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The Arkansas

Publisher Arkansas Press Association | Volume 92 | 2nd Quarter | 2018

Published Since 1927


In This

Issue

4 Column 6 Column Byron Tate The President’s

The Publisher’s

Ashley Wimberley

11

Feature

8 Rusty Fraser Upcoming Events Past President Feature

June 28 - 30 APA SuperConvention, Inn of the Ozarks, Eureka Springs

July 4 Independence Day - APA Office Closed 2 | The Arkansas Publisher

Saline Courier, Benton

On the

Cover

Dawn breaks at Mississippi River State Park, by Nancy Kemp.


The Arkansas

Publisher Published Since 1927

Published quarterly as the official publication of the Arkansas Press Association. Ashley Wimberley, Publisher Ashley Wallace, Graphic Designer 411 South Victory | Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-2932 (501) 374-1500 | www.ArkansasPress.org

2016 - 2017 Officers Byron Tate, President Sheridan Headlight

Tom White, Vice President Advance Monticellonian, Monticello

John Bland, Second Vice President Times-Dispatch, Walnut Ridge Nat Lea, Immediate Past President WEHCO Media Inc., Little Rock

14

Profile

Kelly Freudensprung

2016 - 2017 Board Members Rusty Turner Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Fayetteville Ellen Kreth Madison County Record, Huntsville Sue Silliman Camden News

Lori Freeze Stone County Leader, Mountain View

Eliza Gaines Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock

Past President’s Advisory Council (Living Past Presidents)

16 Jan & Dennis Schick Feature

Nat Lea, 2017; Rusty Fraser, 2016; Mary Fisher, 2015; Bob Moore, 2014; Frank Fellone, 2013; Don Bona, 2012; Britt Talent, 2011; Barney White, 2010; Roy Ockert, Jr., 2009; Bill Hager, 2007; David Cox, 2006; Jeff Christenson, 2005; Mike Brown, 2004; Charles Berry, 2001; Buddy King, 2000; Mark Magie, 1999; Ron Wylie, 1996; Pat Jones, 1995; Steve Trolinger, 1994; Ron Kemp, 1993; Jane Christenson, 1991; Eddie Telford, 1990; Derwood Brett, 1989; David Fisher, 1987; Louie Graves, 1986; Bill Whitehead Jr., 1982; Charlotte Schexnayder, 1981; Jay Jackson, 1968.

2nd Quarter - 2018


President I

f you haven’t noticed, it’s getting tough out there to be a journalist.

Most of my career has been in the newsroom, and while Byron Tate some of APA Board President the content for these columns has been from the perspective of a publisher navigating revenues and audience development, etc., I want to return to the newsroom for what will be my final screed as APA president. I was on vacation and really trying not to consume a lot of the day-to-day national news items that found their way to my inbox. But there it was – a headline from The Washington Post: “EPA spokesman to reporter: ‘You’re a piece of trash.’” How can you not read that? It would be a safe description to say that EPA chief Scott Pruitt has been embattled on a variety of ethical fronts. That status for Pruitt only came about because reporters have been doing their jobs in digging into his past and his emails, following up on other paper trails, talking to sources, and in the end, allowing politicians and regular flagwaving Americans decide if his behavior is acceptable. To list what has been uncovered about Pruitt would be to fill this space with nothing else. Instead, let’s look at a few instances of how reporters have been treated when they asked for public information from the EPA about Pruitt. It gets ugly. As the Post said, the “’trash’ comment “represents only a natural extension of (Pruitt’s) office’s previous interactions with reporters seeking information from the EPA’s press office.” • As the Post noted, and I quote: • The EPA barred certain outlets from a

4 | The Arkansas Publisher

summit at the EPA building, including an AP reporter:

