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The Arkansas

Publisher Arkansas Press Association | Volume 93 | Winter Edition | 2018/19

Published Since 1927


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In This

Issue

4 | The President’s Column, Tom White 6 | The Publisher’s Column, Ashley Wimberley 8 | Feature: Dennis Anyone? 10 | Profile: APA Museum

12 | Looking Back: APA’s year in 2018 12 | January and February

13 | March 14 | April and May 15 | June 16 | July and August 17 | September, October and November 18 | December

The Arkansas

Publisher Published Since 1927

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

2017 - 2018 Officers Tom White, President Advance Monticellonian, Monticello John Bland, Vice President Times-Dispatch, Walnut Ridge

Rusty Turner, Second Vice President Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Fayetteville Byron Tate, Immediate Past President Sheridan Headlight

2017 - 2018 Board Members

Upcoming

Events

March 7 - 8 2019 APA Advertising Conference and Better Newspaper Advertising Awards Embassy Suites, Little Rock June 26 - 29 2019 APA Convention and Better Newspaper Editorial Awards Hotel Hot Springs

Ellen Kreth Madison County Record, Huntsville Sue Silliman Camden News

Lori Freeze Stone County Leader, Mountain View

Eliza Gaines Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock Crystal Costa Times Record, Fort Smith

Kelly Freudensprung The Saline Courier, Benton John Robert Schirmer Nashville-News Leader

Past President’s Advisory Council (Living Past Presidents)

On the

Cover

Pickens Township in Dumas, by Kay Bona of Little Rock. 3 | The Arkansas Publisher

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.

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President Ben Franklin is credited with saying “If you’re finished changing, you’re finished,” nearly three centuries ago. That adage is certainly as true in our industry as it is in other businesses. As newspaper publishers, the most recognizable changes seen by our readers are the inevitable redesigns of our newspapers and, more recently, our websites.

Tom White

We redesign primarily to keep up with the latest trends and provide a fresh look for our subscribers. Some of us resist change, but we recognize the long-term benefits of retooling our pages for modern readers. APA Board President

Similarly, our surroundings need updates, too, and I’m excited to note that one such “redesign” is currently underway at the Arkansas Press Association headquarters in Little Rock. The APA recently embarked on its first major redesign in the nearly 20 years the Association has been in its current location at 411 S. Victory in Little Rock, just steps away from the State Capitol. The renovation project is a response to requests from “subscribers,” or, in this case, APA’s tenants and members, who desire modern conferencing spaces equipped with the latest technology. The APA invested in the property near the Capitol with the goal that tenant income would help offset the association’s mortgage, and thankfully, it has. We have a responsibility as landlords to both retain and attract new tenants. As your association leadership, our responsibility is to be wise stewards of the budget while also showcasing the strength of our industry to members and others at the State Capitol. Another important consideration for this “redesign” is the opportunity to rent out our conference rooms to other organizations that find the location ideal for a meeting or seminar. So, over the next few months, here’s what’s planned: •Expansion of the existing conference room to accommodate larger groups •New laminate wood flooring in lobby, hallways and conference areas

•New acoustic ceiling to improve sound quality and reduce noise •New appliances and millwork in the kitchen, and an additional, smaller breakroom for staff •Modern, redesigned work stations for staff •Parking lot resurfacing and drainage improvements to prevent flooding This project is a long time coming for a building that has not gone through any major renovations since its acquisition. Our more modern and attractive conference areas will be better for our tenants and members who may wish to utilize the space. We also envision this renovation as a prime opportunity to attract outside organizations who want to take advantage of our proximity to the Capitol to rent the space. I am particularly excited about the new museum space, which will be redesigned to better showcase our historic treasure trove of artifacts, equipment and photographs. Our museum will feature additional information about the collection, presented in a curated way that should appeal to members and visitors. As an association, we remain thankful to Dennis and Jan Schick for their efforts to acquire many of the items in our vast collection. This renovation will help us better highlight their efforts, while creating a special niche for our historical pieces within our association headquarters. Funding for our “redesign” comes from proceeds from the sale of property directly east of the APA headquarters on Fourth Street. A law firm plans to build on that vacant lot that the association previously owned. Additional cost for the project is being financed. When completed in the spring, I know APA will have one of the best office spaces in Little Rock at one of the city’s best locations. The renovation will not only help us continue to attract and retain quality tenants, but it will give us a reason to be proud. With our redesign, we demonstrate to other members, tenants and policymakers that we have made a long-term commitment to our state and to the industry we serve. It’s a change worth making and a change that signals to others that our industry is nowhere near finished.

