Journalists

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Entry Category: Journalists

Allbright, Charles Wilson

Charles Wilson Allbright was one of the best-known and most widely read newspaper columnists in Arkansas. Allbright wrote for the Arkansas Gazette and its successor the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, served as a speech writer, and authored several books. Charles Allbright was born on February 5, 1929, in Oxford, Mississippi, to Brice and Nita Allbright. In an interview conducted by Michael Haddigan in March 2000, Allbright stated, “I was born in Oxford, Mississippi, which has nothing to do with my life except that is where my mother’s parents were. And, in those days, it took two weeks to have a baby, and you’d go where your parents are, and they’d take care of you, so I was born at Oxford.” At the …

Allin, Richard

Richard Allin was a journalist and humorist who for thirty years wrote the popular “Our Town” column for the Arkansas Gazette and then the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. His friend and colleague Charles Allbright wrote a lighthearted column called “Arkansas Traveler” that appeared on the same page of the newspaper as “Our Town” five days a week, making that page a staple for newspaper readers searching for relief from the daily gravity of news. Richard Allin was born on October 6, 1930, in Helena (Phillips County), one of two sons of Richard Allin, who was a bookkeeper, and Dora Harper Allin, who taught the boys to use proper grammar. His older brother, John Maury Allin, became the twenty-third presiding bishop of the …

Bailey, James Clayton (Jim)

James Clayton (Jim) Bailey, Arkansas’s most celebrated sportswriter, chronicled a century of growth in the state’s most successful cultural phenomenon—amateur and professional athletics. With his friend and sometime boss at the Arkansas Gazette, Orville Henry, Bailey became inextricably intertwined with the rise to national glory of the athletic program at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County)—the Razorbacks—and with the public’s growing ardor for other school and professional sports. He was an unusually gifted writer whose toils happened to be in athletics. Bailey was voted by his colleagues as the Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year eighteen times and was one of the first sportswriters to be inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. Jim Bailey was born …

Barton, Dorothy Yarnell

Dorothy Yarnell Barton was a dedicated educator who taught at the secondary level and later as a professor at schools in Arkansas and Louisiana. She was also a prolific writer and wrote on subjects such as education theory, family history, and travel. Dorothy Atwood Yarnell was born on May 6, 1900, in Searcy (White County) to local salesman James S. Yarnell and his wife, Margaret Yarnell. She had one sibling, a brother named James who was born in 1903. She was also first cousin once removed to Ray Yarnell (1896–1974), who began the Yarnell Ice Cream Company in 1933. Dorothy Yarnell spent her childhood and young adult life in Searcy and attended Galloway Women’s College, graduating with a BA in …

Beatty, Morgan Mercer

Morgan Mercer Beatty was a native of Little Rock (Pulaski County) who launched a newspaper career at the Arkansas Gazette and became, during World War II, one of broadcast news’ early and most eminent reporters and commentators. Beatty became famous as the Washington DC and wartime correspondent of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). He broke the story that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was selecting an obscure senator from Missouri, Harry S. Truman, to be his running mate in 1944, before Truman knew it. His analytical reporting on the war set a standard that few print or broadcast journalists could match. Beatty also figured out that the first atomic bomb was going to fall on Hiroshima while the event was being …

Crow, Charles Patrick (Pat)

Charles Patrick (Pat) Crow was an Arkansas-born writer and editor who had an exceptional career at esteemed publications such as the New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune, and the New Yorker. He was a meticulous editor who earned some acclaim for his rigorous attention to style, usage, and linguistics, particularly in a long career at the New Yorker. Before his career in New York, starting in late 1962, Crow had a brief sojourn as a writer and editor at the Arkansas Democrat and the Arkansas Gazette, forerunners of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Pat Crow was born on July 14, 1938, in Jonesboro (Craighead County) to Judson L. Crow and Lorene Gibson Crow. His father was a machinery salesman and …

Deane, Ernie

aka: Ernest Cecil Deane
Ernest Cecil (Ernie) Deane—journalist, teacher, historian, and folklorist—was best known for his newspaper columns, “The Arkansas Traveler” and “Ozarks Country.” He taught journalism at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington Couny) and was a proponent to restore Old Main to its historical character at the UA campus. Ernie Deane was born on October 29, 1911, in Lewisville (Lafayette County) to Ernest Deane, a railroad engineer, and Mabel Drew Deane. He attended public schools in Lewisville and Texarkana (Miller County). He received a bachelor’s in journalism in 1934 from UA, having served as editor of the Arkansas Traveler, the UA newspaper, and studied under the founder of the journalism department, Walter Lemke, whom Deane considered his mentor. Deane earned …

