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Michael Storey, ADG columnist and Otus the Head Cat columnist, dies at 69 Deadline approaching for photo contest entries



Ar kansas

Publisher Weekly


Vol. 13 | No. 41 | Thursday, October 11, 2018

Serving Press and State Since 1873

Reliable carriers are vital connection between subscribers and the news Little Rock man delivers papers like clockwork It’s 2:07 a.m. on a Thursday, though it could be 2:36 a.m. on a Tuesday or 3:23 on a random Sunday morning. It’s all the same to Danny McElroy as he secures newspapers with rubber bands with surgical precision.

At 2:21 a.m., he loads 169 freshly folded and banded newspapers into his Chevrolet Trailblazer, an SUV that’s needed two new transmissions because of the wear-andtear that a newspaper carrier’s job brings. He predicts he’ll be finished by 3:40 a.m.

Around him, two dozen or so other Arkansas Democrat-Gazette contractors are employing a routine that never changes, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The only variable is the time the truck backs into the warehouse loading dock with that day’s editions.

McElroy, 64, has been delivering the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for 19 years. Like most other carriers across the country, he is an independent contractor who doesn’t get paid for sick days, holidays or vacations. He works on Christmas, on days he has strep throat, on days when the wind chill is single digits, on days when the rain is falling in buckets and subscribers won’t abide wet newsprint.

“Mailmen get holidays and Sundays off, but we don’t get a day off,” says another contractor, though McElroy pays him no attention. The quicker he puts together his papers, the quicker he delivers, the quicker he can go back home to get some more sleep.

“I have so much respect for the men and women who come out every single day, no matter the weather, no matter how they’re Continued on Page 2

Danny McElroy sorts newspapers for his route at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette warehouse on Colonel Glenn Road in west Little Rock.

Deadline to apply for ArkLaMiss grants just two weeks away Grants to help defray the costs of registration and lodging for the annual ArkLaMiss Circulation, Marketing and Audience Development Conference remain available to Arkansas Press Association (APA) members. The Arkansas Newspaper Foundation (ANF) is providing four $200 grants to eligible attendees. The conference is Nov. 8 and 9 at the Ameristar Hotel and Casino in Vicksburg, Miss. “Every year, publishers and circulation directors leave the conference with fresh ideas and renewed enthusiasm for growing

readership and revenue,” said Ashley Wimberley, APA executive director. “Whether you’re an industry veteran or a newcomer to the business, the conference offers an opportunity to network with counterparts from other states and generate ways to improve profitability.” The ANF’s Continuing Education Grants will give preference to firsttime attendees of the ArkLaMiss conference.

Each media organization is eligible for only one grant. If all grants have not been awarded based on those criteria, awards will be offered based on the order the applications were received. To apply, visit ArkansasPress.org. Applications should be emailed to Terri Cobb at terri@arkansaspress.org no later than Thursday, Oct. 25. For more information about the grant application, email Terri or Continued on Page 3

Reliable carriers Continued from page 1

feeling,” said Stacy “Pete” Peters, the Democrat-Gazette’s circulation manager for its West Little Rock region. He noted that, with the Arkansas Gazette and the Democrat and now the Democrat-Gazette, “We have not missed a day of delivery in central Arkansas since before the Civil War. It’s primarily because we have great contractors.” As part of National Newspaper Week, the industry recognizes International Newspaper Carrier Day to honor the carriers who are the primary link between subscribers and the news they read. This year, the observance is this Saturday, Oct. 13. McElroy, said Peters, is emblematic of the other carriers who deliver on behalf of the Democrat-Gazette and newspapers elsewhere. “He cares about his customers very much, and most of our contractors are that way,” Peters said. “Even though they haven’t met these customers, they develop a relationship with them.” McElroy has worked the same neighborhood during his nearly two decades as a carrier. The only guide he needs is the headlamp wrapped around his baseball cap. No route maps or printouts or anything else that could possibly slow him down. He orchestrates his route with the skill of a maestro. On one street, it’s more efficient to get out and walk. On another, backing into one particular driveway gives him a 30-second advantage over backtracking down the street. At an apartment building, he’ll push an elevator button as soon as he walks through the door so that the car will be waiting for him by the time he delivers his first-floor papers. As an added customer-service value, Democrat-Gazette carriers deliver papers directly to porches. For McElroy, that means at least 100 brisk walks up driveways or through front yards with the car running. Fortunately, McElroy has never encountered any “crazy adventures,” though he acknowledged there is some risk. (McElroy’s colleague, Howard Shelton, was recently shot and his car was stolen while he was delivering papers in one West Little Rock neighborhood).