•Revitalization of the Dennis and Jan Schick Newspaper Museum

4 | The Arkansas Publisher

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Publisher Ashley Wimberley

The holidays may have been a time for some to relax and reflect, but we know that’s not the case in the newspaper industry. Many of us spend the last month of the year and the first few weeks of the new year involved in project planning, goal setting and budget review. It’s the time of year to evaluate what worked in the previous 12 months and build on that for the coming year.

This time period has taken on a renewed sense of urgency here at the Arkansas Press Association, with the start of the 92nd General Assembly. We anticipate this year’s legislative session to be active and impactful for our industry.

APA Executive Director

The APA staff and our government relations partners have been hard at work in one-on-one meetings with legislators and discussions with board members and counterparts at other associations. The Legislature to take aim at the industry on at least three fronts: public notices, the Freedom of Information Act and journalism in schools. PUBLIC NOTICES Our industry engages in a fight over public notices in almost every session of the General Assembly. Fortunately, we have been successful in demonstrating that newspaper public notices are essential for government transparency and the citizen’s right to know. We believe the Legislature recognizes this, but we must remain vigilant in our efforts at the Capitol. One of the best defenses for newspapers in this ongoing battle is that public notices are already being posted online, and at no cost to the government. Right now, more than 60 member newspapers participate in our public notice uploading on the APA website. Having public notices from every newspaper in the state uploaded to our site neutralizes the argument that notices aren’t readily available on the internet. This defense is most effective when all newspapers are consistent about their postings to the page, www. publicnoticeads.com/ar. The APA can assist newspapers in ensuring their notices are uploaded. It’s important to recognize, too, that Arkansas is next-tolast in the nation for access to broadband. About a quarter of Arkansans do not have reliable broadband, making it all the more meaningful to ensure they learn about public information from their newspapers. Furthermore, most people don’t use the internet to research government notices, nor do they have the time. However, they do know where to and how to check for these essential matters in their newspapers. Taking public notices away from newspapers is tantamount to hiding this information from the public, and we will work hard

6 | The Arkansas Publisher

to preserve the public’s right to know.

FOIA On another transparency front, we will once again join with journalists, educators and open-government advocates from across the state to protect our Freedom of Information Act, which has remained one of the strongest in the country since it was signed into law by Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller in 1967. We expect challenges to the FOIA’s requirement that government attorneys’ working papers be considered public records and to the provision that gives public agencies a maximum of three days to fulfill a FOIA request. Other attacks on FOIA are likely, if previous legislative sessions are any indication. To prepare for these expected challenges, the Arkansas FOIA coalition assembled in December at APA headquarters to set priorities and prepare its initial strategies. We will ask many of you within the industry to reach out to your legislators and local officials to make our voices heard on FOIA issues, and as always, we look forward to aggressive response from our members on their editorial pages. JOURNALISM IN SCHOOLS Last year, with little notice to the public, the Arkansas Department of Education quietly removed the requirement that high schools offer journalism as an elective course. This action was challenged at the Arkansas Legislative Council with no success. Thankfully, Rep. Julie Mayberry (R-East End) has introduced legislation to reinstate the requirement, and we have pledged to support the bill. Journalism classes teach critical thinking skills and help students learn to be conscientious about the world around them. Many of us wouldn’t be where we are in our professions without a foundation rooted in those high school journalism courses. For many others, working for the high school paper fosters a sense of community and pride the same way it would a student who belonged to the choir, ROTC or football team. Journalism has been a requirement in schools for decades, so we question why the sudden and deliberative move now. Given the current political climate around newspapers, it’s reasonable to believe the change may be a way to further erode transparency and accountability in our public institutions. Regardless of the reasons, the APA will focus on the legislative issues that are priority to its members. They’re the same issues that keep our public officials accountable and preserve our democracy.

Winter Edition - 2018/19


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Dennis Anyone? By Frank Fellone

Fifty-nine years. Twenty-five years. Fourteen years. Those numbers popped up at a kitchen-table conversation with Dennis and Jan Schick of North Little Rock, whose connection to the Arkansas Press Association goes back — another big number — nearly 40 years. Fifty-nine years — the Schicks were married that long on Dec. 28. Twenty-five years — that’s how long Dennis was executive director of the APA, and Jan his right hand. Fourteen years — since the Schicks retired in 2004. A lot has happened since Dennis left the faculty of the University of Texas to come to Arkansas to head the APA. They brought their three children with them, and since have welcomed four grandchildren. All those kids and grandkids live in Arkansas. One thing that hasn’t changed is what Dennis says about himself: “I’m a talker.” Jan laughed at that. But there was a lot to talk about, starting with the state of the APA back in 1979. The association had been without an executive director for several months before the Schicks walked in the door. “The APA owned a clipping service,” Dennis said, “and was six weeks behind. Newspapers were stacked up all over the office.” Jan remembered the mountains of newspapers, too. Six

8 | The Arkansas Publisher

stacks of newspapers rose from the floor to the ceiling, she said. On the flip side, the industry in the state was healthy, Dennis said, with newspapers in every county, every major city and most smaller cities. He estimated there were about 150 newspapers in the state in 1979, and lamented the recent closing of weekly newspapers in North Little Rock, Maumelle, Lonoke, Cabot, and Des Arc and the daily Arkadelphia Siftings Herald. But he was pleased to note a new newspaper in Arkadelphia, published by the Nashville News-Leader and titled the Arkadelphia Dispatch. Dennis even had a copy, which he picked up at the APA office. Dennis and Jan presided over two moves for the APA, from three rooms in an office building on Spring Street, to a big old home on Broadway, to the current offices on Victory a block from the Capitol. Having Jan at work diluted the stress of working for 150 demanding, hard-nosed publishers. Dennis called her a buffer, adding that for those 25 years, “I was the boss at work and she was the boss at home.” Dennis also endured the great Little Rock newspaper war between the Arkansas Democrat and the Arkansas Gazette. That competition, which lasted from 1978 until the Gannett closed the Gazette in 1991 and sold its assets to the Democrat, meant Dennis had to walk a thinly drawn and neutral line.


He recalled a phone call from a Wall Street Journal reporter. The reporter said no one in Arkansas would go on the record to say which newspaper was winning. Dennis did go on the record. “I’ll tell you who’s winning the war,” he told the Journal reporter. “Readers and advertisers. That’s not what he wanted to hear, but ad rates were lower and the newspapers were trying to out-news each other.” How can newspapers survive and thrive in the current climate? “If I had the answer I would make a lot of money consulting and writing,” Dennis said. “What bothers me is how chains buy several newspapers and then close them down. Look at Arkadelphia, which has two colleges. There’s a lot of news there. “When I got here most newspapers were owned by dedicated people who wanted to serve their communities. When I left most newspapers were owned by chains focused on the bottom line.” Dennis recalled one weekly newspaper publisher who was ordered by his chain owner to cut the news staff by 25 percent. That was going to be hard to do — the weekly had one reporter, and his 40-hour week was more like a 60-hour week. “How do you respond to that? I didn’t have an answer and he didn’t expect an answer. I told him to do the best he could.” Newspapers, Dennis said, “have to give people what they can’t get anywhere else.” He pointed to a picture on the front page of the Arkadelphia Dispatch. “That picture can be on TV for five seconds, but you can’t send it to your grandmother.” Dennis is 81 now, and Jan is 79. They spent the first 10 years of their retirement traveling, he said, and the past four years have been dictated by their health. Dennis beat prostate cancer in 2017. He called 2018 the year of the heart. The couple are trying to downsize, but without much luck. Maybe that’s a good thing, because they had a copy of their last weekly bulletin dated July 29, 2004. Their retirement was featured on the front, and Dennis wrote his last column. In the penultimate paragraph he wrote this: “The entire premise of the Arkansas Press Association and its affiliates is to allow its members to do things and to gain benefits which they would not be able to do for themselves. By working together and pooling resources, you can accomplish great things.” Once a newspaperman, always a newspaperman. Toward the end of the kitchen-table conversation, Dennis held out his arm. Dennis and Jan Schick retired from the Arkansas Press Association in 2004, but not before starting up the APA’s museum, now located in the association’s offices on Victory Street in downtown Little Rock.

