Youthful delegate 

Youthful delegate

Though Jonesboro native Taylor Riddle is just 18, he has already accrued enough political experience to travel to Denver this August as a part of the Arkansas delegation to the Democratic National Convention. Riddle's career kicked off when, at age 14, he started as a volunteer on Dustin McDaniel's campaign for state legislature. Jason Willett, who chaired the Arkansas Democratic Party from 2005-2007, took him under his wing and put him to work on the Party's coordinated campaign in 2006. Through Willett, Riddle met U.S. Rep. Marion Berry, who took him to Washington as a page. Riddle later served as Nancy Pelosi's page before returning to Jonesboro to graduate from Nettleton High this past December. He has since worked at Willett's consulting firm, FJW.

Riddle will be the youngest member of the state delegation, and he suspects that he will be the youngest delegate at the convention — though that has not been confirmed. He was selected an alternate delegate at the recent State Democratic Party convention, which means he'll vote if one of the regular delegates is unable to meet the call. If the opportunity arises, he'll vote for Hillary Clinton; the country needs her experience, he said.


What goes around

Though the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has run against the press trend of providing free access to its Internet content (at least on its main website), it has not been able to counter the national trend of declining daily newspaper circulation.

The D-G reported circulation declines for the six months ended March 31 from 183,034 to 182,212 Monday-Friday and from 276,310 to 274,494 on Sunday. These declines — of less than 1 percent — were still better than many brethren.

But what caught our eye was publisher Walter Hussman's statement that free news on websites was part of the problem. “It is hard to compete with free,” Hussman told Editor and Publisher.

Hussman, many remember,  used free classified ads, free circulation and the money-losing practice of printing more pages than the competing Arkansas Gazette daily to win the newspaper war with his Arkansas Democrat. In the last year, he's started a free weekly newspaper and the D-G still offers free classified advertising.


Not-so-easy go

Poe Travel's Fred Poe has long been known for his yen for travel to little-explored destinations — and also for lively writing about those journeys.

Poe fans take note. He calls his latest journey The Three Stans, for the shared final syllable of the faraway countries he plans to visit. First up, Kyrgyzstan in Central. Read all about it at poetravel.blogspot.com.




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