of the street to drink water, and I’ve seen up to 10 skunks in one night,” McElroy said. “But I’ve got things to do and so do they. They don’t bother me and I don’t bother them.” McElroy’s goal is to finish his route in less than an hour, and he’s gotten as close as an hour and six minutes, he said. He’s constantly calculating his finishing time, as it directly correlates with the amount of extra sleep he’ll get before heading to his primary job as a plumber at the Little Rock VA hospital. He leaves delivery to four seniorliving apartment buildings for last since the climate-controlled hallways give him the chance to warm up in the winter or cool down in the summer before he heads home. He reports to the VA at 7:30 a.m., so most nights he gets at least a couple hours extra rest before getting up to start work again. “It’s something different, it’s something I’ve just gotten used to doing,” McElroy said. “I’ve been doing it for so long now, it’s habit. It keeps my legs moving and keeps me more active.” Peters said nearly every contractor has another primary job and each of them most likely has a different motivation for the work. “We have a lot of contractors that, over the years, the money they earn delivering papers has just become their routine and part of the rhythm of their life,” Peters said. “That’s the difference to them in being able to live in a nicer apartment or drive a nicer car. I’ve had contractors through the years that may have a child that’s going to college and, all the sudden, they have to pay that tuition.” McElroy got his start after he agreed to help out his wife with the route. After a while, he decided he wanted to do it on his own. On occasion, his wife will ask if she can go along on the route. “I tell her no. She’ll just slow me down,” he laughed.

“Once I watched an owl land in the middle Arkansas Publisher Weekly


(Above) Elroy uses a headlamp for his early morning deliveries. (Below) Arkansas Democrat-Gazette carriers line up to receive the newspapers for their routes.

“I have so much respect for the men and women who come out every single day, no matter the weather, no matter how they’re feeling.” - Stacy Peters

October 11, 2018

ArkLaMiss Continued from page 1

call her at (501) 374-1500. Headlining the conference will be Peter Wagner, a noted speaker and expert on newspaper and promotions. Wagner, of Creative House Print Consultants, is the publisher and founder of the N’West Iowa REVIEW. His sessions will give attendees practical tips on building circulation, revenue growth and leveraging a newspaper’s public image and its community relationships. The popular “Hot Ideas” Breakfast will be moderated by Dennis Dunn, circulation director for the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Breakfast attendees will share their best revenue-generating and cost-saving tips. The conference opens at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, with a roundtable for publishers, editors and key newspaper personnel to discuss revenue, expenses, special promotions and management advice. The conference is designed to help publishers, general managers, circulation directors and audience development professionals learn great ideas for generating new readership and revenue. To register for the conference, visit ArkLaMissConference.wordpress.com. Registration is $109. To book a hotel room, call (601) 638-1000 and use the group code SARKLA8. Book by Oct. 24 to reserve the $74-per-night conference rate.

Industry Quote of the Week “When the history of the newspaper industry is written, there should be a chapter for the home carrier, who performs honest labor with excellence, in the dark, when the rest of the city is sleeping.” – Jocelyn Y. Stewart, Los Angeles Times

Michael Storey, ADG columnist and Otus the Head Cat columnist, dies at 69 Michael Storey, an associate editor and columnist for the Arkansas DemocratGazette, died Sunday, Oct. 7 at his home.

Storey’s death, Bowden wrote about the 2004 column where Otus wrote that the Interstate 30 bridge over the Arkansas River would be closed for two months to raise it to accommodate an aircraft carrier at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum. The former mayor of North Little Rock said he had to tell hotel and motel owners that the report was fictional.

The husband of Celia Storey, a Democrat-Gazette features editor, he was well-known for his weekly satirical column, “Otus the Head Cat.” He was also the newspaper’s television columnist.

“We pointed out to them to please let your membership know that Otus is a deceased cat, a fictional character,” former Mayor Patrick Hays told Bowden.

Michael Storey

A Little Rock native, he started at the Arkansas Democrat in 1977 and remained at the paper, which later became the Democrat-Gazette. He had been a copy editor and graphic designer at the paper as well. But, according to the newspaper, he was most famous for writing the Otus the Head Cat column, which first appeared in print in February 1979. Many readers failed to understand the satirical column was fiction, which meant that the paper was forced to place a disclaimer at the end of each column. In a news obituary written by the Democrat-Gazette’s Bill Bowden after

In addition to his wife, Storey is survived by a son, Ben; two grandchildren and two sisters. A memorial service was scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 11, at 6 p.m. at RollerOwens Funeral Home, 5509 JFK Blvd., in North Little Rock. In lieu of flowers, the Storey family encouraged friends to subscribe to the Democrat-Gazette.