Dearmore, Thomas Lee (Tom)

Thomas Lee Dearmore was a nationally recognized journalist and newspaper editor. A native of the Ozarks, Dearmore focused on politics and music in his writing. He worked at newspapers in Washington DC and San Francisco, California, and was an editor at the Arkansas Gazette for two years in the 1970s. Like his contemporary Harry Ashmore, Dearmore was a new breed of southern journalist who sought to distance Arkansas and the South from a segregationist past. Tom Dearmore was born in Mountain Home (Baxter County) on September 11, 1927. He was the son of Benjamin Dearmore and Ethel Shiras Dearmore, both of whom were natives of Arkansas. During World War II, he was stationed in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where he …

Douthit, George Clinton

George Clinton Douthit was a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat newspaper continuously from 1945 until his departure in 1970 to join former governor Orval Faubus’s failed political comeback. He then founded the State News Bureau, an operation from which he sold news stories from and about the Arkansas State Capitol to small community newspapers around the state. When he died in 1985 after a long battle with cancer, a group of people, including Secretary of State W. J. “Bill” McCuen and widow Mary Lou Douthit, hung a photo inside the Capitol press room of Douthit; a small brass plaque identifies him as the “Dean of the Capitol press corps.” George Douthit was born to James David Douthit and Obelia Douthit …

Dumas, Ernest Clifton (Ernie)

Ernie Dumas was the dean of the Arkansas political press corps for most of the second half of the twentieth century. His days as a journalist extended back to high school, when he worked for the El Dorado Daily News, and he was later an associate editor and a reporter for the Arkansas Gazette and a columnist for the Arkansas Times.  Ernest Clifton Dumas was born on December 13, 1937, in El Dorado (Union County), the younger of two sons born to Joseph Clifton Dumas and Berta Canady Dumas. His mother was an educator who stopped teaching when she got married, but she taught Dumas to read before he started school and later taught his son as well. Dumas grew up in El Dorado and graduated from El Dorado High School in 1955.  At the start of his …

Dunaway, Louis Sharpe

Sharpe Dunaway may be the most famous traveling salesman in Arkansas history, a distinction only partly due to his sidelines—politics, writing, and state promotion. For nearly fifty years, Dunaway was a sales agent for newspapers, mainly the Arkansas Gazette, which earned him the sobriquet “Mr. Gazette.” He was a friend and supporter of many Arkansas politicians, notably Governor and U.S. Senator Jeff Davis and U.S. Senator Hattie Caraway. Dunaway wrote two books, one about the life and speeches of Jeff Davis, and the other a collection of observations about Arkansas and its people titled, What a Preacher Saw Through a Key-Hole in Arkansas. The short book, published in 1925, would become an important contribution to Arkansas history for a chapter …

Duvall, Leland Blaine

Leland Blaine Duvall was a writer and editor who wrote columns, editorials, and historical articles for the Arkansas Gazette for forty years after World War II. Self-educated and reared on a hardscrabble Ozark Mountain farm, Duvall was an itinerant farm laborer until World War II. His voluminous correspondence from training camps and the war front with family members, friends, and his future wife impelled him to college and a writing career. His commentary on agriculture and economics for the Arkansas Gazette attracted a wide following and won numerous awards. Leland Duvall was born on June 19, 1911, the eldest of four sons of Omer Duvall and Esther Singleton Duvall. His father was a sharecropper, but he acquired forty acres in …

Gardner, Virginia

Virginia Gardner was a journalist and left-wing activist. At one time a member of the Communist Party, she was also the author of a well-received biography of Louise Bryant, the wife of Russian Revolution chronicler John Reed. Although born in Oklahoma, Gardner spent most of her youth in Arkansas. Virginia Gardner was born on June 27, 1904, in Sallisaw, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). She was the youngest of three daughters born to Gertrude Boltswood Gardner and John Gardner, who was a banker. The family moved to Fort Smith (Sebastian County) when she was two. That same year, her father contracted tuberculosis. He was taken to Colorado for treatment, and he sometimes returned there in the summers. Gardner’s mother died when …

Henry, Orville Monroe, Jr.

