More than a century after its founding as the first newspaper in Southwest Louisiana, the American Press remains one of the state's most honored news organizations.
The Lake Charles-based newspaper covers five parishes – Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis – every day and features regular reporting from Baton Rouge, the state capital and the home of Louisiana State University.
The newspaper's earliest roots can be traced to 1893, when Joseph F. Reed and Guy Beatty created a weekly publication in Lake Charles. Two years later, in 1895, the Weekly Press became the Daily Press.
In 1910, the Daily Press merged with the Daily American, which Beatty was leading at the time. The new newspaper's name was long: the Lake Charles Daily American-Press. By 1912, the newspaper had decided to shorten its name by six characters, slashing “Daily” and the hyphen from its masthead. After close to 90 years as the Lake Charles American Press, the newspaper changed its name once more in 1998 to the American Press, which it remains today.
In the midst of World War II, Thomas B. Shearman Sr. purchased the newspaper. Nearly seven decades later, the Shearman family continues to lead the American Press, the flagship newspaper of Shearman Corp., which also includes newspapers in Colorado and New Mexico.
Under the Shearman family, the American Press and its predecessor shined among Louisiana newspapers, earning Pulitzer Prize nominations for reporting and photography and winning dozens of national and regional awards for its journalism.
Most recently, the Louisiana Press Association named the American Press as the 2010 Newspaper of the Year in its division.