Favorite

Barnes does Spears 

Plus: ‘Black’ in Arkansas.

MEN AT WORK: James "Butch" Warren (center) with his sons.
  • MEN AT WORK: James "Butch" Warren (center) with his sons.

In a sea of blow-dried TV talking heads, Steve Barnes — the mellow-voiced former anchor and current host of AETN's “Arkansas Week”— might be a paragon of old-school newscasterly decorum. Which is why we just had to give him a call when we heard that he'd spent part of his June tailing teen-age pregnancy statistic Jamie Lynn Spears around Mississippi and Louisiana for People magazine.

Along with his gig on “Arkansas Week,” Barnes makes a living as a freelancer for a laundry list of the country's most prestigious news sources: Time magazine, Newsweek, the New York Times, Reuters and Bloomberg. For the last 10 years, he has regularly contributed to stories for People, though his name has rarely seen a byline there. The stories in People are almost always a group effort, he said, with half a dozen writers or more contributing to a single piece — “a group grope,” he said.

“The magazine and I have a good relationship,” Barnes said. “I think it sometimes — sometimes — gets a bum rap. I've got a lot of freelance clients and none of them — none, emphasis, none — vet a story the way People does. I'd be surprised if the New Yorker vets as hard.”

Even if he thought People (or the Spears clan) were trash, Barnes said that freelancers like him can't be too choosy.    

“I tell people two things,” he said. “One, a lawyer need not like his client — in this case, his assignment. … Two, if you want to be successful, or if you want to make it as a freelancer in Arkansas, you can't afford to be terribly picky. I love working for myself and I love the freelance life, but the tradeoff is that you can't often say no.”

While on the Spears assignment, which took him to small towns along the Mississippi/Louisiana state line, Barnes got to see the paparazzi in action. They are, he said, the most cunning guys he's ever been around.

“God help me, I love 'em,” he said. “There's something so absolutely pure about them. They're absolutely untouched. It's just pure, animal instinct: Get the picture.”

Though Barnes would probably rather be interviewing the governor than chatting up the cousins of some bun-in-the-oven dropout in Dirtwater, Miss., he said he doesn't want to give the impression that he's high-minded about the job. It was a break from the routine, and writing about Britney's kid sis keeps the lights on just as well as writing about anything else.

“Look, in its own way it was fun. You get out of town on somebody's dime,” Barnes said. “Now, you try to find a good restaurant in McComb, Mississippi. … It's the Golden Arches or Ruby Tuesday.”

 

Little Rock residents — former and current — will see some heavy national airtime next week when CNN's two-part documentary “Black in America” airs at 8 p.m. July 23-24.

The second half of the series, “The Black Man,” features several Arkansans, including James “Butch” Warren, an assistant school superintendent for the Pulaski County Special School District who graduated from Central High School in 1968. In the documentary, Warren talks of racism that he endured while at Central, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the hurt he felt when black friends told him he was raising his three sons “too white” by encouraging them to join the Boy Scouts and to excel in school. Warren's son Jonathan, now a deputy prosecutor in Maumelle, is also featured prominently in the episode.

On an Arkansas Times-connected note, another familiar face that appears in “Black in America” is Adrian “607” Tillman, the Little Rock rapper who won our 2007 Musician's Showcase competition. In the doc, 607 is shown teaching kids at an after-school program, working the mic and talking about being a role model for kids who often lack any positive male figures in their lives.

Even if you don't care about some Arkies getting national air, “Black in America” makes for compelling television.

 

Hasta la vista!

david@arktimes.com

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by David Koon

  • For lovers

    We put our usual cynicism and grousing on hold as we genuflect in the direction of Aphrodite, with highly questionable sex and relationship advice from our staff, much sounder advice from an honest-to-God sex therapist and entertainment editor Stephanie Smittle's survey of two of the state's finer rubber schlong and porno emporiums.
    • Feb 8, 2018
  • Desperation and doubt on display as Ark. State Medical Board considers rules to help curb over-prescription of opioids.

    At a meeting of the Arkansas State Medical Board this morning, board members heard from doctors, patients and state leaders on proposed rules changes for physicians, designed to help curb the state's opioid epidemic.
    • Feb 1, 2018
  • Rutledge: AG's office will investigate drug makers over opioid addiction in Arkansas

    Citing what she called "staggering statistics," including Arkansas's #2 ranking for overall opioid prescriptions, and top ranking in the number of teens abusing prescription painkillers, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announce today that her office will investigate the corporate manufacturers of opioid drugs, bringing on extra help from private firms, with an eye toward potential litigation or prosecutions.
    • Jan 24, 2018
  • More »

Most Shared

  • A mayor stands up against freeway widening. No. Not in Little Rock.

    Another booming city, Indianapolis, fights ever wider urban freeways. Meanwhile, back in Little Rock .....
  • In the margins

    A rediscovered violin concerto brings an oft-forgotten composer into the limelight.
  • Donald Trump is historically unpopular — and not necessarily where you think

    My colleagues John Ray and Jesse Bacon and I estimate, in the first analysis of its kind for the 2018 election season, that the president's waning popularity isn't limited to coastal cities and states. The erosion of his electoral coalition has spread to The Natural State, extending far beyond the college towns and urban centers that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. From El Dorado to Sherwood, Fayetteville to Hot Springs, the president's approval rating is waning.
  • Arkansans join House vote to gut Americans with Disabilities Act

    Despite fierce protests from disabled people, the U.S. House voted today, mostly on party lines, to make it harder to sue businesses for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Of course Arkansas congressmen were on the wrong side.

Latest in Media

  • UA cozy with D-G columnist

    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.
    • Nov 21, 2013
  • Democrat-Gazette covers one of its own in story of reporter Cathy Frye's rescue

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's reports on the rescue of its reporter Cathy Frye, who was missing for days in the hot scrubby desert that is Big Bend Ranch State Park, are gripping.
    • Oct 10, 2013
  • Hodge shares his OA vision

    Roger Hodge, the new editor of Oxford American magazine, talked about his rise at Harper's, his writing philosophy and his plans for the OA before a full crowd last Wednesday at the Clinton School.
    • Sep 26, 2012
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

February

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  

Most Viewed

  • Donald Trump is historically unpopular — and not necessarily where you think

    My colleagues John Ray and Jesse Bacon and I estimate, in the first analysis of its kind for the 2018 election season, that the president's waning popularity isn't limited to coastal cities and states. The erosion of his electoral coalition has spread to The Natural State, extending far beyond the college towns and urban centers that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. From El Dorado to Sherwood, Fayetteville to Hot Springs, the president's approval rating is waning.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Out of control

    • And Olphart - hey, That is a witty reply - good for you!

    • on February 17, 2018
  • Re: Out of control

    • Oh for god's sake - read the play - just read the play before going…

    • on February 16, 2018
  • Re: Out of control

    • Aloysius, Not even a large man with a bodyguard detail acting in a way intended…

    • on February 16, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation