Big changes at the 107-year-old Jonesboro Sun. Beginning on Valentine’s Day, the paper saw a complete facelift, with larger headlines, clearer typefaces and greater use of photos and graphics. According to a letter to readers by editor Roy Ockert Jr., the content will also change to make stories easier to absorb by those on the go.
“The Sun will focus on making all stories complete but concise and will utilize more visual aids and elements to facilitate reading both for those in a hurry and those with time to spare,” Ockert wrote. The daily story count will also increase.
In terms of design, the most visible change is the revamped banner, which will drop “Jonesboro” and simply read “The Sun” with “Serving Jonesboro and Northeast Arkansas” below — a change which, Ockert wrote, “represents its true mission as a regional publication.” The official name of the paper, “The Jonesboro Sun,” will remain the same. Publisher David R. Mosesso wrote that the changes were the result of four years of discussion.
Though many of the changes seem to be devoted to helping out readers with failing eyesight, there will be alterations in editorial focus as well, including a Wednesday through Sunday section devoted to what Ockert called “Living” type news and features, a revamp of the Sun’s food page (henceforth to be called “Taste”) and a new feature called “Gettin’ Out” which will list the weekend’s events in the area.
It was announced in late February that Little Rock will host the 29th annual national convention of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, June 14-18, 2006.
The AAN is a trade organization representing 125 weekly, free-circulation and alternative newspapers from cities across the country — including the Arkansas Times, which will serve as the host newspaper for the conference.
Events at the annual conference include speeches by well-known writers, seminars on layout, production, advertising, editorial and legal concerns, nominations to the board of directors, the admission of new papers to the AAN, and the announcement of the winners of the AAN Awards for excellence in journalism and design. The conference is expected to draw around 500 guests to the city.
As first published in the Arkansas Blog (www.arktimes.com), long-time Little Rock radio fixture Pat Lynch is out at Signal Media and 103.7 The Buzz after four years with the station.
“I think the world of Pat,” Signal Media owner Philip Jonsson said. “But the station has changed and the times have changed ... his show does not fit the station as it once did.”
Jonsson said Lynch’s departure from Signal has been on his mind since Dec. 1, 2004. That date marks the debut of Tommy Smith in the station’s morning drive time slot, an addition which caused a shuffle of existing talent. This included Lynch, who was bumped from the 10 a.m.–1 p.m. berth he had held since coming to the station to 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. weeknights.
Lynch wouldn’t elaborate on the details of his departure. Though Jonsson said that the split was amicable on his part, Lynch met the same topic with “I wish you wouldn’t ask me that” — though he later called to add that the station had allowed him to do a final show.
Jonsson said the 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. airtime would most likely be filled by syndicated Fox Sports broadcasting.
#StandUp4LR, the grassroots group organized to regain local control of the Little Rock School District, now run by the state has issued a statement today critical of Superintendent Michael Poore's budget process for next year, particularly insufficient community input. It also recommends a moratorium on new charter school seats in Little Rock because of the damaging impact that has on the School District.
An interesting element of the ongoing story of budget problems in the University of Arkansas Advancement Division has been a divide in outlook in the pages of the state's dominant news medium, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.