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Arkansas Times to discontinue weekly paper, publish monthly magazine Northeast Arkansas bank honors newspaper staff as “Hometown Heroes”

ARKANSAS

Ar kansas

PRESS

Publisher Weekly

Vol. 13 | No. 44 | Thursday, November 1, 2018

ASSOCIATION

Serving Press and State Since 1873

In finding success stories, Daily Record’s Bona is herself a success

In her year as publisher and editor-inchief of Little Rock’s Daily Record, Becca Bona has sought out success stories from all types of businesses to share with her readers. Perhaps one of the biggest success stories around, though, is her own.

exceeded my expectations.”

Bona is a natural in the job, said her predecessor, mentor and former Arkansas Press Association board member Jay Edwards. He said Bona is an innovative thinker and leader who has succeeded in finding new ways to appeal to the Daily Record’s readership, which is largely made up of attorneys and real estate professionals.

“It’s been a great year, and this is probably my dream job,” Bona said.

“She’s always looking for new ways to grow and new things that might interest readers,” Edwards said. “She’s perfect for that spot, and I’m glad she was available when I was ready to move along. She’s

Becca Bona

Nov. 1 marks Bona’s first anniversary as Daily Record publisher. As part of a larger redesign and restructuring, Bona has tried to focus on hyperlocal, relevant stories. She’s also put a priority on a visually appealing front page.

Bona held a “standing summer job” at the Daily Record while earning her degree at Hendrix College in Conway. Upon graduation in 2012, she took on a full-time role at the publication as business reporter and managing editor. After a stint selling advertising for AY, she returned last year to lead the paper. An English major, Bona had intended to obtain her Ph.D. and teach. She’s glad Continued on Page 2

Last chance to register for next week’s ArkLaMiss Conference The registration period for next week’s ArkLaMiss Circulation, Marketing and Audience Development Conference is ending. Arkansas Press Association members who plan to attend the conference must register now.

the goal of learning new ideas to generate new readership and revenue.

This year’s feature speaker is Peter Wagner of Creative House Print Consultants. Wagner is the publisher and founder of the N’West Iowa REVIEW and The conference is scheduled Circulation & Marketing Conference he will offer practical tips on for Thursday, Nov. 8 and Friday, building circulation, revenue Nov. 9 at the Ameristar Hotel and growth and leveraging a Casino in Vicksburg, Miss. newspaper’s public image and its community relationships. Held annually, the conference

ArkLaMiss

is intended for publishers, general managers, circulation directors and audience development professionals with

Dennis Dunn, circulation director for the Anniston (Ala.) Star, will moderate the popular “Hot Ideas” breakfast.

Attendees during the breakfast event 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. To book a hotel room for the conference at the Ameristar Hotel and Casino in Vicksburg, call (601) 638-1000. Register for the conference at: arklamissconference.wordpress.com.


Arkansas Times to discontinue weekly paper, publish monthly magazine The Arkansas Times, a weekly print tabloid published in Little Rock since 1992, will move to a monthly magazine format starting in early 2019, the publisher of the Times announced on Oct. 30. According to an email to readers and news posted on the Times’ website, arktimes.com, the publication will relaunch its website and produce a glossy monthly magazine in February 2019. The Arkansas Times has been in existence since 1974 and its first 18 years were as a monthly magazine. According to the Times’ release, it became a weekly in 1992 “to try to fill the sizable gap left when the Arkansas

Gazette closed.” The publication’s publisher and founder, Alan Leveritt, said in the announcement: “When the Times went weekly in 1992, the internet didn’t exist. At the time, the increase in frequency enabled us to better report news as well as cover upcoming cultural events. Since then, arktimes.com has become where readers go for immediacy. The Times said readers can expect a “dynamic, blazingly fast” redesigned website, with new reporting and analysis about news, politics, culture and food to complement the work of longtime Times writer Max

Brantley on the Arkansas Blog. The site will contain features that are currently a part of the weekly newspaper. According to the publication, the website will remain on a metered paywall, where users may view a certain number of articles without a subscription. The site currently has 1,600 subscribers paying $9.99 per month or $110 per year. With the magazine, Leveritt was quoted as saying that the company sees “an opportunity to fill a gap that’s excited since the Arkansas Times went weekly — the absence of a monthly general interest magazine about Arkansas that’s smart, lively, opinionated and willing to take risks.” The magazine will be distributed free of charge in more than 500 locations in central Arkansas and Hot Springs, according to the Times. The weekly edition will continue until the end of this year.

