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NLR Times, Lonoke County Democrat publish final issues New Mena newspaper publisher’s winding career path leads back to its roots



Ar kansas

Publisher Weekly

Vol. 13 | No. 35 | Thursday, August 30, 2018


Serving Press and State Since 1873

Newspaper industry wins battle over newsprint tariffs The newspaper industry secured a major victory yesterday, when the International Trade Commission (ITC) moved unanimously to eliminate the newsprint tariffs that had been leading to fewer pages and layoffs at newspapers across the country.

of imports of uncoated groundwood paper from Canada.” The Trump Administration had previously imposed the tariffs after a U.S. paper mill argued that Canadian manufacturers had an unfair trade advantage because of subsidies provided to them by the Canadian government.

“Since January, newspaper publishers have been beset with higher costs and economic uncertainty because of unfair tariffs that drastically increased the cost of newsprint,” said Ashley Wimberley, executive director of the Arkansas Press Association (APA). “This decision is a great win for an industry that needed a victory.”

The ITC reversed the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to impose tariffs on newsprint from Canada that had ranged from 28 to 32 percent. The Commission, in a statement, said that U.S. newsprint manufacturers are “not materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason

Wimberley praised the News Media Alliance (NMA) and the National Newspaper Association for their major efforts as well as APA staff, the APA board of directors and publishers across Arkansas for their calls and feedback given to the state’s congressional delegation and other federal officials. “This action demonstrates that our leaders can and will make the right decision when we work together as an industry to ensure

our voices are heard.”

In a July 27 letter to the ITC requesting the reversal, Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., noted that 9,000 of his constituents work in a printing or publishing facility, with almost all of them being small businesses. Boozman is co-chairman of the Senate’s Paper and Packaging Caucus. According to news reports, some Canadian mills had deposited millions of dollars from the additional tariffs, and that money will be refunded. Annually, U.S. newspapers spend more than $1 billion a year on Canadian newsprint. David Chavern, president of NMA, said in a statement: “Today is a great day for American journalism. The ITC’s decision will help to preserve the vitality of local newspapers and prevent additional job losses in the printing and publishing sectors. The end of these unwarranted tariffs means local newspapers can focus once again on playing a vital role in our democracy by keeping citizens informed and connected to the daily lives of their communities.”

Subscribers give back to injured newspaper carrier Howard Shelton has always taken great care to ensure his Arkansas DemocratGazette customers receive their morning newspapers, and now those customers, Democrat-Gazette colleagues and others from across the country are banding together to take care of him.

Shelton, a longtime Democrat-Gazette carrier, was delivering papers in west Little Rock about 4:30 a.m. on August 22 when he was shot and his car was stolen. A fundraising webpage created by one of his loyal customers to support Shelton as

he recovers has raised more than $8,500 from more than 150 contributors thus far.

job. He had not missed work in more than two decades before the incident.

According to reports, Shelton had left his vehicle to place a paper at a customer’s door when a suspect fired a shot that ricocheted off the pavement and hit Shelton’s leg. Suspects then stole his vehicle, which was later found crashed in Hot Spring County.

On the GoFundMe site, customer Laurie Peterson described Shelton as “our wonderful newspaper dude.” She organized the fundraiser, noting that “Howard’s work is as a contractor, so when he doesn’t work, he doesn’t get paid. And now, he is also without his car until it’s recovered.”

Shelton is known for placing papers on porches so as not to disturb his customers. He’s also known for his dedication to the

To donate, visit www.GoFundMe.com/ howard-shelton-fund.

-30NLR Times, Lonoke County Democrat publish final issues

The North Little Rock Times and Lonoke County Democrat, two newspapers owned by GateHouse Media, published their final issues this week. The Democrat’s last edition was Wednesday, Aug. 29, and the Times the next day. In a statement to readers, Teresa Hicks, senior group publisher said: “While we step away from the North Little Rock area within Pulaski County, we remain committed to serving neighboring cities, including Conway, Pine Bluff, Hot Springs Village and others across Arkansas.”

Lonoke counties will miss these trusted and dependable news sources,” said Ashley Wimberley, executive director of the Arkansas Press Association. “The Magies, the Chisms and others with familiar names to our association built those newspapers into brands their subscribers relied upon.”

The England Democrat in Lonoke County and other papers in Pulaski County, including The Leader, should fill cover the gap in the market, Wimberley said. Garrick Feldman, publisher of The Leader, said his publication will expand next week into North Little Rock and Maumelle. The paper will increase its news and sports coverage in both those cities.

GateHouse acquired the newspapers from Stephens Media in 2015 and folded seven publications into two last year. The Jacksonville Patriot, Maumelle Monitor and Sherwood Voice became part of the Times. The Democrat merged with the Cabot Star-Herald and the Carlisle Independent. “A local newspaper is often a cornerstone of the community, and north Pulaski and

in 1967 and 1988, respectively. The Democrat started in 1873 and was the longest continuously operated business in the county, according to that paper’s final edition.