“When the reporter asked to speak to an EPA public-affairs person, the security guards grabbed the reporter by the shoulders and shoved her forcibly out of the EPA building,” reported the AP. • The EPA used a press release to unleash a personal attack on the AP’s Michael Biesecker for ... reporting the news. • The EPA banished Biesecker from its master email list: “He’s more than welcome to visit our website,” said an EPA official. • The EPA gave this comment to the New York Times for an investigative story: “No matter how much information we give you, you would never write a fair piece. The only thing inappropriate and biased is your continued fixation on writing elitist clickbait trying to attack qualified professionals committed to serving their country.” • The EPA press office scolded New York Times reporter Eric Lipton as he sought confirmation on personnel news. “If you want to steal work from other outlets and pretend like it’s your own reporting that is your decision,” noted Wilcox.” • The EPA wouldn’t confirm to a Times reporter that Pruitt would be appearing in Hazard, Ky., to announce a major policy initiative. And really, what incentive does the EPA’s Wilcox have to behave better? President Trump routinely denigrates reporters and whole newsgathering organizations that dare report “fake news” – also known as news he doesn’t like. The same goes for Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the president’s mouthpiece. We can’t imagine either of those two calling up Wilcox to tell him to cool it. On the contrary, he probably gets high fives! That is but a small slice of what journalists for newspapers, television and radio stations (think NPR) have been up against in doing their jobs.

If the goal is to erode the public’s trust in the media, the almost daily drumbeat of disrespect appears to be doing the job. A Gallup survey released this year found that 84 percent of respondents believe that the news media are “critical” or “very important” to our democracy, but far fewer believe the media are actually fulfilling that role. And like everything else, the two ends of the political spectrum are as far apart on this subject as almost any other. Exactly half of Democrats, according the survey, said the media was doing a good or very good job in supporting democracy, while only 10 percent of Republicans felt that way. At the other end, 17 percent of Democrats said the media was doing a poor or very poor job in that regard, while a whopping 69 percent of Republicans said as much. Independents fall in between. Things are different for most of us working in the newspaper business in Arkansas. I would venture that most public officials are more happy than sad to see a reporter at their meetings and that readers – no matter their political leaning – look forward to picking up a local newspaper each day or week. Not that we of small or medium size can’t get into a good snarl with elected leaders or government types in the course of gathering news. If anything, the presence of a smart, inquisitive reporter is the best safeguard that something untoward isn’t going on at city hall. But those getting nothing but a snarl from Washington types are our kin. Some we don’t claim, necessarily, but taken as a whole – and despite everything -- they are holding the line – and always have – against anarchy. We root for them and their publications in the knowledge that if they fall, there are not as many reinforcements available as there used to be to step into the breach. They are to be supported, held in high esteem, because as they go, so may we. To paraphrase the oft-mimicked WW II British motivational phrase: Keep Calm – But Not So Much.

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Publisher A

Ashley Wimberley APA Executive Director

s this year’s Arkansas Press Association (APA) SuperConvention draws near, my mind is filled with great memories of the people I’ve known, the good work we’ve accomplished together and the fun of being with my APA family. Though this will be my first SuperConvention as APA executive director, I’ve been attending the annual event just about my entire life – as an APA employee and as a child with my parents.

Here’s a tidy explanation from the article for the relationship between hard-nosed local reporters and revenue bonds:

winds up hurting them. The city feels poorer, politically and culturally.”

Newspapers are still relevant and are viewed as extremely credible. Anyone can write a blog. Anybody can post anything online. But there’s no quality control. However, when someone picks up a newspaper they know it is professionally written. While the Internet promotes isolationism, newspapers promote community.