Orville Monroe Henry Jr., the best-known newspaper sportswriter in Arkansas history, worked for the state’s two largest newspapers, the Arkansas Gazette and the Arkansas Democrat (later the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette). Although he covered other sports, he is most identified with writing about Arkansas Razorbacks football at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Orville Henry was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on February 19, 1925. His father, Orville Monroe Henry Sr., was a traveling salesman who later became a farmer; his mother, Frances, raised eight children and took care of a very active home. When Henry was in the ninth grade at Pulaski Heights Junior High, he decided he wanted to be a newspaperman and worked on the …

Hughes, David Terry

David Terry Hughes Sr. was a longtime journalist, photographer, and newspaperman from Benton (Saline County). Hughes’s newspaper career began with freelance photography for the Benton Courier at age fourteen. In addition to newspapers in Arkansas, Hughes worked for papers in Texas, Virginia, Florida, Illinois, Saipan, and Guam. He was the grandson of noted Arkansas poet and columnist Anna Nash Yarbrough. David Terry Hughes was born on February 8, 1948, in the Panama Canal Zone to Frank Hughes and Jessie Shaver Hughes. His father served in the U.S. Army; when he was stationed in Panama in 1949, he was killed while crossing the street when Hughes was only a year old. Hughes’s mother remarried but soon separated. His three half brothers …

King, Bertha Hale

aka: Bertha Hale White
Bertha Hale King was a socialist activist in the first part of the twentieth century. Although born in Illinois, she received most of her early education in Arkansas before leaving the state to serve as a high-ranking official in the national Socialist Party. Bertha Hale was born in Nashville, Illinois, in 1878. Her father was a farmer, but little else is known about her parents. She attended primary school in Golden City, Missouri, just over the state line from Illinois. The family then moved to Arkansas. Following graduation from high school in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), she attended Buckner College, a small Baptist school just a few miles north of Huntington (Sebastian County). In preparation for a teaching career, she …

Lancaster, Bob

Bob Lancaster worked at several publications as a writer and editor for nearly fifty years. His iconoclastic journalism and imaginative, idiomatic style produced an avid readership wherever he went, and his deep research and waggish writing popularized Arkansas history for a generation of readers. Lancaster wrote for the Pine Bluff Commercial, the Arkansas Gazette, the Arkansas Democrat, the Arkansan, the original Arkansas Times magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the weekly Arkansas Times newspaper. At the end of his four-year sojourn as a daily columnist in Philadelphia, he declined job offers from the New York Times and the St. Petersburg Times of Florida to return to Arkansas. Lancaster published a book of collected writings on Arkansas history, a novel based upon the …

Lemke, Walter John

Walter John Lemke established the department of journalism at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1928 and served as the head of the department until his retirement in 1959. The university named the department the Walter J. Lemke Department of Journalism in his honor in 1988. In addition, he founded several historical and journalistic organizations. Walter Lemke was born on January 6, 1891, in Wausau, Wisconsin, to Carl Lemke and Ulrika Block Lemke. Lemke attended the University of Wisconsin and the University of Indiana. He received his AB degree from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, which is near Cleveland, in 1911. The college later awarded him an honorary doctor of letters degree in 1962. He earned …

Lynch, Joseph Patrick (Pat)

Joseph Patrick (Pat) Lynch of Little Rock (Pulaski County) was a longtime Arkansas radio personality, newspaper columnist, and advocate of civil liberties. His popular talk show in the 1980s and 1990s on Little Rock radio station KARN attracted guests including major politicians and other public figures who discussed both local and national issues. Lynch was a member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), representing Arkansas on the ACLU’s national board of directors from 1989 to 1995. Pat Lynch was born in Mobile, Alabama, on August 5, 1950. His parents were homemaker Dorothy Rodwell Lynch and Joseph Richard Lynch, who worked for the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad. He grew up in Mobile, where he attended McGill High School, a …

Lyons, Eugene Aloysius (Gene)

