“The Guardians” named Time magazine’s Person of the Year NNA responds to Postal Service Task Force report
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Vol. 13 | No. 50 | Thursday, December 13, 2018
Serving Press and State Since 1873
FOIA Coalition meets in advance of session
Supporters of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act met today to discuss plans for FOIA advocacy during the 92nd General Assembly.
Hot Springs Village Voice managing editor finds readers share his fascination with JFK assassination Did Lee Harvey Oswald kill President Kennedy? Jeff Meek isn’t so sure.
Kennedy’s motorcade and assassination on November 22, 1963.
Does the JFK assassination continue to engage and fascinate readers more than 55 years later? That answer is crystal clear. Meek, the managing editor of the Hot Springs Village Voice, said he’s never seen a response to his writing like the reader feedback he’s received about the Voice’s 28-page magazine supplement published last month to commemorate the anniversary of the president’s murder.
“I have been writing for the Voice for 12 years and I have never seen such a response from the community, either by email or in person,” Meek said. “I’ll be at a restaurant, I’ll be in a meeting, wherever, and for weeks now people have come up to me to talk about their magazine and share with me their memories. Most of us who live here are of the generation, or generations, that we were teenagers or young adults at the time. Almost everybody remembers where they were.”
The magazine is a passion project for Meek, who has exhaustively researched the assassination since the mid-1970 and even has his own copy of the famous silent 8mm color motion picture film shot by Abraham Zapruder of President
Meek was 13 and lived in Illinois. Twelve years later, at age 25, he watched a TV news segment about a JFK conspiracy theory. At that point, according to the magazine, “it almost became an obsession to learn more.”
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Hot Springs Village Voice managing Charles Edward editor finds readers share his fascination with JFK assassination “Ed” Tudor
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The former publisher of three Arkansas Press Association member newspapers, Charles Edward “Ed” Tudor, died Dec. 8 in Marshall. He was 86. Tudor was a Marshall native who graduated from Marshall High School and attended Arkansas State University. He formerly served as editor, publisher and owner of the Stone County Leader, Calico Rock News and Marshall Mountain Wave. He first took over management of the Leader from his brother, Maurice Tudor, and ran that paper for a decade. Tudor was a member of the Arkansas Publicity and Parks Commission from 1966 to 1973 and was former president of the Arkansas Shorthorn Association. He was a Marshall volunteer firefighter and was an adjunct instructor at the Arkansas Fire Academy. He was married for 56 years to his wife, Joyce, who survives him. Other survivors include his children, Eddie Lou Bowman, Charles Tudor, Elizabeth Foreman, Renee Cullum, Lea Ann Lowrance and Nancy Tudor; 11 grandchildren; 14 greatgrandchildren; and one brother, Billy Douglas Tudor of Overland Park, Kan. His funeral was Dec. 11 in Marshall, followed by internment in Marshall Memorial Gardens.
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He met with a JFK researcher in Dallas in 1975, pored over thousands of documents and even made a key discovery, a discrepancy in Oswald’s FBI fingerprint file. The noted researcher gave him the Zapruder film at that time, making Meek a popular speaker on the topic. He even wrote a manuscript in the ‘70s, and he expects to self-publish a book soon. Meek’s lifelong interest in the JFK assassination intersected with his work for the Voice this past spring when the publication’s management was brainstorming ideas for magazine supplements. He sold General Manager Jennifer Allen on the topic pretty easily, he said.
has spurred comments, interests and connections within Hot Springs Village ever since. Because of the positive reader feedback, Meek wrote an article for the paper last week about a lecture he attended in Dallas in late October featuring Howard Willens, who worked for the Warren Commission, and G. Robert Blakey, former chief counsel for the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations. He will continue to write about the subject as events warrant, he said.
“I was digging around in this JFK stuff and said we might be able to get a magazine out of that if I get enough interviews, and she was immediately on board with it,” Meek said. He went to work on the magazine, conducting interviews with key sources during trips to visit his son in the Dallas area. There are plenty of interviews in the magazine with residents of Hot Springs Village as well. Dr. Walter Wyrick of Hot Springs Village was a medical student who was at Parkland Hospital in Dallas when the president was brought there. Wyrick helped guide Lady Bird Johnson through the hospital that fateful day. Three other Hot Springs Village residents are featured in the magazine, all of them having observed the presidential motorcade on Nov. 22, 1963. Georgia Riddle of Hot Springs Village worked for a business that was right next door to the Texas School Book Depository. She was in Dealey Plaza and heard the gunshots, she said. Meek learned of these eyewitnesses to history through word-of-mouth in the small, gated community where he and his wife, Jeanne, relocated more than a decade ago. Meek wrote a 50th anniversary article about the JFK assassination for the Voice in 2013, and he said that article 2
“I’ve received lots of email, and I bump into people all the time [who ask about the magazine and my JFK research]”, Meek said. “People are coming in and getting extra copies of the magazine. It’s really going well.” The magazine’s readers will learn plenty about the assassination and its aftermath, though they won’t learn one thing: A definitive answer about who killed the nation’s 35th president. Meek’s take? He said in the magazine: “I have been asked many times who I think assassinated President Kennedy, and to be honest I have to say I don’t know. I have my suspicions, but nothing I can prove.” December 13, 2018
Forum with state “The Guardians” named Time leaders set for magazine’s Person of the Year Jan. 11 Time magazine, which for nearly a century Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines; and The Associated Press and Arkansas Press Association will sponsor a legislative preview and reporters’ roundtable with Gov. Asa Hutchinson and legislative leaders on Friday, Jan. 11 at APA headquarters, 411 S. Victory St., in Little Rock. Sen. Jim Hendren and House Speaker Matthew Shepherd will kick off the session at 10 a.m., followed by the governor at 11 a.m. The leaders will discuss their priorities and goals for the 2019 General Assembly. Each elected official will provide brief opening remarks followed by a question-and-answer session with reporters in attendance. Working journalists in addition to APA members are invited to the forum.
Industry Quote of the Week “Writing well means never having to say, ‘I guess you had to be there.’”
- Jef Mallet
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has annually selected a notable “Person of the Year,” named journalists who were jailed or lost their lives as a result of their work as the 2018 Person of the Year.
Dubbed by the magazine as “The Guardians,” Time recognized the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, MD where five employees were gunned down at the newspaper’s office earlier this year, and Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist and Saudi dissident murdered for criticizing the Saudi government. Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters were killed when a gunman attacked the Capital Gazette newsroom in June, and Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Also honored were Maria Ressa who heads Rappler, a news website whose coverage has been critical of President
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, journalists imprisoned in Myanmar. In a written essay, Time’s editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said: “Like all human gifts, courage comes to us at varying levels and at varying moments. This year we are recognizing four journalists and one news organization who have paid a terrible price to seize the challenge of this moment.” The magazine the honorees journalists stood up to manipulation abuse of truth.”
said were who “the and
According to Time, the Person of the Year feature is its most famous, and the magazine has selected a Person of the Year every year since 1927. The announcement receives worldwide coverage. Last year’s winner were the leaders of the “Me Too” movement. In 2016, Donald Trump was named Person of the Year.
Arkansas State establishes School of Journalism (Editor’s Note: See former Arkansas Press Association President Roy Ockert’s guest column about this issue on Page 5 of this edition of Arkansas Publisher Weekly.)
Last week, the Arkansas State University (ASU) Board of Trustees voted to establish a School of Media and Journalism as part of its College of Liberal Arts and Communications. The move comes three years after ASU’s departments of journalism and radiotelevision were combined to create a Department of Media. Supporters of the university’s highly-regarded journalism program opposed that move and have continued to push ASU to re-establish a journalism brand. Supporters of the name change said ASU’s journalism program had lost its identity and enrollment had 3
suffered as a result. “The school will have a higher profile with the name change,” said Dr. Chuck Welch, ASU president in a university news release. “Our journalism and radiotelevision programs have long been premier fields of study and many prominent media members around the state are graduates of Arkansas State. We never abandoned journalism in our curriculum. But renaming the department will provide greater focus and let everyone know we’re proud of this marquee program with a long tradition of excellence.” December 13, 2018
NNA responds to Postal Service Task Force report The U.S. Postal Service Task Force issued its report earlier this month on how the postal service — which stands to lose billions of dollars over the next decade— can develop a sustainable business model. The task force, commissioned by President Trump, urged changes to USPS’s pricing model, encouraged costcutting strategies and recommended restructuring and reform of employee and retiree compensation and benefit plans. The National Newspaper Association (NNA), which has a vested interest in USPS operations, issued a response to the report. Here is the statement from NNA President Andrew Johnson, the publisher of the Dodge County Pionier: “This carefully-worded report offers stakeholders a menu of diagnoses and therapies to consider and digest. From the viewpoint of community newspapers, some of the observations in the Task Force’s report are ones that NNA has made itself. Others are ones NNA has considered and rejected. “We particularly appreciate the Task
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Force’s recognition that the rural areas served by our members have unduly suffered from some of the therapies tried thus far. We also like the Task Force’s agreement with us that universal service is essential and that all areas of the country, including rural areas, must be fairly served. We believe any entity but the United States Postal Service will inevitably fail at providing that service, having seen the challenges faced by other nations who have experimented with privatization. But there are areas within the system where more involvement from the private sector would benefit the system. “There are other aspects of the report, such as the recommended removal of the price cap on rates, that would cause our members great concern— unless it is carefully and successfully balanced by serious cost control and by a fair evaluation of the need of readers of newspapers and magazines to receive their Periodicals on time and at fair rates. We also do not agree that curtailing service should be left to USPS alone, as the USPS has proven in the past too prone
to pulling that lever, without realizing the promised savings and reducing volume. “As in many things, the devil will dwell in the details for the enabling of any solutions suggested by this report, and it is in the details that the U.S. Congress has often remained mired. “Nonetheless, NNA appreciates the care and attention that has gone into the consideration of the grave situation facing the Postal Service. We expect to spend the next few weeks absorbing this report and considering our industry’s obligations and opportunities to share in solutions as the 116th Congress, a new USPS Board of Governors, USPS management and the Postal Regulatory Commission each define their own paths forward.”
