Newspapers and Magazines

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African American Perspectives Northeast Arkansas

The quarterly African American Perspectives Northeast Arkansas magazine was established in Jonesboro (Craighead County) in 2007 by Diversified Publishing Company, LLC. Founding members of the publishing group included Drs. Lonnie R. Williams, George Grant, and Glen Jones, who were administrators at Arkansas State University (ASU), and community leaders, Everett Fair and Emma Agnew. Agnew served as editor for the first five years until Williams assumed a co-editing role during the last two years of publication, 2011–2013. Four seasonal issues were published each year, and content consisted of feature articles from various contributing writers as well as advertising. Standing columns included an African-American business directory, church directory, and calendar of events. According to its vision statement, Perspectives was created to uplift …

Arkansas Catholic

The Arkansas Catholic is the official newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock. It began publishing in 1911 as the Southern Guardian at the request of Bishop John B. Morris with Monsignor John Michael Lucey as editor. Bishop Morris intended the newspaper to be the “official organ” of the Catholic Diocese for the 22,000 Roman Catholics then living in the state at the time. The newspaper began as a weekly eight-page broadside newspaper with an annual subscription rate of $1.50. It was renamed the Guardian when “Southern” was dropped from the title in 1915. In 1986, the newspaper became the Arkansas Catholic. The paper has been associated with the Catholic News Service since 1923. Editorship changed several times over the …

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the state’s largest newspaper, is based in Little Rock (Pulaski County), with a separate northwest Arkansas edition. After the Arkansas Democrat bought the assets of the Arkansas Gazette in October 1991, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette was born. It is the only statewide newspaper, offering home delivery in all parts of Arkansas. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has its roots in the Reconstruction era. A newspaper first called The Liberal became The Journal and then The Chronicle. Finally, it became The Evening Star, having passed through several owners and editors by 1875. On April 11, 1878, Colonel J. N. Smithee acquired the newspaper and renamed it the Arkansas Democrat. Smithee, who had served in the Confederate army, immediately launched an attack …

Arkansas Freeman

The Arkansas Freeman, which began publication on August 21, 1869, was the first newspaper in Arkansas printed by an African American and focusing upon the black community. It was in publication for less than one year, having become symptomatic of the divisions within the Republican Party, particularly where African Americans were involved. The idea to found a black press was approved on June 20, 1869, by a committee of African Americans, led by local advocate Jerome Lewis, at Wesley Chapel Methodist Church on the campus of Philander Smith College; a dinner was later held at the City Hall of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to raise funds to establish a newspaper. The committee included several ministers and community leaders who felt …

Arkansas Gazette

The Arkansas Gazette, Arkansas’s first newspaper, was established in 1819, seventeen years before Arkansas became a state. Its editorial stance for law and order during the desegregation of Central High School in 1957 earned the newspaper two Pulitzer Prizes—the first time in history one newspaper won two Pulitzers in the same year. Known for its liberal editorial pages in a conservative Southern state, the Gazette closed on October 18, 1991, after a bitter newspaper war with its cross-town rival, the Arkansas Democrat. William E. Woodruff published the first edition of the Arkansas Gazette on November 20, 1819, introducing it as Republican (the name that evolved into the modern Democratic Party) in politics. Woodruff, a New Yorker who had completed a …

Arkansas State Press

The weekly Arkansas State Press newspaper was founded in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1941 by civil rights pioneers Lucious Christopher Bates and Daisy Gatson Bates. Modeled on the Chicago Defender and other Northern, African-American publications of the era—such as The Crisis, a magazine of the National Association of Colored People (NAACP)—the State Press was primarily concerned with advocacy journalism. Articles and editorials about civil rights often ran on the front page. Throughout its existence, the State Press was the largest statewide African-American newspaper in Arkansas. More significantly, its militant stance in favor of civil rights was unique among publications produced in Arkansas. Although in later years, Daisy Bates would be recognized as co-publisher of the paper and, in fact, …

Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Times is a widely read free periodical known for its liberal political stance as well as being an early adopter of news blogging in the state. The Times has achieved acclaim for its work on such stories as the Arkansas prison blood scandal and the case of the West Memphis Three. In 2013, the paper began crowdsourcing funding for in-depth investigative pieces. In the fall of 1974, a group of five people led by Alan Leveritt set out to create an alternative media outlet for Little Rock (Pulaski County) that would offer investigative reporting and stories on local culture. Leveritt had gotten his start in the media business during his college days in the early 1970s at Little Rock …

Arkansas Times and Advocate

aka: Arkansas Advocate
The Arkansas Advocate was the second successful newspaper in Arkansas. It was created in direct opposition to the state’s oldest and longest-running paper, the Arkansas Gazette, in 1830 by Charles Pierre Bertrand of Little Rock (Pulaski County). While Bertrand originally intended his paper to avoid party loyalties, the Advocate (later the Arkansas Times and Advocate) favored the politics of whoever its editor was at the time. The newspaper ceased operations in 1844. A year after Robert Crittenden mortally wounded Henry Wharton Conway on October 29, 1827, Crittenden and eight unnamed financial backers attempted to start a newspaper opposed to William E. Woodruff’s Arkansas Gazette. In the summer of 1828, Crittenden, acting for himself and as legal counsel for the seven …