“If you pricked me here,” he said, “I’d bleed printer’s ink.”

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APA MUSEUM By Frank Fellone Dennis Schick thumbed through the oversized photo album in the APA’s museum, looking at the faces and trying to remember their names. For anyone of a certain age — awake and alert from 1955 onward — there was no mistaking one face. It belonged to Fess Parker, who was as famous as famous could be as Disney’s Davy Crockett in 1955-56 and as TV’s Daniel Boone from 1964 to 1970. Parker, dressed in a business suit and with neither coonskin cap nor flintlock musket, was apparently a guest at an APA convention way back when. It’s hard to know exactly, because none of the photos are labeled. No captions. No cutlines. “Any old-timer, you get him in here, feed him lunch and give him some sticky notes,” Schick said. Better invite several old-timers, because there are lots of photos. They’re surprising in one way — people sure did dress up for conventions back then, suits and ties,

dresses and hats. Conventions have become more casual, reflecting of course a shift in American life. The album was created by Schick for the APA’s 125th anniversary back in 1998. It’s one of numerous artifacts in the museum, which got its start with Dennis and his wife, Jan, in the organizations former offices on Broadway in Little Rock. Dennis was executive director of the APA from 1979 to 2004, and Jan was his right hand. They still live in North Little Rock and took time out recently to visit the museum. To say that technology has changed the newspaper world is a mighty big understatement. What could be called the crown jewels of the museum are a Washington hand press and a Linotype machine. A Washington hand press has a cam-action impression lever. Push. Press. Print. Many manufacturers produced hand presses. This one was made by the St. Louis Type Foundry Printing Machine Works in the 19th century, but an exact date of manufacture is unavailable.

Former APA Executive Director Dennis Schick thumbs through a book of photos that commemorated the 125th anniversary of the Arkansas Press Association.

10 | The Arkansas Publisher


1) Dennis and Jan Schick demonstrate how a 19th century press functions. This one is on display at the APA museum, and came from the Cabot Star-Herald. 2) A carrier’s bag is a poignant reminder of days gone by. The Arkansas Gazette closed in 1991.

“I want to say it was Cone Magie’s at Cabot,” Schick said, referring to the owner and publisher of the Cabot StarHerald, and a former president of the APA. What makes this press especially interesting is a print hanging on the wall behind it. In the print, Ben Franklin is seen reading a newspaper. Behind him, workers labor to make more on a press that looks very much like the APA’s.

full-page paste up,” he added.

Dennis put his hands on the wooden handle.

“The longer we have it, the more it’s ours,” Dennis joked.

“If you think of all the hands that pulled on this… “The Mergenthaler Linotype Co. was founded in 1886 by Otto Mergenthaler, who invented a process to improve the laborious task of setting type by hand. A Linotype machine used a keyboard to create a mold into which hot lead was poured. Hence the terms hot type and, for computer-generated text, cold type. The latter came into common use in the 1970s, leaving the giant Linotype machines in back shops all over the country. This particular Linotype machine was manufactured about 1925 and came from the De Witt Era-Enterprise. To employ another understatement, it takes up a lot of space. Photography has certainly changed. Journalists today have gone digital, and often use cell phones to take pictures and record videos. The museum has a couple of cameras, including a Polaroid Electric Eye camera. The lens telescopes and there’s a big flash attached to the side. The instant roll film camera was made from 1960-1963. It shares space on an oak roll-top desk with a black Royal manual typewriter and a box labeled “Past presidents’ photos.” “That’s my handwriting,” Dennis said. “It occurs to me that what’s missing is a paste-up table so there can be a

Another throw-back piece is an AP teletype machine, one of the clattering contraptions that were so noisy they were best put in a closet and checked periodically. This machine was donated by long-time Arkansas journalist Dennis Byrd, but according to a plate bolted on it’s the property of The Associated Press. A piece compatible to both the Linotype and the AP teletype is a Fairchild Teletypesetter which generated perforated paper tape. It has the training manual, too. Two pieces come from the Larimer family of Green Forest, which operated the Green Forest Tribune. Tom Larimer is also a former APA executive director, having retired last year. One is a wing mailer, he said, a hand-held device for applying mailing labels to individual newspapers. The second piece is Dr. Miles proof press. Larimer explained that Dr. Miles was a popular home remedy company before drug stores popped up on every corner. The company would give small newspapers a proof press in exchange for advertising. His family newspaper, he said, ran a Dr. Miles 1-by-1 in every edition. Galleys off the Linotype would be placed on the bed of the proof press and ink applied from a brayer or roller. A strip of scrap newsprint was laid on top of the type and the big roller used to create a proof. “It was all very crude by today’s standards,” Larimer said, “but then what part of the process wasn’t?”