Read the full task force report at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/ files/136/USPS_A_Sustainable_Path_ Forward_report_12-04-2018.pdf
December 13, 2018
ASU Board decision puts journalism program on better path By Roy Ockert
Arkansas State University’s Board of Trustees on Friday corrected some of the damage done by administrative reorganizations of the past five years. Those actions have almost destroyed what was once Arkansas’ premier program in journalism education. The board unanimously passed a resolution that would establish, effective July 1, a School of Media and Journalism within the College of Liberal Arts and Communication, which itself resulted from a merger in 2015 of three colleges under the administration of then-Chancellor Tim Hudson. The resolution summarizes the problem beautifully: “The dissolution of this college has resulted in challenges with program identity and program growth. Reorganization … is needed to better meet the needs of students, curriculum and faculty; to restore identity with alumni, donors and other external constituencies; and to allow for continued growth of these disciplines.” “The large size of the College of Liberal Arts and Communication has limited the amount of time that can be devoted to media and journalism programs that have long served as public faces of the university,” the resolution says. Indeed, that’s what some alumni and faculty tried to tell the administration in 2015, but the reorganization plan was sold under the guise of greater efficiency and savings. Never mind what the changes would do to students present and future, or whether it would attract students in the future. The journalism program that my mentor, L.W. “Tex” Plunkett, established in the 1940s and built into the best in Arkansas, is almost gone, a victim of neglect, suppression and bureaucratic meddling. Tex also paved the way for superb programs in broadcasting, photography, printing and public relations-advertising. The secret to success was to make sure the students were well schooled in the fundamentals of writing, reporting, editing and the law. We could learn the tools of the Arkansas Publisher Weekly
trade in the field, but there was no hope for a reporter or producer who couldn’t get the facts straight or mold them into a good story. With such outstanding teachers as Joel Gambill, Charles Rasberry, Darrel Cunningham, Bonnie Thrasher, Gene Ballard and Markham Howe, the Division of Radio-TV, Journalism and Printing became the College of Communications, and its graduates spread out into media positions in almost every Arkansas community and in many places across the country. It’s no accident that ASU finally gained its fair share of media attention. Our alumni made sure of it. Reorganization can have a side benefit for administrators. Student journalists can be troublesome, asking difficult questions and producing stories that the academicians would rather not see the light of day. Witness the recent suspension of the high school newspaper at Springdale. ASU began burying the journalism program in 2013, with a reorganization plan produced by Brad Rawlins, then the first-year dean of the College of Communications. With Hudson’s support he shufﬂed the various programs and faculty members into renamed departments under a longer college name, Media and Communication. The word “journalism” appeared nowhere in any part of the new administrative structure. Rawlins announced his plan two days before he intended to bring it to the Board of Trustees without consulting with either of the two active alumni advisory boards in the college and with little, if any faculty support. Quite a few alumni objected, and Rawlins postponed the board presentation, scheduling a forum to air the issues. Among other things I argued that taking journalism out of the departmental name would destroy the program’s identity. A survey showed that of 108 accredited college journalism programs across the country, 72 still had “journalism” in the name of the department and-or college. 5
Rawlins went ahead with the reorganization anyway because Hudson wanted “big changes,” and the board approved it. Focus changed from the fundamentals to fancy new media tools. Later Rawlins told me taking journalism out of the name was a mistake. By then there was no doubt. The reorganization of 2015 made matters worse. The College of Media and Communication was merged with the colleges of Fine Arts and Humanities & Social Sciences. Three of the smallest colleges became the second largest. The 24 communications faculty became part of an organizational chart of 165, operating in five different buildings. Some have argued that “since newspapers are dying,” there is no future in journalism. While the newspaper business is certainly struggling, it is far from dead. Newspapers still produce the best journalism of any media, though you may not realize it when you read the work of newspaper journalists on social media. Further, journalists are needed now more than ever by the burgeoning media scene. Whatever the future of newspapers, there are more opportunities than ever for young people who can write well, edit, take good pictures, design publications and broadcast the news with audio and-or video. Meanwhile, the University of Arkansas’ journalism program has been thriving. I don’t know if ASU’s journalism program can rebound, but Friday’s board action is the first positive step in that direction in more than five years. Credit for this plan should go to the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Communication, Dr. Carl Cates, who recognized the need to restore the programs that helped put ASU on the map and produced many fine journalists, broadcasters and communicators. Also, ASU now has a chancellor, Dr. Kelly Damphousse, who understands the value of such programs and who listens to the ideas of others. Roy Ockert is a former editor of The Jonesboro Sun, The Courier at Russellville and The Batesville Guard. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. December 13, 2018
The Arkansas Publisher Weekly is the only direct source for late breaking news regarding Arkansas' newspapers and related industries. Publis...
Published on Dec 13, 2018
The Arkansas Publisher Weekly is the only direct source for late breaking news regarding Arkansas' newspapers and related industries. Publis...