Newspaper warfare has returned to Eureka Springs. Several staff members at the Lovely County Citizen, including the editor, have left the Citizen and launched a new weekly newspaper in competition with it.
Mary Pat Boain, former editor of the Lovely County Citizen and now editor of the Eureka Springs Independent, said she and others who left the Citizen were upset that the owner, MOAR, LLC, a subsidiary of Rust Communications, had outsourced advertising graphics to contractors in India and the Philippines, causing a loss of local jobs and raising the possibility that editorial work, such as copyreading, would be outsourced also. Some American newspapers are now doing this. The Independent published its first issue July 5.
Ron Kemp, regional vice president of Rust Communications, said no jobs were lost at the Citizen because of the outsourcing. He said one job was lost at Berryville, where MOAR publishes the Carroll County News. The company has no plans to outsource editorial work, he said.
Kemp said it was true that the parent company, Rust, had contracted with a Chicago-based firm to provide assistance in elementary graphic design functions. "That company does have offshore employees," Kemp said. "The scope of the contract is minimal when compared to overall local employment and local expenditures of the company." Many American newspaper companies are doing the same thing that Rust is doing, he said. "The purpose of any such changes is to allow local newspapers to allot maximum resources to news gathering, advertising services and customer relations — the things we do best on the local level."
Eureka Springs is a free-thinking, tourist-supported town, and the Lovely County Citizen has been the liveliest newspaper in Arkansas, outspoken in support of gay rights, medical marijuana, abortion rights and other controversial issues, critical of conservative politicians. For several years, the Citizen was in competition with the Eureka Springs Times-Echo, a weekly owned by Rust, a newspaper chain headquartered in Cape Girardeau, Mo. In 2005, the chain bought the Citizen and merged the Times-Echo with the Berryville Star-Progress to form the Carroll County News, published twice a week.
When the Citizen became part of the larger company, both the newspaper and the company's spokesmen said that the Citizen would retain its local editorial independence. That apparently was true. There were no visible changes in the Citizen. Bill King, one of the original owners of the paper, remained as editor for a time. Boain, another owner, left after the Citizen was sold, but later returned and became editor, a position she held until her recent resignation.
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