Eugene Aloysius (Gene) Lyons is an award-winning author, columnist, and political commentator who lives in Arkansas and wrote a nationally syndicated column for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, among other publications. He is author of several books and co-author of The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton (2000), which was made into a documentary film in 2004. Gene Lyons was born on September 20, 1943, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, to Eugene Aloysius Lyons Jr., an insurance clerk, and Helen Sheedy Lyons, a typist. For a time, Lyons’s father also ran a Dairy Queen. Lyons attended Chatham High School in New Jersey and graduated from Rutgers University, also in New Jersey, in 1965 with a degree …

Mathis, Deborah Myers

Deborah Mathis is an acclaimed journalist and author who has been a reporter and columnist for newspapers and a television reporter and anchor. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2003. Deborah Myers was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on August 24, 1953. Her father, Lloyd H. Myers, was a businessman and Baptist minister, while her mother, Rachel A. Helms Myers, was an educator. She has several brothers and sisters. Myers attended Gibbs Elementary, Rightsell Elementary, and Westside Junior High, graduating from Little Rock Central High in 1971. She got her start in journalism at the Central school newspaper as the first female and first African-American editor. Rather than leave home to go to college, …

Mitchell, Jerry

Jerry Mitchell was a longtime legal, courtroom, and investigative reporter. His dogged reporting led to the reopening of a number of important civil rights cases and, in doing so, helped bring to justice a number of individuals many years after they had committed their crimes. Jerry Mitchell was born on February 23, 1959, in Springfield, Missouri, to Jerry and Jane Mitchell. During his early years, his father served as a U.S. Navy pilot, causing the family to move several times. The family lived in California, first in San Diego and then San Francisco, before settling in Texarkana, Texas. Mitchell’s interest in journalism had begun in high school, where he served as editor of the school newspaper, and he was a …

Morgan, Tom Perkins

Tom Perkins Morgan’s gravestone in the Rogers Cemetery says simply, “Writer, Humorist, Philosopher.” To many in Rogers (Benton County), he was best known as a successful local businessman who operated a newsstand and bookstore downtown. But Morgan was a nationally known writer whose work appeared in major publications such as Life and the Saturday Evening Post. Tom P. Morgan was born on December 1, 1864, in East Lyme, Connecticut, to Joseph P. Morgan and Mary A. Perkins Morgan. He moved with his parents and his only sibling, Harry, to Garnett, Kansas, when he was ten. He grew up there, spending much of his spare time in the local newspaper office. In his youth, Morgan was something of an adventurer. He …

Nelson, Rex

Having been a journalist, political staffer, lobbyist, and blogger, Rex Nelson is perhaps best known for his columns appearing in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He served in the administration of Mike Huckabee and on the Delta Regional Authority, and he returned to the Democrat-Gazette in 2017. Born on September 2, 1959, in Arkadelphia (Clark County), Rex Nelson is the son of Robert “Red” Nelson and Carolyn Caskey Nelson, who had met as students at what is now Ouachita Baptist University (OBU). The third child and second son born to the family, Nelson grew up in Arkadelphia in the Ouachita Hills neighborhood, located north of the OBU campus and west of the Ouachita River. Both parents taught before entering the sporting goods …

Noland, Fent

aka: Charles Fenton Mercer (Fent) Noland
One of Arkansas’s most famous citizens during the antebellum period was Charles Fenton Mercer (Fent) Noland, a Batesville (Independence County) lawyer. He became a national figure as one of the leading “Southwestern humorists” with the regular publication of his letters in the New York Spirit of the Times, the leading national sports and humor newspaper. Noland was Arkansas’s representative in the literary movement named for the “old Southwest” (Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas), which delighted the nation with an array of bucolic frontier/agrarian writings. Fent Noland was named for Charles Fenton Mercer, the family friend who founded Aldie, Virginia, where he was born on August 23, 1810, the fourth of the five children of William and Catherine (Callender) Noland. His father …

Pfeiffer, Pauline

Pauline Pfeiffer was a successful journalist who wrote for such magazines as Vanity Fair and Vogue. From 1927 to 1940, she was married to author Ernest Hemingway, being the second of his four wives. At her family’s home in Piggott (Clay County), Hemingway wrote some of the works that would contribute to a 1954 Nobel Laureate in Literature for his contribution to writing. Hemingway credited her as being the best editor with whom he ever worked. Pauline Marie Pfeiffer was born in Parkersburg, Iowa, on July 22, 1895, to Mary Downey Pfeiffer and wealthy businessman Paul Pfeiffer. Pauline was the oldest of the Pfeiffers’ four children; Karl was born in 1900, Virginia (called Jinny) in 1902, and Max in 1907 …

