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FOIA Coalition to meet December 13 at APA office

Little River News in Ashdown celebrates 120 years



Ar kansas

Publisher Weekly


Vol. 13 | No. 46 | Thursday, November 15, 2018

Serving Press and State Since 1873

Arkadelphia Dispatch Launches This Month A new newspaper is expected to launch in Arkadelphia later this month in an attempt to fill the void left by the Arkadelphia Daily Siftings Herald. Known as the Arkadelphia Dispatch, the publication will publish weekly with an intense focus on local news, said Bill Sutley, editor of the Dispatch.

“Local news will be our franchise,” said Sutley, an Arkadelphia native who got his start at the Siftings Herald and worked for daily newspapers in Mississippi and Louisiana. “Arkadelphia’s slogan is, ‘It’s a great place to call home,” and I think that’s true. But I hope the Dispatch can make it a better place to call home.” The new paper’s publisher, John Robert Schirmer of Nashville, also owns the Nashville Leader. Sutley said Schirmer brings business and advertising acumen to the venture. The duo plans to hire an ad sales representative and some part-time office help before it begins operations.

No specific publication date is set yet, though Schirmer “has told people we’re producing a paper in November,” Sutley laughed, and the first edition is expected this month.

Arkadelphia Mayor James Calhoun said The Standard in Amity has done a commendable job in covering his city’s news after the Siftings Herald folded midSeptember. He said that paper boasts a circulation higher than that of the defunct Siftings Herald, yet people in his community are disappointed not to have a Arkadelphia-specific paper where they can read local news and advertisements. The mayor is eager to see the new product. “We hated when the Siftings Herald closed its doors,” the mayor said. “When I’ve heard complaints, it’s been about people not being able to advertise their estate sales or carport sales.”

Arkadelphia Dispatch’s new editor, Bill Sutley.

Continued on Page 2

Arkansas newspapers affected by Sears bankruptcy Following the announcement by Sears Holding Corporation in October that it has sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Arkansas newspaper publishers and advertising managers likely have questions about what that means for outstanding debts and for Sears Hometown Stores preprint inserts moving forward. Some newspapers may have contracts with Sears’s advertising company to run the inserts in the future.

There is some confusion with who is actually placing the pre-prints with some newspapers. Some, if not all, newspaper inserts are placed through an agency, NSA or Alliance Media but the contract is with

Sears Holding Corporation. To further add to the confusion, most of the pre-prints are being placed for an independently-owned Sears Hometown Store which is not part of the bankruptcy. Sears Hometown Stores and Outlets are making moves to distance themselves from the bankruptcy and shore up their relationship with vendors and newspapers. While newspapers are encouraged to obtain the legal advice from their own attorneys, here are some general recommendations received by Arkansas Press Association President Tom White, whose paper, the Advance-Monticellonian in Monticello, has a contract to publish Continued on Page 2

Arkadelphia Dispatch

Continued from page 1 Sutley said the Dispatch’s goal is to gain subscribers within Arkadelphia and others who have an affinity for Clark County and may, like him, have a desire to come back to the community one day. Sutley graduated from Arkadelphia High School in 1973 and from Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in 1977. During college, he was sports editor of the local newspaper and became a full-time reporter there after graduation. After a brief stint in El Dorado, he got his master’s degree at the University of Missouri and then joined Gannett. While with Gannett, he worked at papers in Hattiesburg, Miss., Jackson, Miss., and Monroe, La. He spent time as a university instructor and in higher education public relations before he returned to Arkadelphia in 2014. Sutley is currently teach a media writing class at OBU and a speech class at Henderson State University. He said he expects the Dispatch to utilize interns and extra help from both schools. Sutley expects an initial press run of about 1,000 copies to be distributed strategically in the community with hopes of building a subscriber base. “We’re still figuring some things out, but we hope to figure them out pretty quickly,” he said, noting that the paper has photos from this year’s version of the Battle of the Ravine and Arkadelphia’s big football playoff win it’s looking forward to publishing. Though Sutley hasn’t written for a newspaper since the 1990s, he has remained connected to good journalism, he said, through his public relations and teaching work. One of the changes is the increasing focus on a digital product, and Sutley said the Dispatch plans to update its website frequently with breaking news. “We have so much news going on here, it’s just ridiculous not to have a decent newspaper,” he said. “The Siftings Herald was a great training ground for me. It was there I discovered the thrill of someone hearing something first from our newspaper. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”

APA will be closed November 22 & 23 for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Arkansas Publisher Weekly

Sears bankruptcy Continued from page 1 the inserts. • Bankruptcy law may require newspapers to honor current contracts and they may not be able to refuse to honor or cancel the contract because of liabilities accrued by Sears Holding Corp. before the bankruptcy filing. • Since both parties must observe the contract terms, Sears would be required to pay for any inserts placed under the contract after the filing date according to the contract terms. • Newspapers are encouraged to be cautious about refusing to run inserts because of nonpayment. This could result in sanctions for the paper. Instead, papers should reach out to Sears to try to resolve the matter.

