The Uvalde Leader-News, a locally owned newspaper in Uvalde, Texas, published a powerful front page on Thursday, two days after 19 children and two teachers were killed in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
The cover of the twice-weekly paper was completely black, except for the date of the massacre — May 24, 2022 — a stark reminder of the darkness that has enveloped the community of about 16,000 people in southwest Texas.
Inside, the first 10 pages of the 12-page paper contain news from what would have been an ordinary week in a small town: graduations, taxes, local elections, weather, sports. Three collegiate rodeo athletes have qualified for the National Rodeo Finals, the paper reported.
There is almost no indication of the carnage that unfolded on Tuesday, except for the announcement of a blood drive at the civic center on Saturday (there is an urgent need for donors, particularly those with type O blood, the paper said) and an advertisement for the Robb School Memorial Fund established by the First State Bank of Uvalde. An ad for the Uvalde Honey Festival, which had been scheduled for June 10 and 11, shows that it has been canceled without explanation.
The final two pages, however, are dedicated to the tragedy.
Under the headline "City's Soul Crushed," the back page of the paper includes photos of children being taken out of the school through windows, and a teacher running to safety after the last of her students were evacuated.
Another shows the suspect’s abandoned pickup truck crashed in a ditch, and a rifle, believed to be the shooter’s, sitting atop a duffel bag on the ground next to the passenger door.
There is also a story about the school district’s graduation ceremonies, which had been scheduled for Friday, being postponed.
“My heart is broken,” Hal Harrell, the district’s superintendent, is quoted as saying. “We are a small community and we are going to need your prayers to get through this.”