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Looking back: APA’s year in 2018 January •A Sebastian County Circuit Court Judge ruled that email exchanges among Fort Smith city directors in 2017 violated the state’s Freedom of Information Act. The suit, brought by Fort Smith attorney Joey McCutchen, argued that the emails constituted what the FOIA defines as a meeting. The judge agreed, stating that the discussion in the email exchanges should have occurred in public. The decision remains under appeal. •The U.S. Department of Commerce made a devastating announcement regarding tariffs on Canadian newsprint sold in the United States. The department increased tariffs at that time by nearly 10 percent, alleging that Canadian newsprint

producers receive subsidies and put U.S. producers at a disadvantage. The Arkansas Press Association, National Newspaper Association and publishers across the country worked to repeal the tariffs. •Kelly Sublett was named publisher of the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway, The former editor of the publication also oversees the Van Buren County Democrat and the Heber Springs Sun-Times. All three papers are owned by GateHouse Media. GateHouse bought the Log

Cabin Democrat from Morris Communications in August 2017. • An industry veteran in Walnut Ridge retired after 53-and-a-half years of service to the Times Dispatch. Janice Kay Hibbard had the longest full-time tenure of any employee in Times Dispatch history. She joined the newspaper staff in 1964. Hibbard, the advertising manager, worked for four generations of the Bland family, which owns the paper. She continues to go into the office one day a week.

February •APA Executive Director Tom Larimer announced his retirement to readers of the Arkansas Publisher Weekly. Larimer had served as executive director since 2004 following a long career in the newspaper industry. The Berryville native and Navy veteran worked for his family’s newspaper and printing business and held newspaper jobs in Nevada, Missouri, and in Murfreesboro and Nashville,Tennessee. •The APA named 59 Arkansas newspapers to its “Public Notices Honor Roll” for consistently uploading public notices to the APA website. The 59 newspapers recognized that uploading the notices and ensuring they are posted online is effective in fighting off attempts at the Legislature to remove public notices from

12 | The Arkansas Publisher

newspapers. Those on the “Honor Roll” allow the APA to argue that there is no need to move public notices from newspapers because they are already uploaded to the internet at no cost to the government. • A s h l e y Wimberley, who had been serving as APA’s interim executive d i re c t o r, was formally n a m e d executive director in late February. She had been the APA’s director of marketing for more than a decade and had previously

worked for Little Rock advertising firm CJRW. Wimberley, a Rector native, grew up in a newspaper family — her parents were newspaper owners and journalists in northeast Arkansas. •The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette began a pilot program testing digital-only access for subscribers in Mississippi County. Subscribers in the Northeast Arkansas county would receive a free iPad to read the Democrat-Gazette’s digital edition for the price of a daily and Sunday subscription. Publisher Walter Hussman Jr. said there were “inescapable advantages to digital delivery.” The program has proven for the paper, which has since expanded the model to other counties in northeast and south Arkansas.


March •Publications across Arkansas observed Newspapers in Education (NIE) week from March 5-9. APA member newspapers with NIE programs were encouraged to cover various subjects related to newspapers throughout the week. APA Executive Director Ashley Wimberley said the observance helps students “develop the habit of reading local newspapers, promotes literacy and increases hands-on learning in the classroom.” •In recognition of National Sunshine Week, March 11-17, the APA produced an advertisement for members to publish and asked members to participate through writing stories, editorials and columns. The theme for 2018 Sunshine Week was “It’s Your Right to Know.” Sonny Albarado, the state’s Sunshine Week chairman and head of the Arkansas DemocratGazette investigations team,

penned a column emphasizing the importance of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, and noting that over a three-month period, his paper had written 50 articles dealing with FOIA issues.

•Stephanie Dodson of the Hot Springs Village Voice earned the “Best of Show” award at the APA

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Better Newspaper Advertising Awards. Her ad for Felix Brace & Limb shows a runner wearing a prosthetic leg against a background of a lake surrounded by mountains. Featured conference speaker Kelly Wirges of ProMax Training provided attendees with key sales and marketing insights. •The Arkansas Publisher Weekly caught up with former APA President Charlotte Schexnayder. The 94-yearold Schexnayder, who now lives in assisted living in west Little Rock, attended her first APA conference in 1945. She served as a president of the National Federation of Press Women and the National Newspaper Association, and she was a state legislator from 1984 to 1999. She said in March that she is certain about the strong future of the newspaper industry: “A free press is the guardian of our democracy. In whatever form, it must be preserved.”

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April •The Arkansas Newspaper Federation named four interns who would work with community newspapers in the summer of 2018. ANF sponsored the interns, after receiving interest from more qualified applicants than any other time in the intern program history. Awardees were Cassidy Kendall, who worked at The Times-Dispatch in Walnut Ridge; Andrea Johnson, who worked at the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Whitney Gladden, who worked at the Carroll County News in Berryville; and Grace Talley, who worked at the Nashville News-Leader. •The APA provided a special thanks to the 31 APA members who helped judge the Louisiana Press Association Better Newspaper Contest. Not only is judging contests from other states helpful since Arkansas relies on other state associations for judging, it also provides members with the opportunity to generate ideas and read quality work produced by other papers.

newspapers, having completed his master’s thesis decades ago on Little Rock newspapers during the Civil War. •Dennis and Jan Schick, who served the APA for 25 years, told the Arkansas Publisher Weekly what they have been doing since retirement in 2004. They spend a lot of time involved in choir and other activities at their church, Lakewood United Methodist in North Little Rock. Dennis Schick is the editor of an international magic newsletter, The Linking Ring.

•APA Historian Michael B. Dougan, a distinguished professor emeritus of history at Arkansas State University talked to the Arkansas Publisher Weekly about his book, “Community Diaries: Arkansas Newspapering, 1819-2002.” The book remains available for sale at the APA office at a discounted price. Dougan has long been interested in Arkansas

May

•David McCollum, the longtime sports editor for the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway, died at age 68 following a heart surgery in North Little Rock. He covered sports in Faulkner County for more than 36 years, and was writing for the paper until the time of his death. He interviewed dozens of

14 | The Arkansas Publisher

noted sports celebrities over his career. He was a recipient of the APA’s “Golden 50” award for 50 years of service to the newspaper industry, and he was a member of the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame.

manager of the Batesville Daily Guard, retired after 46 years at the helm of the newspaper. Her family owned the publication during that time, and she noted that she originally intended only to stay a few weeks helping the team out with a software installation. She served as APA president in 1995.

•A nine-year-old fourth grader at Greenbrier Eastside Elementary School launched a school newspaper after reading a book and being inspired to do so. Israel Bollinger and a group of about 15 other students met every morning to work on the project, called What’s Up Eastside, and printed monthly. About 400 students see the product. Bollinger described himself as a “mover and a shaker.”

•Three new members were elected to the APA Board of Directors. New additions to the board in May were Kelly Freudensprung of the Saline Courier in Benton, John Robert Schirmer of the Nashville NewsLeader and Crystal Costa of the Times Record in Fort Smith. Board members are elected every year with the exception of president, vice president, immediate past president and second vice president. The executive committee is voted on each year by the board at the Winter Board Meeting.

•Pat Jones, publisher and general


June •Miss America Savvy Shields was selected as the 2017 APA Headliner of the Year. The Fayetteville native was named Miss America in September 2016 after earning the Miss Arkansas crown. Her platform, “Eat Better, Live Better,” encouraged holistic wellness. She won a $50,000 scholarship as Miss America and she continues to make public appearances around Arkansas and the United States. •John Troutt Jr., the longtime owner of The Jonesboro Sun, died at 88. Troutt served as publisher and editor of The Sun until he sold the newspaper in 2000. He was an Army veteran, and was the first editor of the University of Arkansas student newspaper, The Arkansas Traveler. In 1998, The Sun was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Westside school shootings. His son, Bob Troutt,

described him as “a newsman first, and a businessman second.” •Walter E. Hussman Jr., publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, was named recipient of the APA’s Distinguished Service Award for his significant contribution to the newspaper industry. Hussman’s WEHCO Media Inc. owns the Democrat-Gazette, several other Arkansas dailies and weeklies, and also papers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Jefferson City, Missouri. The Democrat-Gazette’s statewide circulation more than doubled since purchased by WEHCO. Hussman served on the Associated Press board of directors and the board for C-SPAN.

convention featured awards, recognitions and presentations, with the highlight being a gubernatorial debate between Gov. Asa Hutchinson and challengers Jared Henderson and Mark West. More than 50 newspapers participated in the annual Better Newspaper Editorial Contest.

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July •The APA recognized its winners of the 2018 Better Newspaper Editorial Contest. General excellence awards went to the Batesville Daily Guard, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the North Little Rock Times, The Leader in Jacksonville, and the Carroll County News Midweek. The I.F. Stone Award for investigative reporting went to Tammy Curtis of the Spring River Chronicle, and David Bell of Carroll County News Midweek won the Photo of the Year Award.

•APA member newspapers mobilized to fight the debilitating tariffs levied on Canadian newsprint. During the first few months of 2018, the U.S. government raised tariffs to almost 30 percent. APA members were asked to sign petitions and call their lawmakers to prevent the negative impact the tariff decisions had on more than 600,000 American jobs. •The Modern News in Harrisburg published for the last time, after more than 130 years of continuous publication. The familyowned newspaper printed its final edition on July 5. The then-general manager of The Modern News said the paper remains for sale and is hopeful that it could some day be re-opened to continue serving the Poinsett County community. •82-year-old Richard Folds retired as publisher of the Malvern Daily Record, which he called the best job he ever had.

Over his 18-year tenure as publisher the business was profitable in all but one or two months. A Georgia native, Folds started at the paper in 1988 as an advertising account executive.

August •APA Executive Director Ashley Wimberley was the featured speaker at an Arkansas Society of Professional Journalists event. Her discussion was part of an ongoing effort to forge new partnerships and acquire additional association members. Wimberley she said she hoped professionals in the journalism community would become more involved with APA when they recognize APA is on the front lines at the Capitol fighting for them.

foundation expanded its programming through corporate partnerships, education and summer internships for college students. Her work directly benefited APA members. •The North Little Rock Times and Lonoke County Democrat published their final issues on Aug. 29 and Aug. 30, respectively. GateHouse Media, which acquired the newspapers in 2015 from Stephens Media, folded seven publications into the two in 2017. The Democrat had been the longest continuously operated business in Lonoke County. Garrick Feldman, publisher of The Leader in Jacksonville, said his publication would expand to North Little Rock to try to fill the void.

•Newspapers nationwide joined a coordinated effort to promote press freedom and respond to recent criticism of the industry. Championed by The Boston Globe, newspapers large and small across the country published editorials addressing the ongoing threat of verbal attacks on the press. More than 350 newspapers participated in the effort, including a few APA members. •Dean Walls, the legendary publisher of the White River Journal, passed away at the age of 96. Walls spent every Wednesday night for seven decades (more than 3,600 of them) producing that week’s edition of the Des Arc publication. She witnessed industry changes from linotype to offset press to pagination. She was the first and

16 | The Arkansas Publisher

only recipient of the APA’s “Golden 60” service award for her work of more than six decades in the industry. •Karen Brown, executive director of the Arkansas Newspaper Foundation, announced her retirement after 14 years in the role. Under Brown’s leadership, the

•The newspaper industry secured a major victory when the International Trade Commisison eliminated the newspaper tariffs that had adversely impacted the industry since February. U.S. newsprint manufacturers could not prove they were materially harmed by the Canadian imports, the ITC said. APA Executive Director Ashley Wimberley praised APA members and Sen. John Boozman for their vocal opposition to the tariffs.