• It’s important to note that in this instance the debtor, Sears, would have additional available cash and financing to pay for ongoing liabilities following bankruptcy. • Be careful about applying future payments to past-due balances. Some newspapers may even set up new accounts for postbankruptcy invoice to avoid applying a payment for a post-bankruptcy payment to a pre-bankruptcy invoice or statement. The bankruptcy was filed October 15, 2018. • Again, newspapers should not consider these notes as legal advice and should instead consult with their attorneys. APA members may call the APA Legal Hotline with questions at 501-379-1700 and ask for John Tull.

Save the Date: FOIA Coalition to meet December 13 at APA office The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Coalition will meet on Dec. 13 at noon at the Arkansas Press Association headquarters, 411 S. Victory St., in Little Rock. The coalition, made up of FOIA advocates from across the state, will have an organizational meeting and discussion ahead of the 92nd General Assembly, which starts in January.

Ashley Wimberley, executive director of the Arkansas Press Association, serves as ex officio chairman of the FOIA Coalition. “Seemingly every legislative session, opponents of open government will try to weaken the state’s Freedom of Information Act, and we don’t expect it to be any different in 2019,” Wimberley said. “The coalition will meet in December to focus

A box lunch will be provided to participants. Members of the coalition represent almost every media organization in Arkansas, including both print and broadcast journalists. Represented in the coalition are also the Arkansas Civil Liberties Union, the Arkansas Broadcasters Association, the Arkansas College Press Association, the Arkansas Education Association, the Arkansas Municipal League, the Arkansas Policy Foundation, Arkansas Press Association, Arkansas Press Women, Arkansas Tech University, the Associated Press, the Associated Press Broadcasters Association, Associated Press Managing Editors, the Association of Arkansas Counties, Arkansas Pro Chapter of SPJ, the Arkansas governor’s and attorney general’s offices, the UA-Fayetteville Society of Professional Journalists chapter and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 2

on what we expect from the upcoming session and how we intend to protect and defend the Arkansas FOIA law, which remains one of the strongest in the nation thanks to the efforts of this coalition and public transparency advocates around the state.” To RSVP for the lunch meeting, email ashley@arkansaspress.org. November 15, 2018

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James Pleasant White

James Pleasant White Sr., 88, of McGehee, father of current APA board president Tom White, passed away on Sunday Nov. 11, 2018. He was businessman and former owner of the McGehee Publishing Company, and former publisher of McGehee Times and Dermott News newspapers.

Minimum Wage Hike Effective January 1 Arkansas voters on Election Day overwhelmingly approved Issue 5, a citizen-led initiative to raise the state’s minimum wage. With voter approval, the state’s minimum wage will increase incrementally each year until 2021 when the minimum wage will be $11 per hour.

As to those affected by approval of Issue 5, the first increase takes effect Jan. 1, 2019, when the current minimum wage of $8.50 per hour rises to $9.25 per hour. In 2020, the rate changes to $10 per hour. The $11-per-hour requirement begins on Jan. 1, 2021.

The initiated act amends the state’s minimum wage law, which is applicable to all businesses in Arkansas that employ four or more employees — with some exceptions, including key exemptions for the newspaper industry.

Arkansas voters last changed the minimum wage in 2014, when they voted to incrementally set it at its current level of $8.50 per hour. That’s $1.25 more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

State law exempts from the minimum wage requirement employees of weekly, semiweekly or daily newspapers with circulation of fewer than 4,000 (see Ark. Code Ann. 11-4-203 (3)(M)). The state minimum wage law doesn’t apply to newspaper carriers, either.

The new $11 state wage will be substantially higher than minimum wage requirements in any surrounding state. The state minimum wage in Oklahoma and Texas is $7.25 per hour. It’s $7.85 per hour in Missouri. Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana have no state minimum wage.

NNA announces personnel changes, including new management Born Nov. 5, 1930 in O’Reilly, Miss., he was the eldest son of Rev. James Ebb and Sallie Starnes White. He was raised in the Warren area, one of eight children. He was a standout basketball player for the Warren Lumberjacks, a U.S. Army Veteran and loved the outdoors – especially duck hunting. In 1960, he along with two partners, purchased the Eagle Democrat newspaper in Warren, of which he was publisher prior to his move to McGehee in 1973. He retired from the newspaper business in 1992 and after retirement did contract heavy equipment work for the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission.

The National Newspaper Association (NNA) has announced a new management agreement with Lynne Lance Association Management (LLAM), which will operate NNA’s headquarters starting Jan. 1, 2019. NNA has been managed by the Illinois Press Association, where Lynne Lance served as chief operating officer. According to NNA, that management arrangement ends on Dec. 31. NNA has approximately 2,400 members

Survivors include his children, Fran (Roger) Childress and Jim (Arlene) White, both of McGehee; Tom (Susan) White of Monticello and Ann (Mike) Callison of Benton; his step-sons, Rick and Rod Thompson, both of McGehee and Rusty Thompson of Hot Springs; two sisters, Patricia Landers of North Little Rock and Mary Morton of Morrilton, 6 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. Funeral services were Wednesday, November 14 with burial at McGehee Cemetery. On-line guest book may be signed at www.griffinculpepper.com. Arkansas Publisher Weekly

representing community newspapers across the United States. David Fisher of Danville serves as an at-large member on the NNA board. Fisher, a former APA president, is publisher of the Conway County Petit Jean Country Headlight, Perry County Petit Jean Country Headlight, Post-Dispatch in Dardanelle and Yell County Record in Danville. Before becoming COO, Lance had been NNA’s membership director. “NNA has benefitted from the solid expertise of newspaper people during our term with IPA,” said NNA President Andrew Johnson, publisher of the Dodge County Pioneer in Wisconsin, in a news item released by NNA. “We see this shift to LLAM’s operation as a terrific opportunity to hone the operational side of our association and to capture the depth of experience that Lynne has brought to us. She has been the ‘face’ of NNA in so many ways this past three years. We know our members trust her dedication to serving their needs.” Johnson said NNA “has been fortunate” to have management teams who are dedicated to community newspapers. According to NNA, Lance was born in Okinawa and has lived in more than 10 states and three countries. Her father was a JAG for the U.S. Air Force. She

Lynne Lance

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November 15, 2018

NNA new management Continued from page 3

ArkLaMiss Annual Conference held November 8-9 in Vicksburg

earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from the University of Alabama. Before joining NNA, she worked for the communications firm of O’ConnorBurnham & Company, Atlanta; Daniels Press in Ensley, Alabama; Wordmasters in Springfield, Illinois; the Pleasant Plains (Illinois) School District, and was membership director for the Illinois Press Association. In addition, NNA has announced that Max Heath, the organization’s “nationallyrecognized postal guru” is moving to emeritus status. While Heath will remain available to assist and advise NNA members, he will be succeeded by Matthew Paxton IV, a former NNA president and publisher of The NewsGazette in Lexington, Virginia. Paxton is one of four members of the NNA’s U.S. Postal Service Mailers Technical Advisory Committee. That committee works with the Postal Service to develop policies and procedures that help NNA members.



In the transition, NNA will merge its postal and government relations committees. Johnson said the group will also create a postal hotline so that newspapers can get help “from the most qualified expert available when Max is not on call.”

Industry Quote of the Week “It is hard to overstate the vitally important role that a strong newspaper can play in improving the quality of life for residents of the communities they serve. A good editor can see the big picture better than just about anyone else in the community – tying together the reality of the present with the possibility of the future.” -Penelope Muse Abernathy Arkansas Publisher Weekly


1) Community newspaper managers take part in a round table discussion in advance of the conference opening. 2) Peter Wagner of Creative House Media Consultants and publisher of the N’West Iowa Review makes a point during a discussion on newspapers now and in the future. Shown in the photo are Byron Tate of The Sheridan Headlight and Zach Killian of the South Arkansas Sun in Hampton. 3) Chattanooga Times Free Press Director of Circulation Frank Maier leads the traditional Hot Ideas Idea Exchange on Friday morning. Shown in the photo are Arkansas attendees Rusty and Neal Fraser of the Stone County Leader in Mountain View and Kelly Freudensprung of the Saline Courier in Benton.

Little River News in Ashdown 1 celebrates 120 years



1) Little River News Owner/Publisher Robert L. Palmer (right) visits with Little River County Judge Mike Cranford during a reception held at the Little River County Courthouse. The reception was hosted by the Little River County Chamber of Commerce and was well attended. 2) Arkansas State Representative DeAnn Vaught recently presented Quinton Bagley, general manager of the Little River News, a Citation from the Arkansas House of Representatives commemorating the anniversary.


November 15, 2018

Profile for Arkansas Press Association

Arkansas Publisher Weekly: November 15, 2018  

The Arkansas Publisher Weekly is the only direct source for late breaking news regarding Arkansas' newspapers and related industries. Publis...

Arkansas Publisher Weekly: November 15, 2018  

The Arkansas Publisher Weekly is the only direct source for late breaking news regarding Arkansas' newspapers and related industries. Publis...