Arkansas angler and fishing expert Billy Murray shares his extensive knowledge of the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas
You know, we've always said that if there's one thing missing from Fayetteville (other than black people), it's a really great alternative weekly newspaper. Pig City — a college town full of music, arts, culture, bars and crooked politicians — has long been ripe for invasion on that front, but it seems no one has ever gotten around to actually putting the paper Fayetteville deserves to press. Recently, however, we stumbled upon the next best thing: the online-only Fayetteville Flyer (www.fayettevilleflyer.com). Snippy, bitchy, deliciously smart on issues from bands to burgers, the Flyer is going a long way toward filling the alt-weekly gap in the NWA.
“Steve” is one of the brains behind the five-month-old website. Like the four or five other 20-something professionals who form the core of the Flyer's writing staff, Steve would prefer that we not use his real name, citing instances where bloggers have lost their day jobs over what they've written.
Steve said that the website came about because one of their friends saw a need for an alternative voice in Fayetteville. While they didn't have the capital to start an ink-and-paper weekly, they did have plenty of know-how about websites.
“In some ways we just wanted an avenue to talk about some of the issues that we feel like no one is covering around here,” Steve said. “We don't really have high aspirations for it.”
Steve attributes the Flyer's humorous and sarcastic tone to the personalities of the writers behind it. The articles and columns posted there are short, he said, because that's what readers have time to read, and what the Flyer's writers have time to write.
“We don't have time to do investigative journalism,” he said. “We're not even journalists. So we keep it short and sweet.”
Steve said that since starting the website, response from Fayetteville readers has been “pretty unbelievable” — so much so that the founders' sense of the effort has changed from a site where a few friends could quip about local happenings, to a genuine community portal.
“We've had some articles with over a hundred comments,” Steve said. “Re-sponse has been pretty overwhelming.”
Though they've been approached by advertisers who want to place ads on their site, Steve said that so far they've resisted the lure of money.
“To this point, we've kept it ad free,” he said. “That just goes back to our idea of keeping it as pure as possible and being able to say and write about whatever we want without the politics that become involved whenever you bring money into it.”
We heard an interesting legend the other day. Namely: That whenever the economy takes a downturn, the number of calls to police department Crime Stoppers tip lines skyrocket, along with the corresponding reward payouts to down-on-their-luck finks looking to cash in.
Maybe that's so in other cities, but not in Little Rock, says Officer Cassandra Davis, coordinator for the Little Rock Police Department's Crime Stoppers program.
Davis said that in an average year, the LRPD Crime Stoppers program pays out around $3,200 for tips that lead to arrests. The amount of money paid out in each case is based on a points system, with the tip rated as to the severity of the crime, the number of people that are arrested, the amount of property that is recovered, and the amount of danger the tipster puts him or herself into by providing the information.
“I do get calls where the first thing people want to know is how do they get their money,” she said. “But sometimes the thing they tell me is not good information. I just can't pay out every time someone calls and tells me something.”
Got a tip? The LRPD Crime Stoppers number is 371-4636. All tips are kept confidential.