Cone and Betty Magie, former owners in Lonoke County, were APA presidents

“Fortunately, other newspapers in the association are already stepping up to help fill this void, as always is the case because newspapers are and will continue to be essential to our communities,” Wimberley said.

New Mena newspaper publisher’s winding career path leads back to its roots It’s been a long journey back to home for Tom Byrd, a southeastern Oklahoma native who was named publisher at Mena Newspapers Inc. earlier this summer. Byrd never expected to settle in Tom Byrd Polk County during a newspaper career that’s taken him to California, Michigan, Florida and most recently, Delaware. “I am back to my roots, and it’s very exciting because my family and my wife’s family have connections to southeast Oklahoma and this area,” Byrd said. “Western Arkansas is just wonderful.” Byrd serves as publisher of the Mena Star, the DeQueen Bee, the Waldron News, the Ouachita Trading Post and several magazines, niche products, and community websites in western Arkansas. The publications are owned by Gadsden, Arkansas Publisher Weekly

Ala.-based Lancaster Management Inc.

He counts the DeQueen Bee as the bestnamed newspaper he’s worked for during his three-plus decades in the business. “That is a great name,” he said. “I can’t say that I have seen a better one. I did work at one time for a paper called the Birmingham Eccentric, but it’s hard to top the DeQueen Bee.” Byrd spent the last 15 years working for Independent Newsmedia, most recently as publisher of the daily Delaware State News in Dover, Del. Prior to working in Delaware, he oversaw six newspapers owned by the same company in Florida. He has a particular affinity for community newspapers, which is why he’s excited about the opportunity to lead the Mena Star and Lancaster’s other properties in the state. “The community newspaper sector is something I’m passionate about,” he said. “You live in the community you serve. 2

It’s a connection that I find exciting and rewarding, possibly because of my own small-town roots.” Byrd grew up in Coalgate, Oklahoma, a rural community of about 2,000 people. His father, the local physician, delivered about 1,500 babies, including Byrd himself. Byrd and his wife, Pam, both graduated from the University of Oklahoma. They have been married 34 years and have two adult children. His newspaper career began in Los Angeles County, California, and he’s also worked in suburban Detroit. A place like Mena, however, is one he aspired to, saying he knew that at some point in his career he wanted “to be in a place as beautiful as Mena.” In the few weeks he’s been in Arkansas, he’s already attended a Rotary Club meeting that featured an appearance by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and met others who Continued on Page 3

August 30, 2018

‘Journalism Matters’: National Newspaper Week set for Oct. 7-13 With National Newspaper Week just a few weeks away, content and materials for newspapers to use to observe the week are now available on the National Newspaper Week website, www. NationalNewspaperWeek.com. National Newspaper Week is Oct. 7-13. This year marks the 78th annual observance of National Newspaper Week, which recognizes the work of newspapers and their employees across the country. The week is sponsored by Newspaper Association Managers and it is the only nationwide recognition of newspaper media during the year. The theme of this year’s National Newspaper Week is “Journalism Matters … Now More Than Ever.” That message has always been important, but it is particularly timely in an age in which journalists and their work are too often attacked and criticized.

Mena newspaper Continued from page 2

have relocated to Mena — like the former Dallas/Fort Worth TV reporter who now operates a bed and breakfast — because of its scenery and small-town charm. Despite its rural setting, the organization is on the leading edge of an effort to improve viability in the digital space, Byrd said, with state-of-the-art geo-targeting capabilities for advertisements. “Everyone’s talking about transforming and the need to actually make some sort of digital transformation to diversify revenue streams,” he said. The company I’m with — they’re doing that right now.” Byrd believes that traditional print advertising remains essential to his organization, particularly since many of his more rural newspaper subscribers don’t have access to broadband. Yet, advertisers continue to demand innovative solutions. His role as “chief revenue

officer,” as he describes his publisher duties, is to provide those answers. “It’s time for reformulation,” he said “I see a lot of interest in expanding and finding more targeted ways to reach people, from clients I’ve been talking to and the customers we have. … As a publisher, you have to be close to the people we serve in terms of helping them with their advertising solutions.” He acknowledges he has a responsibility to maintain a business, the Star, that’s the oldest in town. It’s served Mena since 1896. Generating new revenue and recruiting talent to work at his organization are among the obstacles. However, Byrd believes there’s a simple formula for success: “The main thing is just to continue to find ways to do things better and smarter, and be more effective, and we’ll be here for the future.”