“Revenue bonds are commonly issued to finance local projects such as schools and hospitals, and are backed by the revenues generated by those projects. General obligation bonds, on the other hand, are typically used to finance public works projects such as roadways and parks, and are backed by local taxes and fees. Revenue I am so proud of my lifelong association with bonds should be subject to greater scrutiny the newspaper industry. Many things have because of the free cash flows that those changed over the years, but our dedication projects generate, and these bonds are to inform the public holds steadfast. rarely regulated by the state government. A Newspapers are the lifeblood of our local newspaper provides an ideal monitoring communities and are crucial communications, agent for these revenue-generating projects, especially in the digital age. Newspapers as mismanaged projects can be exposed continue to focus on maintaining integrity, by investigative reporters employed by the being trustworthy and accurate, balanced, local newspaper. When a newspaper closes, fair and timely. This year’s convention theme, this monitoring mechanism also ceases to “Press On,” signifies our intention to continue exist, leading to a greater risk that the cash the legacy of print media. flows generated by these projects will be mismanaged.” I recently read an article on citylab.com entitled “The Hidden Costs of Losing In addition to monitoring local government, Your City’s Newspaper.” The lede read: community newspapers keep citizens “When local newspapers shut their doors, informed about local events and elections, communities lose out.” That is so true. new businesses in town, school and church activities, job opportunities and obituaries. It went on to read: “People and their Advertising in community newspapers stories can’t find coverage. Politicos take is an essential economic factor for local liberties when it’s nobody’s job to hold them businesses. accountable. What the public doesn’t know

Researchers who tracked the decline of local news outlets between 1996 and 2015 found cities where newspapers closed saw increases in government costs as a result of the lack of scrutiny over local deals. Chang Lee, assistant professor of finance at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said existing research indicates there are political consequences, or political outcomes, when local newspapers close. “But that’s not really a direct impact on local residents,” Lee said. “We wanted to show that, if you look at the municipal bond market, you can actually see the financial consequences that have to be borne by local citizens as a result of newspaper closures.”

6 | The Arkansas Publisher

As an industry we must continue to give our readers what they need and want in the face of challenging times. We will continue to have to adapt to doing things differently, but at the end of the day, our goal will always be to focus on maintaining integrity, being trustworthy and accurate, balanced, fair and timely. And that makes me proud to be a newspaper person.

2nd Quarter - 2018


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Feature

APA Past President

Rusty Fraser still working on a lifetime newspaper career When Rusty Fraser is asked if he’s been in newspapers his whole life, he says, “Well, not yet.” The 76-year-old publisher of the Stone County Leader in Mountain View will receive a Golden 50 Service Award at the upcoming Arkansas Press Association (APA) SuperConvention to mark his 50-plus years in the newspaper business. He has no plans to retire, although he says he doesn’t work as hard as he used to because of his experienced staff, including four full-time editorial positions at a weekly with 4,200 circulation. Fraser was president of the APA just a couple of years ago and believes APA is more important than ever. “I’ve made lots of good friends, close friends, through APA, and the networking continues to be valuable today. Sharing our problems, keeping up with the changes in the profession and taking advantage of the excellent training are big reasons why,” he said.

During his career he’s seen difficult transitions from hot type to cold type to digital. Though many Fraser receiving the first place Sweepstakes Award for the Baxter Bulletin in blame problems in today’s newspaper industry on 1976 from Bill Woods of Hazen. the Internet, Fraser is not so sure technology is always the culprit. He recalls that in the 1970s he from Montgomery to the Baxter Bulletin in Mountain paid about $2,000 each month for film and chemistry for Home. There have been many awards in his career, but his cold type operation. That cost went away when he the one that brings him the most pride is a Sigma Delta moved to digital. Chi (now SPJ) Freedom of Information award marking The Baxter Bulletin’s 5-2 Arkansas Supreme Court Fraser started as a paperboy for the Troy Messenger in Troy, Alabama. When his parents moved to Montgomery, decision that allowed him to attend meetings at the county-owned Baxter General Hospital back in the late he delivered papers for the afternoon Alabama Journal. ‘70s. During college at the University of Alabama, he worked summers for the Montgomery Advertiser Journal in the dispatch department. He was the liaison between the union composing room and the non-union advertising department. He served in the Air National Guard for 11 years, and during that time started his full-time career with the Advertiser Journal as a classified ad salesman. Fraser believes his biggest break in journalism was working with Harold E. Martin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning publisher of the Advertiser Journal and former ethics professor at the University of Florida. The multi media chain moved Fraser and his wife Neal

8 | The Arkansas Publisher

Though the hospital brought in big-gun attorneys, Fraser and The Baxter Bulletin triumphed in acquiring access to meetings of a committee of the county judge-appointed hospital board. “No one thought we could win the case, and it took more than two years. But we won. It was a matter of principle.” Martin, whom Fraser considers a fearless newspaper genius, began working with the Jefferson Pilot Publishing chain in the early ‘80s. He persuaded Fraser to sign on as publisher at the Mineral Wells Index. There the staff uncovered a letter that the mayor of Mineral Wells had written to a private security firm inviting


them to open a detention facility for illegal aliens on the property inside the city limits owned by the mayor’s boss at the now-defunct Republic Bank of Texas. “It turned out the plan was for the mayor’s boss to lease the land for $1 million a year,” Fraser said. “We decided to run the letter with a six-column banner headline. You can’t smuggle a prison into town with a flagrant conflict of interest and not expect consequences. The mayor resigned, and a new at-large city council member was elected in a referendum.” When the Index was running in the black after two years, it was sold and Fraser lost his job. But he received a sizable payment that allowed him to buy the Stone County Leader where he’s worked the past 33 years. Mountain View, with a population of 2,700, has experienced big hits to its economy in the past 15 years, such as plant closings that led to 500 fewer jobs. New companies like Excel Boats and a bustling tourism industry are working to pull the town back to prosperity. When a local grocery store closed, the Leader lost a weekly four-color double truck ad. “We lost more than just the ad revenue; there is a loss of readership from the popular grocery ads,” Fraser said. “Rather than cut back on staff when we lost that ad, I decided to hire the general manager of the store as an ad rep.” While many are looking to get rid of classified sections because of competition online, Fraser runs free nonbusiness classified ads for subscribers, a policy that has gained him many subscribers and a robust classified section that boosts reader interest. The Leader operates an online publication protected by a firewall. A few years back, his newspaper won six consecutive APA first place awards for general excellence before moving up to the next size category. “For a county this remote and sparsely populated, those awards were gratifying,” Fraser said. “I’m also very proud of the editorial cartoon award won by the late Ed Schuh and this year’s Sweepstakes Award for advertising.” Continuing to strive for excellence is second nature to Fraser. He believes that 100 percent local news is the key to small town newspapers remaining viable in the future. “That was my philosophy in 1985 and it continues today. There is no reason to buy a local newspaper to get national and international news you can see on the Internet or broadcast,” he said. In counting his larger-than-average editorial staff, Fraser decides to count himself when he remembers that in addition to taking photos like all his staff members do, he also has police reporter duty. He continues to work because he loves the newspaper business. “It’s been a fun ride,” Fraser said. And that ride is not over yet.

(Above) Fraser with his first place Sweepstakes Award at the 2018 APA Ad Conference awards presentation.. (Below) Rusty at the Baxter Bulletin 1981.

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Homegrown Journalism By Frank Fellone

Josh Briggs, editor of The Saline Courier, is as homegrown as backyard tomatoes. He grew up in Haskell, graduated from Harmony Grove High School, and in 2011 earned his bachelor’s degree in mass media from Henderson State University in nearby Arkadelphia. He’s worked at The Courier ever since, and became editor about a year and a half ago. What’s in the newspaper is homegrown, too. “I want to have 100 local faces a week, and we hit that easily,” Briggs said in his office at the newspaper’s building in downtown Benton. “We give Saline County the local content that can’t be found anywhere else. You can’t pick up an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette or Hot Springs Sentinel-Record and get what you get here. I want to be the go-to source for news of Saline County.” To that end, Briggs said, “we hover about 9095 percent local copy in our newspaper every week.” Headlines from several recent issues of The Courier testify to that mission, and run the gamut. “Police seize guns, drugs from Benton home.” “Lunch to benefit Single Parent Scholarship Fund.”

2nd Quarter - 2018

“Benton soccer seniors victorious on Sr. Night.” “Allegations brought against local daycare. Parents, teachers, question competency of director.” “Saline Health Foundation to host annual shopping event.” Many of these stories are accompanied by photos, all of which add up to that 100 local faces and names a week. Wire copy is scant. Even the editorial page features staff work. “I like for everyone to write columns for the editorial page,” Briggs said. “Making your voice heard is critical for our readers. My No. 1 goal is to be an all-local newspaper as possible, and I think we’re doing a really good job.” Briggs gets this done with the help of four newsroom staffers — reporters Elisha Morrison, Dana Guthrie, Sarah Perry and sports editor Tony Lenahan. Another recent helper was intern and Bryant High School student Alexis Burch. W.A. Webber would be proud. He started the newspaper as the Saline County Digest in 1876, in a building that was previously a saloon and later the county jail. The Courier name was adopted in 1883, and the newspaper is the oldest continually operated business in Saline County.

The Arkansas Publisher | 11


Webber had the distinction of being president of the Arkansas Press Association in 1885. His newspaper’s motto was “Challenge Those Who Berate Progressive Arkansas of Today.” Webber also ran at least three other newspapers in Arkansas, including the Maryhattianna Herald in Marion County. Twentieth century owners and publishers included L.B. White and Sam Hodges, the latter both senior and junior. Hodges Jr. turned the newspaper into a daily in 1970. The Courier is currently owned by Horizon Publications Inc., which owns dailies and weeklies in 17 states. Its other property in Arkansas is the Malvern Daily Record. Circulation of The Courier, publisher Kelly Freudensprung said, is about 4,000. The Courier is published in the afternoon Monday through Friday, and in the morning on Saturday and Sunday. Circulation is steady, Freudensprung said, adding that he’s fortunate to have an experienced circulation manager in Glen Waits, who previously worked in Hot Springs and Lubbock, Texas. “That’s where I started, in circulation,” Freudensprung said. “It’s important to have someone who knows how to grow circulation.” A mainstay of the newspaper is production manager Ricky Walters. He started working the press at Malvern in 1979, and after 14 years both he and the press moved to Benton. Walters prints both Malvern and Benton newspapers, plus several high school and college newspapers. His first boss at Malvern said it would take six months to learn the job, Walters said. “Literally, in six months he said to me, here.” The press job, he said, “was supposed to be temporary until I found something better. That was a long temporary.” Walters has seen many backshop changes in 39 years. So many, he said, “it’s really hard to keep up with.” Something that never changes is the need to be efficient. When interviewed, Walters was using tape to splice small rolls of newsprint into big rolls. The Courier is part of Saline County’s history, and the newspaper’s own history is preserved in its building. Some that is the room full of bound volumes dating back decades. More history resides in the numerous editorial cartoons hanging from the walls and drawn by the late Ron Meyer. His widow offered the newspaper the cartoons, Freudensprung said, and he was happy to accept. Some of those cartoons are mounted on old contest plaques from the APA. More are spread out on a table in an upstairs room, and a few grace the drawing table where Meyer worked. So intertwined is The Courier with Saline County that the newspaper has a state historical plaque outside its building. (Above) From left are Elisha Morrison, Dana Guthrie, Sarah Perry and Alexis Burch. (Middle) Josh Briggs, editor of The Saline Courier. (Below) Ricky Walters, production manager of The Saline Courier.

12 | The Arkansas Publisher

The Courier, the plaque says, “has chronicled the births, deaths, achievements and failures, triumphs and tragedies of the people of Saline County” for a long, long time. Still does.


