Gazette publisher David Ortego retires; Garland Forman named to position
After 40 years, long-time Ville Platte Gazette Publisher/General Manager, David Ortego, has retired from the position he held with the local newspaper since June 1978.
Ortego began his career in the newspaper business when he was hired as the general manager of Evangeline Publishing Company Inc., which included Ivan’s Quality Printing and published the Ville Platte Gazette and Swap and Shop.
After less than 10 years in that position, the life long Ville Platte resident was forced to adapt to major changes when Evangeline Publishing Company Inc. was bought by its current owners, Louisiana State Newspapers. With the change, a slew of other media sources were added under the umbrella of Ortego’s management, including the Kinder Courier, the Oakdale Journal, the Acadian Press, eventually the Basile Weekly, and many other newspapers stretching across Louisiana.
Throughout his years as the man in charge of some of your oldest news sources, Ortego has made a valiant effort to stay involved in the community that has made his job necessary.
That involvement has included serving as an Evangeline Parish School Board Member in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, serving on the Ville Platte Housing Authority Board, serving on the Ville Platte Fire and Police Civil Service Board, and donating to local organizations and entities such as the Ville Platte Police Department’s Toys for Tots drive and to the historical Tournoi held each October in Ville Platte.
During his career, Ortego also served as the Louisiana Press Association President from 1990-1991.
Following his decision to retire, Ortego said, “It has been a fantastic 40 year ride as general manager/publisher. I am totally grateful to great employees, past and present, who have devoted themselves unselfishly in making the Ville Platte newspaper group, which included the Ville Platte Gazette, Kinder Courier, Basile Weekly, Acadian Press and Oakdale Journal the major printed news and advertising media in these communities.
“Thank you to all the advertisers who continue to support our efforts to provide them with the opportunity to make their businesses grow and prosper. Last of all and by no way least, thanks to the many subscribers and readers who have been the backbone of our news and advertising products.”
In response to Ortego’s decision to retire, LSN Chief Operating Officer Darrell Guillory said, “It has been a pleasure knowing and working with David for the past 32 years.
“I thank him for his 40 years of loyal and dedicated service to the Ville Platte Gazette and Louisiana State Newspapers and I wish him a long, healthy and happy retirement.”
Replacing Ortego will be Bunkie Record editor of 31 years and life-long Evangeline Parish resident, Garland Forman.
Forman first entered the newspaper business when he was given his first full time job in journalism by Ortego.
Forman said, “I am happy that David is able to retire. He gave me my first job in journalism over 30 years ago, and I hope to continue what he has successfully done here for over 40 years.”
During his time with the Bunkie Record, Forman has been a part of winning Newspaper of the Year three times since 2005, Editorial Paper of the Year four times and 400 other newspaper awards. He has also served as LPA President from 2016 to 2018 and President of the Louisiana Sports Writer’s Association.
Forman jumped right into his new role as publisher of the Ville Platte Gazette on Tuesday, and says he is excited for this new challenge.
“It is exciting for me to come back to the paper I started at,” said Forman. “I left 31 years ago, but from what I can already tell, we have an excellent staff. We are going to continue to work to give the best coverage of news to our readers in Evangeline, Allen and Avoyelles Parishes. I know this is going to be a great challenge, but I am ready to give it a go.”
Forman is one Guillory expressed will be a “good fit” for the Ville Platte group.
“I am very excited and happy to have Garland on board as our new publisher and look forward to working with him,” said Guillory. “Garland, is a lifelong resident of Evangeline Parish, is an experienced newspaper man and will be a good fit for the Ville Platte Gazette.”