the feedback we receive out in the community is both helpful, educational and motivational. So thank you. Keep reading and help spread the word about the FREE on-line media outlet of Lincoln Parish.
Finally, we want to thank your advertising partners. It’s been wonderful to be able to partner with so many quality people and businesses in our area and help you reach your customers. It truly is a partnership.
Below is a list of our current advertising partners. We encourage all of you to support them as we all continue to make Ruston a special place to work and live. And if anyone would like to join our advertising partners through the LPJ, send us an email to LPJNewsLA@gmail.com.
33 North Storage
5.11 by Karl Malone
Advanced Audiology & Hearing Aids
American Mattress Outlet
Black Rifle Coffee Company
Century Next Bank
City of Ruston
Delta Healthcare Management
Edward Jones (Andy Halbrook)
First Baptist Church
First West Thrift Store
Gregg Phillips State Farm
Heard Construction Roofing Division
Johnson Physical Therapy
Johnston and Murphy Dental Clinic
Karl Malone Toyota (Sales and Service)
Louisiana Insurance Services
Lincoln Outpatient Therapy Services
Louisiana National Bank
Louisiana Tech Athletics
Northern Louisiana Medical Center
Ruston Glass and Mirror
Ruston Regional Specialty Hospital
Temple Baptist Church
Trinity Methodist Church