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Do New Things By Frank Fellone Kelly Freudensprung started his newspaper career as a janitor. Also a newspaper carrier. And an inserter. Not to mention working in the mailroom and rising to circulation office clerk. That’s how it was back in the day, the day being 1981, the place being Nacogdoches, Texas, the guy being an underfunded college student working his way through Stephen F. Austin State University. The newspaper was the Daily Sentinel, located in the piney woods of East Texas. “A lady in the accounting office cleaned the newspaper offices and got paid for it,” Freudensprung said in an interview at The Saline Courier in downtown Benton, where he’s publisher. “I would do anything I could for extra money.” He was also, he said, the fasted inserter, paid by the piece and working alongside the ladies who smoked unfiltered cigarettes. “You do what you can to make money when you’re a poor college student.” That work ethic paid off, fast, when the newspaper’s general manager, Ferris Fain, promoted Freudensprung to circulation director in 1982. But only under the condition he stay in school. Freudensprung stuck with both school and work, graduating in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in management and staying with the Daily Sentinel until 1989. What was the most important thing he learned back there at the Daily Sentinel? “Marketing, marketing, marketing,” he said. “Trial and error. Try new things constantly and don’t be afraid to do new things.” He recalled going door to door in the dorms on campus, tying a newspaper to a balloon and leaving them outside those doors. “I had a helium tank in my office for six months.” He recalled putting postage-paid postcards in single copies of the Daily Sentinel, with the expectation that some readers would send in the postcard and become subscribers. “It costs money to do that.”

14 | The Arkansas Publisher

Kelly Freudensprung

“...Try new th constantly a afraid to do n


hings and don’t be new things.”

Freudensprung still has the energy and enthusiasm for circulation and promotion, as evidenced by a bum elbow that temporarily keeps him from golf and tennis. He did something to that elbow lifting too much and doing too much at a local Chamber of Commerce function. The Courier publishes seven days a week — afternoons Monday through Friday, and mornings on Saturday and Sunday. The afternoon cycle is by design, because even though The Courier isn’t exactly in head-to-head competition, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the state’s largest newspaper, is only 25 miles away. “In the afternoon, we can deliver to businesses before they close, and be in people’s driveways when they get home.” All this work is done with a newsroom staff of five people: Editor Josh Briggs, three reporters and a sports editor. “You’ve got to be everywhere to sell subscriptions,” Freudensprung said, and that included a recent local golf tournament. “As you know, it’s not as easy as it used to be.” “We have to let a lot of people know what we’re doing. That means local, local, local. “Our goal is 100 faces and names a week. With a small newsroom staff that’s not easy, but our five people can be a lot of places in a week.” People who’ve been around Arkansas newspapers for a while know The Saline Courier was, for much of its life, the Benton Courier. The name change came about in 2010, under a different publisher, when a newspaper in Bryant folded. Freudensprung came to town in 2014, and learned that some people in Benton didn’t like the change. “It alienated some Benton folks,” he said. “I heard about it from the mayor the first week I was here. I call it The Courier. We serve the county. Our core is Benton, but we’d like to expand our core.” Part of the story of The Courier has been the turnover in publishers, Freudensprung said. In contrast, he’s put down roots. “People said we’ll see if you’re here in a year,” he said. “If you’re going to make a home here, buy a home here,” he sad. “Be involved. You don’t have to be but should be. It says you’re part of the community.” To that end, Freudensprung is president of the Benton-Bauxite Rotary Club, is on the board of directors of the Benton Area Chamber of Commerce, and has several other related activities on his hastily compiled resume. His wife, Amanda, teaches seventh-grade English at Benton Middle School; their daughter, Beth, is 12. Stops along Freudensprung’s career path include Maryville, Missouri; Waco, Texas; and Mountain Home. Living and working in small towns suits him, he said, something he learned in two years in circulation at the Dallas Times-Herald. The newspaper at that time — 1989-1991 — was in an intense competition with the Dallas Morning News. Freudensprung, as a state circulation zone manager, wore a suit and tie, but also drove a truck to Shreveport, La., at least once a week to load and unload 16 newspaper racks. “I ruined my back in the process.” Two years was enough. “It was lying and cheating” about circulation numbers, he said. “Both sides, I’m sure, were doing it.” Freudensprung concluded: “I just wasn’t happy in the big city.” The small-town guy will turn 59 in June, and knows at least one challenge ahead of him. “I have a 12-year-old daughter, so I better be a spring chicken. She’ll either kill me or keep me young.”

