Favorite

Nonprofits paying reporters 

It's a new news game.

There's a growing body of news about news, and much of it is bad. Large questions are raised about how much and what sort of news media will survive here in the age of the Internet. Newspaper folks feel a chill.

Under the circumstances, it is surely good news that certain nonprofit groups have been paying for certain local Arkansas newspapers to hire additional local reporters. Arkansans need to know what's going on in their own backyards, and the information isn't available on Yahoo. But it's bad news that the program ends next month, and the once-struggling papers will return to the struggle.

The Arkansas Community Foundation is a 35-year-old nonprofit group headquartered in Little Rock. A couple of years ago, ARCF was approached by a national non-profit, the Knight Foundation, about ways to help local papers. The Knight Foundation is a spinoff of the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain. ARCF enlisted the help of the Arkansas Press Association in providing reporters for local papers. "They were very excited," Sarah Kinser, communication director for ARCF, says. "They said we could really make an impact on the reporting of local news." The idea was similar to that of the national Teach for America program.

ARCF received a two-year $252,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, and matched that with $252,000 of its own, contributed by supporters. Five reporters were hired: Richard Irby in Salem for Areawide Media, which publishes weekly newspapers in Sharp, Fulton and Izard Counties; Sarah Morris at the Stuttgart Daily Leader; Eric Nicholson at the Texarkana Gazette; Matt Shelnutt at the Madison County Record; and Heather Sprinkle at The Courier in Russellville. They produced stories on an animal-cruelty case that drew national volunteers to North Arkansas; on De Queen's becoming a majority-Hispanic city; on lifelong friends who get together to clean up local cemeteries.

But the grant money is running out. Two of the five reporters, Irby and Shellnutt, will continue at their respective papers under different financial arrangements, both having been promoted to editor. Kinser said she believed that arrangements had been made also for Morris and Sprinkle to continue reporting at their papers. Nicholson is going to Dallas, as a blogger for the Morning News.

Kinser said ARCF was keeping its eyes open for new funds for a local-reporter project. "We know how to do it now," she said.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Speaking of Arkansas Community Foundation, Knight Foundation

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

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

« »

September

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

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Sex on campus

    • Here we see a "social scientist" who begins with an ad hominem argument, and then…

    • on September 24, 2017
  • Re: Sex on campus

    • Once again commentators blame the victim. Social scientists, of whom I am one, regularly find…

    • on September 22, 2017
  • Re: Time for a coalition

    • Shiny, nobody is saying that Hillary isn't entitled to speak. Shit, the more she talks,…

    • on September 21, 2017
 

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