Favorite

Arkansas Times 2.0 

This issue of the Arkansas Times marks the 20th anniversary of our conversion of a 17-year-old monthly magazine into a weekly newspaper. I was there for the start, but since last July Lindsey Millar has been editor. Thank him for the smart ideas and writing each week and his collaboration with art director Kai Caddy for the vivid design.

To get quickly to the bottom line: We're still here.

This is no small boast. The newspaper industry has been wracked by declining circulation and ad revenue and loss of readers to other sources of information.

I'd like to say we're still here today solely because of our brains, talent and prize-winning reporting and analysis. But that would be a stretch.

We stood, in the beginning, on the shoulders of a giant newspaper, the Arkansas Gazette. It lost a newspaper war and folded in October 1991, putting me out of work. Times publisher Alan Leveritt and his then-wife Mara Leveritt saw this as an opportunity. The surviving daily Arkansas Democrat-Gazette was neither Democratic in outlook nor remotely like the Gazette. Readers would welcome a competing point of view with a liberal slant, they figured, and they hired me to help them.

We benefitted from the huge talents of former Gazetteers like Ernie Dumas, Bob Lancaster, Doug Smith, Leslie Newell Peacock, Deborah Mathis, Jim Bailey, Bob McCord and George Fisher. (God, I miss cartoonist George Fisher every day. The frackers don't.)

Bill Clinton was running for president in 1992, a help to us because the surviving daily didn't like the state's favorite son much.

For all our brains, our salvation came when we followed the rest of the alternative newspaper industry and stopped charging for the newspaper. Giving it away saved a ton of money in circulation costs. Publisher Leveritt invented new ways every year to generate the ad revenue to support a full-time news staff that — though it never numbered more than single digits — still was larger than those of weeklies in cities with far greater population.

We also were lucky to fail as a major seller of classified advertising. When Craigslist decimated that business for most other newspapers, we had little to lose. We also never wanted or accepted the "escort service" advertising that enriched many alternative weeklies. Good thing. That trade, too, migrated to the Internet.

Speaking of the Internet: Encouraged by Warwick Sabin, one of many talented people we've managed to employ over the years despite modest pay and benefits, we moved early and aggressively to improve our web presence. This included the startup of a blog almost eight years ago. It now brings hundreds of thousands of unique visitors to our website each month. Nearly 10,000 people have registered to post comments.

We aggregate, opinionate and report news. Our four staff blogs focus on Arkansas news, entertainment, food and art. They contribute to a dynamic website that changes every day of the week and most hours of the day, along with our Facebook and Twitter pages. Here's an old-school finding: Nothing attracts readers more than news.

So here we are. Some of the same people who once helped fill columns of hot type with news for the oldest newspaper west of the Mississippi are doing the same thing here today. But, unlike May 1992, none of us must wait a week to see our words in print or wait additional hours for carriers to tote words on paper to doorsteps and paper boxes. We can transmit them immediately to the wired planet. For free.

It's amazing to recall we had no e-mail and the Internet existed only in a rudimentary form when we published the first weekly Arkansas Times in May 1992. Imagine what 2032 might hold.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Circuit court charge filed against Ten Commandments monument destroyer

    The Pulaski County prosecuting attorney's office filed a direct charge in circuit court today against Michael Tate Reed, who's been held in the county jail since he was arrested June 28 after driving over and demolishing the day-old Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • Whatever secret bill Senate considers, winners and losers are the same

    The U.S. Senate seems likely to vote Tuesday on a secret health bill. Whatever version is rolled out — and if Sen. John McCain's doctor approves a fly-in so he may vote — the outcome is the same. Bad for working poor and previously sick; good for rich people.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • Two shot in home on W. 19th

    KARK reports that a 19-year-old woman and 20-year-old man were found with gunshot wounds when police responded to a house in the 4200 block of W. 19th.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Bootstraps for me, not thee

    Mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation abound among the rump minority threatening to wreck state government rather than allow passage of the state Medicaid appropriation if it continues to include the Obamacare-funded expansion of health insurance coverage for working poor.
    • Apr 14, 2016
  • Trump: The Obama of 2016?

    Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman, launched an assault on Boozman Monday morning rich with irony and opportunity.
    • May 5, 2016
  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017

Most Shared

  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.
  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • 'Cemetery angel' Ruth Coker Burks featured in new short film

    Ruth Coker Burks, the AIDS caregiver and activist memorably profiled by David Koon as the cemetery angel in Arkansas Times in 2015, is now the subject of a short film made by actress Rose McGowan.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • We're No. 1! in vote suppression

    It's not often that Arkansas can claim national leadership, so give Secretary of State Mark Martin credit for something.

    • Jul 13, 2017
  • Bangin' in LR

    About 2:30 a.m. Saturday, with the Power Ultra Lounge downtown jammed for a rap show by Finese2Tymes (Ricky Hampton of Memphis), gunfire broke out. Before it was over, 25 people had been wounded by gunfire and three others injured in the rush for safety.
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Another Jesus

    • IBS, were you there in Benghazi to personally witness all of Hillary's blunders like you…

    • on July 23, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • If God felt it necessary to replace the ten commandments, he could do it like…

    • on July 23, 2017
  • Re: Football for UA Little Rock

    • He's BSC. Students and tuition-paying parents should be VERY vocal that a football program won't…

    • on July 23, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation