Laredo Morning Times
|Publisher||William B. Green|
|Founded||June 14, 1881|
The Laredo Morning Times was founded on June 14, 1881 as "the Laredo Weekly," a four-page newspaper published by James Saunders Penn. Two years later, the paper became a daily as the "Laredo Daily Times." In 1986, William B. Green became only the ninth publisher of the Laredo Morning Times, which started in a corner of a downtown building on Farragut Street in Laredo.
During the 125-year run, the afternoon "Laredo Times" became the "Laredo Morning Times." The newspapers, under different names, have covered nearly half of Laredo's history. The city was founded on May 15, 1755.
Historians continue to use the newspaper as a primary source for information to learn of Laredo's culture and traditions, all documented for readers and their posterity.
The defunct San Antonio Light was the cornerstone paper when William Randolph Hearst expanded his newspaper empire to Texas in 1881. The Light shut down with the Hearst acquisition of the San Antonio Express-News.
James Penn, working out of the state capital in Austin, established a commercial printing business affiliate in San Antonio. He recognized the economic potential when he chose to bring his equipment to Laredo. His obituary says that he brought his family and equipment in a wagon train, which arrived on May 1, 1881.
Laredo was experiencing phenomenal growth as a major center of trade on the frontier. South of San Antonio de Bexar, the most promising communities in the region were Corpus Christi, Brownsville, and Laredo.
Laredo had been settled near the banks of the Rio Grande for 126 years when the Penn family arrived. Several newspapers had already started on both sides of the border, but these publications did not maintain operations.
The Laredo Morning Times in a new century
On the death of Penn in 1901, his son, Justo S. Penn, took over as publisher and general manager. Arambula said that the Penns, both father and son, blended into the life of the Laredo community. Among other things, the two individually and as heads of the Laredo Times were key players in the development of the city's socioeconomic life. Justo Penn thereafter sold the newspaper to J.E. Hanway of Wyoming in July 1926.
Hanway became the third publisher of the Laredo Times with two business associates, William Prescott Allen of San Antonio and O.W. Killam of Laredo. Arambula found that the operation prospered under Hanway's direction. Hanway brought to Laredo his experience with several newspapers in the West. He reorganized the entire plant at a new location on Matamoros Street and installed modern newspaper equipment, including a press, linotype machines and backshop tools.
Newspaper pages in Spanish
It was under J.E. Hanway's management that Spanish was introduced to the newspaper.
Arambula noted that the Laredo Times became the first daily newspaper in Texas to include Spanish material in its news columns and advertisements. The bilingual presentation of information was improved during the William Allen years.
William Prescott Allen, who also published newspapers in Colorado and Alaska, improved on Hanway's initiatives. At one time, the newspaper had correspondents in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Saltillo. He also engaged the services of daily Spanish-language columnists and reporters in Nuevo Laredo, across the Rio Grande from Laredo.
Allen and his nephew Alan Tish, general manager, ran the afternoon daily. It was acquired by Jefferson-Pilot in 1969-1970. James H. Hale became publisher in 1970. He moved to Clearwater, Florida, to take over Jefferson-Pilot's paper in that city, the Clearwater Sun. The Times then moved to its present location on Esperanza Drive in north Laredo.
Baker was succeeded as publisher by Marc A. Hoy, who came to Laredo from Beaumont in 1979. Hoy was followed by Mike Herrera.
The acquisition of several Texas properties by the Hearst Corporation included the Laredo Times in 1984. The Times shifted from afternoon to morning publication, and thereafter Frank Bannock, the president of Hearst, chose a former colleague at the San Antonio Light, William B. Green, to leave the Edwardsville Intelligencer in Edwardsville, Illinois, to become both publisher and CEO of the Laredo Morning Times. Green took over in the midst of a brewing newspaper war between the Times and the Laredo News, a local family newspaper. The News subsequently ceased publication. The Times acquired the assets of the News, and it remains the only daily newspaper in Laredo.
Elizabeth Sorrell, the acclaimed LMT society columnist from 1979–1994, was a former educator who previously taught for forty-eight years in Laredo. Odie Arambula once declared her the "best known" person in town.
- Odie Arambula, Laredo Morning Times, June 14, 2006.
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