Reminder: House ad available for this Saturday’s Newspaper Carrier Day

This Saturday, Oct. 13, is designated as International Newspaper Carrier Day. In recognition of the day honoring the people who serve as a vital link between readers and newspapers, Arkansas Press Association (APA) member papers are encouraged to print a house ad that can be downloaded for free at www. newsmediaalliance.org/ international-newspapercarrier-day/. The ad was produced by the News Media Alliance, an organization of newspaper association executives of which the APA is a part. The house ad features a photo of a

Arkansas Publisher Weekly

“He sure did provide a lot of smiles to us for many years,” Hays said of Storey and Otus. “A twinkle in the eyes of the Democrat-Gazette and certainly in the eyes of his readers -- now there will be tear instead of a twinkle.”


carrier delivering papers, and it notes that carriers “continue to play a critical role in providing Americans with the most trusted source of news coverage on the issues impacting our community and nation.” Without our hard-working carriers, many people would never receive the news. The observance coincides with National Newspaper Week, which ends on Saturday. The theme of this year’s week, the 78th annual observance, was “Journalism Matters: Now More than Ever.” More than 120 million adults read a daily or Sunday print newspaper. October 11, 2018

Deadline approaching for photo contest entries Dumas Clarion ad manager passes away The deadline for submitting an entry p e o p l e or its scenery and natural Joseph “Jerry” aka “Condor” Lawrence of Dumas died Friday, Oct. 5, in Dumas. He was 68. Lawrence had been advertising manager at the Jerry Lawrence Dumas Clarion for eight years. He was owner of Freeman’s Furniture in Dumas for 16 years. Lawrence was born in Little Rock and was the son of the late Jay D. and Mary Agnes Kellogg Lawrence. He attended the First United Methodist Church in Dumas, was a 1968 graduate of McGehee High School and attended Arkansas A&M (now UAM) and Arkansas Tech. Survivors include his wife of 40 years, Diane Rowland Lawrence of Dumas; one daughter, Heather Lawrence-Harris; and two grandsons. The family asks that memorials be made to First United Methodist Church, 230 Court St., Dumas, AR 71639; The Jodie Partridge Center, P.O. Box 643, Dumas, AR 71639; or Delta Memorial Hospital, Project Committee, P.O. Box 519, Dumas, AR 71639. Arrangements were by Griffin Funeral Home in Dumas. To sign the online guestbook, visit www.griffinfh.com.

in the Arkansas Press Associations (APA)annual photo contest is coming up Nov. 1. An APA member or associate member can win a $100 prize if his or her entry is selected. The winning photo will appear on the cover of the APA’s 2019 Arkansas Media Directory.



Media Directory s Ass o c i a t i o n Arkansas Pres

The contest is geared toward any photographer - professional or amateur — who has an eye for capturing iconic images that represent Arkansas’s

APAExecutive DirectorAshley Wimberley encouraged member newspapers and organizations to participate in the contest. Entries will be judged by a panel. In addition to the $100 first prize, second place will receive $50 and third place $25.

The photos should be high resolution to reproduce well on the Directory cover. Submit photos to info@arkansaspress.org.

2019 Arkansas Press Women/NFPW communications contest open for entries The 2019 Arkansas Press Women (APW)/ National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest is open for entries. The contest is a two-tiered state and local competition open to anyone over the age of 18, regardless of gender or professional status.

To learn more about the contest and specific rules, visit www.nfpw.org/ professional-contest-2/ for details. Entry fees for APW members are $15 for the first entry and $10 for each additional members. Nonmembers pay $30 for the first entry and $20 for each additional entry. No paper entries are accepted.

Arkansas first-place winners are eligible to advance to the national competition. To avoid late fees, submit all entries by Jan. 9, 2019. Categories cover a variety of areas: Writing, editing and page design, photography and graphics, radio and television, web and social media, advertising, public relations/ promotions/publicity, PR materials, information for the media, speeches and collegiate/education. The NFPW website has specific guidelines for entries in a total of 61 categories. The APW contest director is Helen Plotkin. Reach her by email at haplotkin@ outlook.com.

UALR scholarships available to aspiring journalists

More than a dozen scholarships are available for students in the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Mass Communication who are pursuing careers in the newspaper industry. The scholarships, many of them funded by non-university sources or organizations, are competitive grants available annually for students to apply for during the spring semester. Applications are available online or at the School of Mass Communications office. The deadline to apply for the scholarships is typically in mid-March, with winners announced in April. The scholarships available include but are not limited to: Arkansas Publisher Weekly

• The Herbert and Gertrude Latkin Scholarship, a $2,000 scholarship designed for graduate and undergraduate journalism students who need financial assistance. • Edith Wood Sweezy Memorial Scholarships in Journalism, two scholarships designated for students interested in practicing print journalism in Arkansas or the South and have a 3.0 or better GPA. • Gov. Orval E. Faubus Scholarship, named for the former governor and publisher of the Madison County Record and designated for a journalism major. • The


Democrat-Gazette 4

Scholarship, designated for students with at least a sophomore standing who are interested in newspaper journalism.

• W.K. Rutherford FOI Scholarship, awarded to a student with professional skills who is active in journalism organizations and interested in freedom of information. Many other scholarships named for Arkansas organizations or individuals are also available. The School of Mass Communication offers graduate assistantships, internships, student jobs and work study programs as well. For more information, visit www.ualr.edu/ masscomm/scholarships/. October 11, 2018

Guest Column:

Another newspaper means more opportunity By Peter Wagner, Founder/publisher of The N’West Iowa REVIEW My family’s publishing company, Iowa Information, purchased the Hawarden Independent/Ireton Examiner and the Area Wide Ad-Vertiser the first of this month. That’s the fourth paid circulation newspaper and third free circulation Shopper we’ve either started or acquired. My wife and I started our Golden Shopper right out of college in 1962. We had no print advertising or actual printing experience. Next came The N’West Iowa REVIEW, a regional newspaper established in 1972. Except for what we had learned the 10 years publishing our Golden Shopper, neither of us had any experience in the newspaper business. That might have been our greatest strength. We had no idea of what couldn’t be done or shouldn’t be done. We didn’t know, for example, that there was an unwritten agreement between community newspapers to stay out of each other’s towns. We managed to hang on by selling advertising all across the region. There have been more than a few who’ve asked me why we continue to purchase and publish community newspapers. “Don’t you know the newspaper business is dying?” they say.

almost anywhere, learn who invented the combustible engine and list the names of all 100 senators currently in office. There is no other media that cares that much about the town or the people of the town as the newspaper. The hometown newspaper – paid or free circulation - is the community’s most credible news and information source. The local paper reports the news and delivers information about the best local deals as conveniently and completely as possible without comment. There have been a few who have suggested we will eventually shut down the Independent/Examiner and force readers to subscribe instead to our regional N’West Iowa REVIEW. That, of course, is ridiculous. There is a need for both a regional paper like the Saturday REVIEW and the community papers we publish during the middle of the week. The REVIEW addresses regional issues that affect or could affect all the communities in our corner of Iowa. Our local papers, as well as those published by others in the area, amplify the local connection to those regional reports while it shares additional information especially important to that community.

Local newspapers continue to be the first writers of local history. They continue to be the archives of people’s lives and organizational changes. All of our family, and those who work with us Iowa Information, are thankful to be in a position to publish so many area newspaper, shopper, specialty publications and magazines in our part of Iowa. We plan to continue to publish news and advertising papers, for the good of the community, for many years to come. Peter W. Wagner is founder and publisher of the award winning N’West Iowa REVIEW and 13 additional publications. This free monthly GET REAL newsletter is written exclusively for State and National Press Associations and distributed by them to their members. To get Wagner’s free PAPER DOLLARS email newsletter for publishers, editors and sales managers email him at pww@iowainformation.com. The two monthly email newsletters contain information completely different than found in Wagner’s monthly Publisher’s Auxiliary column. Wagner can be contacted by emailing pww@iowainformation.com or calling his cell at 712-348-3550.

“Don’t you know the need for and importance of local hometown newspapers?” I respond. Who else but the local newspaper reports all the scores from last weekend’s youth baseball tournament, keeps a tight watch on what is happening at city hall, writes a heart-warming story about a local lady celebrating her 103rd birthday or pens the much-needed editorial creating consensus for repaving main street? The nearby television station won’t. It covers too wide of an area with too little real broadcast time for such details. The local radio station can’t. It would be too big a job for their one- or two-person news department. Between our offices we have 12 people in our newsrooms. True, the internet has brought many changes to the way people get the news today. It offers communication opportunities not before available in small town America. A person can go on the internet and find a good recipe, check the temperature Arkansas Publisher Weekly


October 11, 2018

Profile for Arkansas Press Association

Arkansas Publisher Weekly: October 11, 2018  

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

Arkansas Publisher Weekly: October 11, 2018  

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