September •The Daily Siftings Herald in Arkadelphia, the Hope Star, and the Nevada County Picayune in Prescott were shut down, based on the same financial considerations that caused their publisher, GateHouse Media, to close the papers in North Little Rock and Lonoke a few weeks earlier. The Siftings Herald had been in business for 150 years, and the Hope paper was 145 years old. •Publishers across the state said they were taking a renewed look at security in the aftermath of the June shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, that left five people dead. Publishers said they

were considering secure doors and cameras and were also re-evaluating disaster and emergency plans for employees. •Vickey Wiggins, who worked at the Paris Express for 42 years, retired as publisher of the paper, the oldest business in Logan County. For half of her time at the paper, she was publisher. She also served as publisher of the Booneville Democrat from 2001 to 2016. She started at the paper just a few days after graduating high school. A Paris native, Wiggins worked under six different ownership groups during her time at the paper.

October •The 78th Annual National Newspaper Week observance ran from Oct. 7-13. The 2018 theme, “Journalism Matters, Now More than Ever,” highlighted the value of good journalism and its worth within the communities that newspapers serve. The theme was tied to the overall climate for journalism in the United States. Local newspapers recognized the week in a variety of ways, and some city and county leaders issued proclamations officially recognizing the week in their communities . •The century-old Eagle Democrat in Warren moved to computerized pagination after years of manually pasting up pages. The paper is one of the last to have laid out pages by hand. Editor Tim Kessler told readers the paper had “finally moved into the 21st Century,” and that the new system

Prescott News added to its online reporting by printing and distributing a weekly newspaper. The former editor of the Hope Star started a news website, SWARK. Today. Both entrepreneurs said the region was under served in its news coverage when GateHouse Media shuttered the Star and the Nevada County Picayune.

will allow the Eagle Democrat to extend its deadlines for late-breaking news and lastminute advertising. •Two startup news publications launched in southwest Arkansas, seeking to fill the void left by the closure of the Hope Star and Nevada County Picayune. The Hope-

•The state Freedom of Information Act Task Force voted to approve its report to the state Legislature. The task force, chaired by APA Board Member Ellen Kreth, was established during the 2017 legislative session. The task force made recommendations about seven possible bills that would change or impact the state’s open-records and open-meetings law.

November •The Batesville Daily Guard, having recently been purchased by Paxton Media, relocated its office. The paper had been at its previous location on Main Street for more than 35 years, but the space was just a little too big for the operation. The new office at 400 Harrison St. is more modern and accommodating for the staff. •John Robert Schirmer, an APA board member and publisher of the Nashville NewsLeader, announced he would start a new newspaper in Arkadelphia, the Arkadelphia Dispatch. The Dispatch published its first edition late in the year. It has an intense focus on local news, said editor Bill Sutley.

The editor is an Arkadelphia High School and Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) graduate. He teaches at both OBU and neighboring Henderson State University. The Dispatch started just weeks after the venerable Siftings-Herald was closed. •The annual ArkLaMiss Circulation, Marketing and Audience Development Conference was held in Vicksburg, Miss. APA members learned tips for generating new readership and revenue from keynote speaker Peter Wagner and during a “hot ideas” breakfast, where they shared revenue-generating and cost-saving tips.

Winter Edition - 2018/19


December Arkansas is one of 14 states with a law to protect student journalists. •The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act Coalition met for an organizational meeting in advance of the 2019 General Assembly. The Coalition will take policy positions and advocate to maintain the strength of the state’s 51-year-old FOI law. More than two dozen journalists, educators and FOIA advocates met to plan for the year ahead.

•Actions by the Springdale School District administration to censor an article by the Har-Ber High School student newspaper made headlines across the country. The district later reversed its decision to remove

from the paper’s website an investigation into football players transferring from the school to rival Springdale. Leading experts said the school’s initial actions violated the Arkansas Student Publications Act.

•Arkansas State University trustees voted to create a School of Media and Journalism, three years after merging the Department of Journalism with other programs to create a Department of Media. Critics of that move said the highly-regarded journalism program had lost its identity, and they hope the name change will add emphasis and attention to a program that has lost students recently.

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What’s “growing” on in Arkansas? Our team of experts can help you tell the story of our state’s #1 industry For photos of Arkansas farms, crops and agriculture events, visit www.flickr.com/arfarmbureau Public Relations Contacts: Steve Eddington 501-228-1383 steve.eddington@arfb.com Rob Anderson 501-228-1640 rob.anderson@arfb.com

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Winter Edition - 2018/19

Profile for Arkansas Press Association

The Arkansas Publisher: Winter Edition - 2018/19  

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: Winter Edition - 2018/19  

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