Favorite

Happy birthday to us 

The Arkansas Times observes 30 years in business this week and if things had gone according to plan, I wouldn't be here to write about it. I dropped out of grad school in 1973 and landed a reporting job at the Arkansas Gazette thanks to kind words from a Stanford professor, Bill Rivers, who knew the Gazette's city editor, Bill Shelton. I would have been happy to die at the Gazette, had the Gazette not died first. In September 1991, before the Gazette closed, but when its fate was becoming clear, I got a call from Alan Leveritt. He offered me a job at the Times, should I need one. Come mid-October, I did. Shortly after, I was working for the Arkansas Times magazine, but planning for conversion of the monthly to a weekly newspaper the following May. Alan wanted to fill some of the void left by the Gazette's passing. Twelve years later, we're still at it. I had first met Alan soon after arriving in Little Rock in 1973. A UALR student, he worked the "crap desk" (writing obits and news briefs) at the Gazette. He'd started an independent publication on campus, but he dreamed of creating an Arkansas magazine that raked muck, entertained and, importantly, revered all that was Arkansas. It seemed grandiose for Alan's modest station at the time, to tell the truth. But it also smacked appealingly of the then-hot "new journalism." I remember sitting around the Gazette city desk with Alan, reading aloud bits of Tom Wolfe's article on astronauts in Rolling Stone, a piece that would grow into "The Right Stuff." It was writing and it was real, even if it wasn't much like journalism as practiced by the daily newspaper of record. Alan got his little publication started and a funny thing happened. The Gazette wouldn't allow its crap desk man to work for a "competitor." Goodbye crap desk. Alan would drive cabs, frequent low dives, beg, plead, borrow, deliver papers and do just about anything else to keep his little publication alive. I risked my own job by writing an article for the Times under a pseudonym. It wasn't exactly investigative journalism. I ate at every barbecue joint in the Little Rock Yellow Pages and filed an in-depth report. Took the photos, too. Earned the handsome sum of $25 after dunning Alan for months. We're here today - along with a bevy of spin-off publications - in large measure because of Alan's survival skills and unparalleled salesmanship. But to appreciate him, you need to know that it was ideas and journalism that brought him here, not money. When he decided that his skills were better used in sales than writing, it didn't lessen his determination to make a difference with the content of his publication. That explains our staff - larger and more experienced than most alternative weeklies - and the unusual amount of space we devote to editorial content. I know first-hand Alan's fearlessness. Several of the state's biggest advertisers won't do business with us because they don't like what we write. It is the cost of speaking the truth. I've never known a publisher more willing to pay the price. Here's looking at you, Al. Happy 30th.
Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Giuliani in the bullpen for Sessions?

    When Donald Trump starts tweeting about "beleaguered" Attorney General Jeff Sessions it adds credence to reports that Trump is looking to replace him with Rudy Giuliani.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • Jared Kushner: Nothing to see here.

    Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's son-in-law, has prepared a statement detailing four meetings with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition and he asserts nothing improper occurred. I'd rather talk about health care.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • A night out: Beer and bullets

    A late night shooting in the Fayetteville entertainment district brings a reminder of the legislature's recent expansion of gun law.
    • 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.

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

  • Pay attention

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

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