Community

Central Speaks through the Freneaux Family

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By DeeDee Dupree

    Approaching Dave Freneaux, editor of Central Speaks newspaper, about doing an article on his family and local paper, I was met with some resistance. He was reluctant to, in his words, self promote.  Having only been a freelance writer for centralspeaks.com for a short time, I haven’t had the opportunity to really get to know Dave, Mia and Beth. I was drawn to this particular paper because of all the wonderful things I’d heard.  According to friends, family and acquaintances, it was definitely the news outlet in Central where you were sure to get your top stories, political updates and newsworthy information on friends’ engagements, accolades and birth announcements, etc.  After much coaxing and reassurance that I would only state the truth, as I saw it, he gave me the interview.

Only minutes into the interview it was apparent he holds the Central community, as well as its residents, in very high regard. Running, printing and distributing this paper is certainly a labor of love and that of very little profit.  Distributing 12000 copies weekly is a large undertaking, but well worth it according to Dave. “We have a core group of advertisers that make it possible to accomplish our goals week after week.  These are some of the same advertisers that helped give another Central newspaper its start by advertising there.  Fortunately, they saw the value of our newspaper and are regular advertisers. Their advertising in support of charitable events is a great service to our community and also makes it possible for us to mail out the newspaper, free, to over 8,000 residences and businesses in Central. Another 4,000 copies are circulated free via retail distribution.”   

    Centralspeaks.com began as an online media website in 2008.  It wasn’t until after the elections in 2010 that CentralSpeaks.com went to print.  The first issue resembled that of a corporate newsletter.  With time, growth and experience, the newspaper became what it is today. In addition, up to date news and events concerning the Central community are posted daily on their website at www.CentralSpeaks.com.  Simply click on the "Subscribe" link on the right side of any web page and have the daily news emailed to you.  Join me as their Facebook friend and discuss Central news and events with other Central residents.  The office is located directly off of Sullivan near the corner of Hooper.  It shares its home with Dave’s other full time job, managing a transportation company. 

    Dave and Mia met while attending the University of Virginia, where Mia graduated with a degree in Fine Art.  Dave transferred back home to Central and graduated from LSU with an accounting degree.  They were married in 1982 and have two daughters, Beth, 25 and Michelle, 22. Mia, a talented writer and valuable asset, contributes each week by submitting articles, selling advertising, editing, doing the billing and helping deliver papers every Thursday.

    Never has a father beamed more proudly than Dave speaking of his family and their contributions to this local paper.  Beth, a graduate of Central High School, utilizes her many talents at the paper, single handedly doing all of the design and page layouts of the newspaper. Her responsibilities and contributions are impressive and certainly noteworthy. Michelle also writes articles and steps in regularly to help deliver papers.

    When deciding what to name the paper, it was easy according to Dave. The goal and vision for the newspaper is to have Central residents contributing information and news so everyone can be involved and informed. Centralspeaks.com presents unbiased reporting of events and gives community groups, schools and churches a way to promote their calendar events. Thus, the Central community speaks and this newspaper puts it in print.  Hearing how the process takes place is actually quite remarkable.  Deadline for articles and advertising is 5 pm on Tuesday. Final layout and editing is completed by 7 pm Wednesday, and by noon Thursday, less than 18 hours later, nearly every home and business in Central has the newspaper in their mailbox. Distribution of the paper starts by meeting the printing company truck at 5 am at a local post office and ends when Mia makes the last of 140 stops delivering stacks of papers to local businesses.  Needless to say, Thursday is a busy day for the small staff of this newspaper.

    Q&A: Dave, what is your hope for the community, politically or otherwise?

A. I wish we could all stay focused on the issues and not on the positions people take. So many have fallen into an ALL or NOTHING stance.  I feel there doesn’t need to be a line drawn in the sand.  If a person’s view is different, that doesn’t make it a personal attack on someone with an opposing view. There is probably much to be learned by both sides. I would like to see more of a consensus on issues rather than so much division.  On most of the really important issues the people of Central seem united.  We all want the best education we can offer our children, we want well-planned growth and entertainment in the area, and we want to feel safe in our community. And on other issues, I encourage both citizens and elected officials to at least be mindful of the possibility of finding consensus, compromises that can meet everyone’s needs and expectations.

    Q. I am always amazed at this community’s willingness to get involved and volunteer. What are your thoughts on that?

A. Central definitely has a culture of volunteerism. Central is among the 15 largest cities in Louisiana, but still considered a small town by any national standard. Yet, there always seems to be something going on. That is something we try to do with our paper. Simply letting the community know what is happening in and around the area. If you want to volunteer but not sure where you would be needed, start by getting involved in any number of charitable and service organizations, including Cooking in Central, Kiwanis, Rotary Club, etc.  They are always looking for new volunteers. I just want people to know how important these groups are to the community.  Cooking in Central alone has provided seed money of over $300,000 dollars for our new school system and has donated over $1 million to Central’s schools.  These are worthwhile organizations and events.

    Q. What was your main reason for creating the newspaper, Centralspeaks.com?

A.  I saw a need for the people and organizations in the Central community to be able to share their news and events with the whole city and to be able to celebrate their successes.  I also believe when providing a news media to a community, especially when there are very few sources for news, there is a “Public Trust” to tell the truth without intentional bias.  At CentralSpeaks.com we are committed to bringing quality, honest, unbiased news to our readers. We’ve made a commitment to journalistic integrity. I will not stray from that. I intend to only print True and Supportable information each week to the people of this community. 

    As I spend more time with this family and the staff of Central Speaks, I’ve become even more impressed with their commitment and efforts to put out a quality paper each week. I’m honored to contribute to this growing media outlet. This newspaper is indeed a work in progress and that is a good thing. They are willing to change and adapt as the City grows larger.  They not only welcome ideas from the community but encourage you to contribute your ideas, information and celebrations. Dave states, “E-mail your articles, events and pictures and they will be published.”

    I personally enjoy reading this newspaper and am proud to be a part of a team that is so dedicated to the community in which I live.

    Thank you, Central Speaks, for being the voice of this great community.

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