Becca Bona Continued from page 1

her career path didn’t follow the planned route.

in reading data the Daily Record provides: They are all members of the community.

“I graduated and I had this great opportunity to work with the paper still,” Bona said. “But I didn’t realize that I had what was the perfect fit … I didn’t technically study journalism, but I really do love good stories. What drives anything from marketing to good business is the story behind it.”

Edwards agreed.

The Daily Record, founded in 1925, is now actually a weekly publication that publishes a treasure trove of public information useful to its core readers — lawsuit filings, real estate transactions, legal notices and more. The newspaper is distributed in a four-county region — Pulaski, Lonoke, Faulkner, and Saline. Readership include key constituency groups like the Pulaski County Bar Association, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Alumni Association and four different realty boards. Members of those groups receive subscriptions. Bona said the various groups share a common bond aside from being interested Arkansas Publisher Weekly

“Even though it’s groups of people who are in certain professions, we do go out to business professionals, they’re still people,” he said. “They’re people involved in the community and they tend to read the same things.” That’s why the weekly paper now carries a Page 1 feature article about a community success story, like a long-established local hardware store or a Little Rock beauty industry veteran. Bona also tries to find new angles for articles on local nonprofit organizations as a means for encouraging readers to become involved with the nonprofit community. The features and their layout on the front page are drawing readers, Bona said. “We have always let the data be sort of the forefront of the paper, because that’s was the vehicle for which it was first created, but I’ve been trying hard to make sure our 2

front page is visually interesting,” she said. “People who didn’t know who we were before are now picking us up and saying, ‘What’s this about?’ That’s what you want in a print publication.” Bona has hired a few freelance reporters over the last year to help her with content creation. She’s joined on staff by a chief operating officer and a layout editor. That means Bona is the only in-house writer in addition to being publisher and editor, but she noted that smaller staffs are a trend in the industry. Edwards said he couldn’t think of anyone better to wear all those hats. He said he “knew he had somebody special” when she was an intern, and was excited to hire her back on staff after her graduation. “I felt totally comfortable in her covering large organizations for me and kind of being the face of the paper,” he said. “I’ve always had a lot of confidence in her. Her personality is to be someone who is never satisfied with doing the same thing.” November 1, 2018


Veteran Gazette Northeast Arkansas bank honors linotype operator dies newspaper staff as “Hometown Heroes” Charles Prince of Maumelle died on Tuesday, Oct. 23. He was retired from the Arkansas Gazette as a linotype operator.

Prince worked at the Gazette for 26 years before he retired in 1991. He served as president of the Local Union 92 of the International Typographical Union. According to his obituary, Prince’s hobbies included fishing, yard work and watching the Arkansas Razorbacks. Charles Prince

Survivors include his wife, Joyce Gardner Prince; sons Charles Prince of Conway and Barry Prince of Colleyville, Texas; a daughter, Andrea Seidenschwarz of Paragould; one sister; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. His funeral was Oct. 29. Burial was at Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock.

Cross County Bank, based in Wynne, last week recognized the owners and employees of the Wynne Progress and News Leader in a special advertisement honoring the community’s “Hometown Heroes.” The ad included a photo of the staff in front of the newspaper office in Wynne and listed the employees, while providing a synopsis of why the bank selected the newspaper as a Hometown Hero. The copy said: “Established in 1898 and still growing strong today makes us happy to call the Wynne Progress and News Leader our Hometown Heroes. With a small but very energetic staff, two newspapers are produced each week covering area news and advertising. They deliver the news with first class style, winning several awards yearly in the Arkansas Press (Association) competition.

“Not only does the staff cover the big news for our area, but they provide us with all the little news from coloring contest winners to picture pages of community events. You can find Editor David Owens attending meetings of all sorts around town and snapping pictures to go along with the articles. And while it is his job, he goes the extra mile, even covering events over the weekends if needed. “With so many small newspapers shutting their doors these days, it makes us even more proud to have a hometown newspaper. We salute David and Sandra Boger and the entire newspaper staff for their dedication to delivering the news to us, no matter how big or small. We wonder just how many articles have been clipped and saved over the years for keepsakes.” Congratulations to the Bogers and their newspapers for their recognition as Hometown Heroes in Cross County.