2nd Quarter - 2018


Feature

APA Special

Dennis and Jan Schick teamed up to serve APA for 25 years When APA board president Fred Wulfekuhler of Paragould asked the leaders of both the Oklahoma and Texas Press Association who they recommended to manage the Arkansas Press Association back in 1979, they both came up with the same name – University of Texas professor C. Dennis Schick. “At the first meeting of the board, I told them I needed a secretary and my wife needed to work,” Dennis said. “Since 9 of the 11 members worked with their wives, it was hard for them so say no. From then on Jan and I worked as a team.” For the next 25 years, the Schicks devoted their working days (and many weekends and evenings) to making the newspaper business in Arkansas better, despite the challenge of changing times. They made lifelong relationships with other newspaper families, and to this day enjoy getting together with friends like Patsy and Jay Jackson, retired publisher of the Van Buren County Democrat in Clinton. “So many of us traveled together to National Newspaper Association meetings,” Dennis recalled. “We got to know each other and their families; we watched their children grow up.”

The Schicks have three children and four grandchildren who all live in the Little Rock area. During the APA years, the children often could be found with their parents stuffing convention packets or making plaques. They coordinated two APA conventions each year until their 2004 retirement. Dennis and Jan worked with excellent APA committees to develop locations from West Memphis to Eureka Springs and Hot Springs to Little Rock. They pulled in keynote speakers from Miss America to Razorback football coach Lou Holtz to build attendance and chose topics for 8-12 workshops a year that included instruction on the newest trends and technologies. “One memorable event was a luncheon in the rotunda of the Capitol celebrating the 125th Anniversary,” said Jan. “People loved the food and the festivities. Dennis dressed as a town crier and handed out a special newspaper.” The event also served as the premiere of a 20-minute film about community newspapers. Of their many accomplishments during the 25-year stint, Dennis mentioned these: APA owns its own building at 411 South Victory in Little Rock, the second building purchased in his tenure. Prior to his arrival, APA rented offices. A Freedom of Information hotline was developed for APA members to call with questions. A Freedom of Information Coalition was formed to protect the law. A no-cost legal hotline was established to answer members’ legal questions. APA’s staff lobbied at the State Capitol on behalf of issues important to members. Annual receptions with the APA board and sitting governors so that

16 | The Arkansas Publisher


they could talk one-on-one. Helping newspapers keep up with rapidly changing technology. Today, Dennis and Jan spend a lot of time on choir and other activities at Lakewood United Methodist Church in North Little Rock. Dennis renewed his interest in magic, an activity of his childhood, during an APA trip to New Orleans. He uses his journalistic talents to edit the international magic newsletter, The Linking Ring. They both say that there is always something that needs doing inside or outside the home where they’ve lived for 38 years. “You work so you can retire and do nothing. So, it’s okay if, once in a while, Jan and I can’t remember accomplishing anything that day,” Dennis said. Those who know them well, will know those days are few. Dennis still writes occasionally for the National Newspaper Association and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He’s always looking for writing projects – especially those that pay. He still gets up and reads the newspaper each morning and believes there is a major role for newspapers in the lives of our communities. “Newspaper people in general are hard-working, love their community, love what they do and work hard to put out good newspapers that serve their communities,” Schick said. “We were proud to be a part of that.”

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The Arkansas

Publisher

Arkansas Press Association 411 South Victory Little Rock, AR 72201-2932

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Profile for Arkansas Press Association

The Arkansas Publisher: Second Quarter - 2018  

The only magazine dedicated to news of Arkansas' newspaper industry. This quarterly publication is a retrospective look at each season's maj...

The Arkansas Publisher: Second Quarter - 2018  

The only magazine dedicated to news of Arkansas' newspaper industry. This quarterly publication is a retrospective look at each season's maj...