The materials are free to newspapers. They include editorials, editorial cartoons and promotional ads. Newspapers are encouraged to use the materials but also localize the content or generate unique content to celebrate and recognize a newspaper’s own valuable position within a community. By participating in National Newspaper Week, newspapers can build support from the community at the same time papers from across the country display their united effort to strengthen the industry. Newspaper Association Managers, or NAM, is a coalition of trade organizations that represent the industry on a statewide and national basis. The Arkansas Press Association is a member of NAM.

With Byrd at the helm, The Mena Star has increased its role in the community. These photos are from Mena’s recent “Rod Run” event, where The Mena Star staff participated in and now sponsor one of the signature Mena events.

ArkLaMiss conference agenda set

Peter Wagner, a newspaper industry value to advertisers and readers. veteran and award-winning publisher will The conference kicks off Thursday, Nov. be the featured guest at the 8, with a Round Table session for annual ArkLaMiss Circulation, newspaper managers. A Friday Marketing and Audience morning Hot Ideas Exchange, Development Conference on an excellent opportunity for Nov. 8 and 9 in Vicksburg, brainstorming and discussing Circulation & Marketing Conference Mississippi. best practices, will be Wagner, of Creative House Print moderated by Dennis Dunn of Media Consultants, is publisher the Anniston Star in Alabama. of the N’West Iowa Review and The conference is at the an experienced conference AmeriStar Hotel and Casino in trainer. His sessions during the two-day Vicksburg, and attendees can receive a conference will include topics such as special room rate of $74. helping newspapers survive in the digital age, building circulation numbers and To register, and for more information, visit telling print and digital stories that add ArkLaMissConference.com.


In addition to the above National Newspaper Week logo, you will find on the website editorials, editorial cartoons, crossword puzzle features and house ads (including state specific). Arkansas Publisher Weekly


August 30, 2018

Mark Your Calendar November 8 - 9

2018 ArkLaMiss Circulation & Marketing Conference, Ameristar Casino & Hotel, Vicksburg, MS

Industry Quote of the Week “If you want to preserve ― I’m very serious now ― if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press. I hate the press ... But the fact is we need you .” – John McCain

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Former corporate counsel for Stephens Media dies at 66

Mark Hineuber, longtime corporate counsel for what became Stephens Media, died Aug. 23 after a battle with cancer. He was 66.

Hineuber was remembered by colleagues for his commitment to the newspapers and to the First Amendment. Hineuber was based in Arkansas from 1994 to 1999 before moving to Las Vegas after Stephens acquired Donrey Media Group. Rusty Turner, editor of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, was one of Hineuber’s colleagues. “He was a true believer when it came to journalism and its role in a community,” Turner said. “He really believed, like we all do, that an independent, tenacious, aggressive local newspaper was the best antidote to any sort of shenanigans or

negligence going on in local government or local institutions.” Hineuber was a product of a newspaper family. He was a native of northern Illinois, and his family owned the free weekly newspaper in the town of Rock Falls. According to an obituary in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Hineuber sold ads, wrote copy and supervised the carriers for that paper. He graduated from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago and worked for Scripps League Newspapers Inc., in San Mateo, California, before joining Donrey. He retired as Review-Journal vice president in 2016. He is survived by his wife, Maureen, and a son, Thomas.

Guest Column:

Your journalism has never been more important By Rusty Cunningham, Executive Editor, La Crosse Tribune/River Valley Media Group

Not every U.S. president has agreed with Jefferson about the importance of journalism, of course.

Canadian journalists battle for press freedoms every day, too. But as journalists, we share a passion, a mission, a quest. We search for the truth as watchdogs of the people elected and appointed to serve our citizenry. As journalists, we’re trained to keep a professional distance, to make sure we don’t become part of the story. But while we’re not the story as reporters, the importance of our work, our craft is very much the story – especially as President Trump calls journalists the “enemy of the American people.” Our theme is right on the mark: “Journalism matters. NOW more than ever.” While we’re not the story, the need for our journalism has never been more important to the people and communities we serve. It has never been more important for journalists to ask questions, scour public 4

records and investigate malfeasance. It has never been more important for journalists to expose corruption, challenge assumptions and shine a light on sexual misconduct. As journalists along the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, we’ve asked in recent months what chemicals were contained in a 10-million-gallon spill floating down a tributary. We’ve asked about a drastic increase in overdose deaths. We’ve asked why no criminal charges were filed in a boating accident in which two people died. You have your own stories to tell about the questions you ask and the journalism you produce. Make no mistake: Your journalism matters. It’s crucial that we continue to reinforce the importance of our role in society. And we’re not just watchdogs. Our journalism encourages our readers with positive stories that truly reflect the flavor of our communities. Rest assured, your journalism has never been more important. August 30, 2018

Profile for Arkansas Press Association

Arkansas Publisher Weekly: August 30, 2018  

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

Arkansas Publisher Weekly: August 30, 2018  

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