Powell, James Ormond

James Ormond Powell was a newspaperman who guided the editorial policies of the Arkansas Gazette from 1959 until 1985, a period when the paper was a lonely voice for racial equality and progressive government. Powell, a native Alabaman who spent his early career in Florida, arrived at the Gazette to succeed Harry S. Ashmore, the controversial editor who had led the paper during the historic school desegregation crisis in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1957–1959. James O. Powell was born on October 24, 1919, in Andalusia, Alabama, a city of about 4,000 near the Florida panhandle. He was the youngest of three children of Abner Riley Powell, who was a lawyer, and Maggie Gertrude Deer Powell. Powell studied at the …

Quesenbury, William Minor “Cush”

William Minor “Cush” Quesenbury (the nickname reflecting how the last name should be pronounced) is known for his achievements as a journalist whose essays appeared in national publications; the founder and editor of the South-West Independent at Fayetteville (Washington County), one of the most quoted newspapers in the 1850s; a painter whose sketchbooks cover his trip to and from California during the gold rush; a poet, whose long poem on Arkansas encapsulated the state’s history and people; and a soldier who fought in both the Mexican War and the Civil War. Historians familiar with his accomplishments rank him as one of the most prolific and creative individuals Arkansas ever produced. Bill Quesenbury was born on August 21, 1822, in newly …

Read, Lessie Stringfellow

Lessie Stringfellow Read was an early champion of women’s rights, a writer for six national periodicals of her day, a correspondent for two large newspapers, and a newspaper editor herself. She was a founder of the Women’s Suffrage Association of Washington County and was an officer for the local Red Cross during World War I. In addition, she served many years as national press chairperson for the largest women’s organization of the early twentieth century, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. Lessie Read was born Mabel Staples on January 3, 1891, in Temple, Texas, to William and Lillian Staples. Both her parents died from a fever when she was two years old, and the renowned horticulturist Henry Martyn Stringfellow and …

Reed, Roy

Roy Reed, author of an incisive biography of Governor Orval Faubus, was a renowned writer and reporter for the Arkansas Gazette and The New York Times. He taught journalism for sixteen years at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). As a teacher, he stressed not only the importance of telling stories accurately but of telling them well, with careful attention to language. Roy Reed was born on February 14, 1930, in Hot Springs (Garland County) to Roy E. Reed, a mail carrier and later a storeowner, and Ella Meredith Reed, a homemaker. His younger sister, Hattie, died in 1964. Reed grew up in Piney, an unincorporated Garland County community near Hot Springs. Piney was racially mixed, and …

Rowland, Hardy Alton “Spider”

Hardy Alton “Spider” Rowland was a flamboyant newspaperman whose political columns in the Arkansas Gazette in the 1940s attracted a huge following and were widely quoted around the country. Rowland was a hard-drinking, wisecracking, brawling man-about-town whose cigar and black fedora cocked on the back of his head made him familiar on the sidewalks and in bars. Southern Politics, the 1949 classic political science anthology about politics in Southern states, invoked Rowland’s metaphors to illustrate the peculiar nature of Arkansas elections. Spider Rowland was born on July 14, 1907, in a log cabin near Hardy (Sharp County), the son of Fountain Edgar Rowland and Mary Rowland. He was the second-oldest of five children. When he was a boy, the family …

Saunders, Michael Earl (Mike)

aka: "Metal Mike"
Little Rock (Pulaski County) native Michael Earl Saunders is the lead singer and guitarist of the Angry Samoans, a California-based band that formed in 1978 out of the first wave of American punk music. Saunders, a music journalist in earlier years, was also the first to use the term “heavy metal” to describe the musical genre. Mike Saunders (a.k.a. Metal Mike) was born on May 1, 1952, to Earl L. Saunders Jr., who was an architectural photographer, and Jean Cox Saunders, who was an office manager for Burns Security in Little Rock. He has one younger sibling. Saunders attended Hall High School in Little Rock, where he played trombone in the marching band. His first album review was published in …