Mark Your Calendar November 8 - 9 2018 ArkLaMiss Circulation & Marketing Conference, Ameristar Casino & Hotel, Vicksburg, MS

Industry Quote of the Week “All I know is what I read in the papers.” – Will Rogers

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Guest Column: Media studies insightful, important By Chris Etheridge, Assistant Professor, UA Little Rock One of the more famous scenes of the 1977 movie “Annie Hall” for media researchers is when Woody Allen’s character, Alvy Singer, hears a man discussing the work of philosopher and media scholar Marshall McLuhan while standing in line at a movie theatre. Alvy coincidentally has McLuhan waiting behind a wall. He emerges long enough to tell the man he has completely misinterpreted the philosopher’s ideas. The scene is both uplifting in the idea that media scholarship would get such attention on a major motion picture, and frustrating in that it plays heavily on the stereotype of the gruff unapproachable professorial-type descending from the ivory tower only to explain how what you think you know is wrong – or at least mostly wrong. It makes me feel like we scholars of media can and must do better to bring our work to the professionals who work every day putting out the news, and the audiences who consume it. Unlike the fields of sociology, philosophy, chemistry, or physics, the newish scientific field of media studies remains relatively obscure. Carl Sagan, Max Weber, and Marie Curie are household names, whereas some of the most well-respected scholars of journalism and mass media are anonymous to the broader public. Yet, public scholarship about media has been an important contributor to how people make sense of the world in which we live. Walter Lippmann observed and documented the emergence of objectivity in the press after the clear indications that the New York Journal, among others, had a heavy hand in bringing the United States into World War I. His embrace of objectivity and accuracy is considered by some to have led to the foundation of Arkansas Publisher Weekly

modern journalism. Lippmann’s “Public Opinion” is a must-read for any passionate media philosopher. Around the same time, Yale University’s Harold Lasswell studied the impact of the propaganda deployed on both sides of The Great War. Decades later, after revelations of the atrocities of World War II, media scholars such as Columbia University’s Paul Lazarsfeld took the lead in trying to understand how the powerful media might have contributed to compelling so many people to complicity or active assistance in genocide in Europe. While

many of the arguments contained within Lazarsfeld “magic bullet” theory have been disconfirmed, some of those concepts were refined and have greatly aided in understanding the media’s role in democracy and the daily lives of their audience. Donald Shaw and Maxwell McCombs’ famous “Chapel Hill study” in 1968 proposed the “agenda-setting theory,” which argues that media organizations do not necessarily tell people “what to think” but do, in fact, tell people “what to think about.” These days, researchers continue to tackle important issues. George Washington University’s Nikki Usher offers a powerful look at The Gray Lady’s challenges in transitioning to digital-first publishing in “Making News at The New York Times.” Others such as Seth Lewis at the University of Oregon are attempting to understand how automation of news stories could affect many aspects of journalistic work. In the hard sciences, it’s much easier to see the contributions that research has made. The atomic bomb, manned 4

spaceflight, car safety, and the Internet are all visible and public. But no government has – or likely ever will – fund a Manhattan Project to study the creation of the next great newspaper or television station. No president will likely ever make a soaring speech about the media’s importance. Kennedy’s “We choose to go to the Moon!” doesn’t have the same rise to it if you replace it with “We choose to better understand how communication through media channels helps sustain our democratic principles!” Perhaps McLuhan’s work stood out because he knew how to market it well. “The medium is the message” is catchy and easy to understand. Scholarship has a natural propensity for dense and exhaustive writing that builds up rather than tears down barriers for entry. These walls must come down. This piece is an attempt to insert myself into this conversation (or lack thereof) between scholars of media and practitioners. As a former newspaper reporter and someone who studies community media, I am aware of the challenges that newspapers and small news organizations face throughout Arkansas. So I ask this: How might the grand resources of Arkansas’ universities help to address some of the burning questions you have about your work? I’m proposing something of an off-the-books version of a “Media Manhattan Project.” It starts with a few questions and I hope it grows into an excellent long-term conversation. What research would benefit the Arkansas Press Association and its members? Is there a study or series of studies that could make the lives of its members better or easier? What is it about your jobs or your audience that you don’t know, but would like to know? I’m eagerly awaiting your reply and excited to get to work. Maybe the next great movie director will insert me into a film someday. Chris Etheridge is an assistant professor of multimedia storytelling at UA Little Rock. He can be reached at ceetheridge@ualr. edu. November 1, 2018

Profile for Arkansas Press Association

Arkansas Publisher Weekly: November 1, 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 1, 2018  

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