Batesville Daily Guard

The Batesville Daily Guard has been published continuously since 1877, the only Batesville (Independence County) newspaper that has survived from about two dozen that were started in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Originally a weekly publication, it later became an award-winning daily newspaper. The founder of the Guard, Confederate Civil War veteran Franklin Desha Denton, was born in Batesville in 1841. In 1868, Frank Denton married Martha Adelia “Mattie” Lewis. According to the Goodspeed history of the area, Denton was attending Center College at Danville, Kentucky, when the Civil War broke out, and he came home to enlist in the Confederate army. He was twice wounded, captured by the Union army, and exchanged to fight again. After …

Baxter Bulletin

The Baxter Bulletin newspaper was established in 1901 in Mountain Home (Baxter County) by J. G. “Uncle Jess” Copeland, who had previously worked for both the Memphis Commercial Appeal and the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Over the years, it became a popular weekly turned six-day-a-week publication with a circulation of around 11,000. Copeland sold the Bulletin in October 1903 to Joe Doehring and Will M. McNair. He then moved to Cotter (Baxter County) and established the Cotter Courier. Doehring was serving as both editor and publisher when the newspaper was sold to Tom Shiras in 1905. The next year, Enness Shiras joined his brother as co-owner of the paper. They owned and operated the paper for approximately forty years. In …

Courier-Index (Marianna)

The Courier-Index, a newspaper based in Marianna (Lee County), is the oldest continuous business operation in Lee County. Its roots date back to about 1872 when L. M. Benham is believed to have founded the Marianna Index. J. M. Thomas was the first editor. The Lee County Courier, founded in 1890 by Colonel James Wood, gave the area two newspapers for more than twenty-five years. Herbert M. Jackson purchased the Index and the Courier in 1917 and merged them into the Courier-Index. Jackson published the newspaper until his death in 1934, when his wife, Cordie Jackson, became publisher. She continued to publish the paper until 1937, when she sold it to John B. Howse. Approximately two years later, she resumed …

Daily Citizen (Searcy)

The Daily Citizen is a newspaper serving Searcy (White County) and the greater White County area. The paper traces its origins to 1854, when it was first printed as the Des Arc Citizen, and it claims to be the oldest county newspaper in Arkansas. John J. Morrill originally founded the paper, which began weekly publication on September 5, 1854, in Des Arc (Prairie County). Morrill’s Des Arc Citizen held fiercely Democratic leanings and gave a voice to the anti-abolitionist views held by most Prairie County Democrats just before the Civil War. Citizen opinions showed deep concern about potential Republican electoral success, warning that creeping Northern encroachment into the issue of slavery would only end in secession from the Union, if …

Daily Siftings Herald (Arkadelphia)

The Daily Siftings Herald was a newspaper based in Arkadelphia (Clark County) that served Clark County and nearby portions of Hot Spring County. The Daily Siftings Herald began operations in 1920 after two newspapers consolidated. The Arkadelphia Signal began publication in 1881 under the ownership of J. W. Miller, J. N. Miller, and Isom Langley. The name of the Signal changed to the Arkadelphia Clipper in 1882 and then to the Arkadelphia Herald in 1888. The Siftings began publication in 1891 under the ownership of brothers Edward and Claude McCorkle. Claude moved to Hope (Hempstead County), where he bought the Hope Star newspaper, while Edward remained in Arkadelphia to operate the Siftings. Edward died in 1918, and his son Philip …

Das Arkansas Echo

aka: Arkansas Echo
Das Arkansas Echo was a weekly German-language newspaper published out of Little Rock (Pulaski County) from 1891 to 1932. It promised an “allgemeine Zeitung für Wahrheit und Klarheit auf dem politischen und sozialem Gebiete” (general newspaper for truth and clarity in political and social realm). At the time of its establishment, it was one of three German-language newspapers in the state; the Arkansas Volksblatt of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and the Arkansas Staats-Zeitung of Little Rock also provided news to German-speaking immigrants. The Echo reported a circulation of 850 in its early years, with circulation eventually reaching around 1,300. The Echo’s predecessor was Der Logan County Anzeiger (Logan County Gazette), which was published by Conrad Elsken and had a circulation …

De Queen Bee

The De Queen Bee was established by printer Walter A. Boyd and lawyer J. W. Bishop of Nashville (Howard County). The newspaper has been serving De Queen (Sevier County) and the surrounding areas since June 4, 1897. Some sources report that the partnership began when Boyd and Bishop were sitting on the courthouse steps in Nashville discussing the future of the developing railroad town of De Queen. Seeing the new town as an opportunity, they decided to start a newspaper, naming it the De Queen Bee. A subscription was one dollar a year, with the paper being published every Friday. The partnership lasted for only three issues before the paper was sold to E. C. Winford. Leadership of the paper …

Grapevine

The Grapevine, published from 1970 to 1993, was a weekly newspaper based in Fayetteville (Washington County). It began as an off-campus University of Arkansas (UA) student publication and evolved into an alternative news source for the broader northwestern Arkansas community, with a focus on Fayetteville arts and culture, student life, and progressive politics. The paper officially began as a weekly published off campus by the Arkansas Student Free Press Association, beginning on March 18, 1970, although longtime Grapevine editor Peter Tooker suggested that it may have had its origins the previous year as an underground campus paper focused on Greek life and concerns at UA. The paper’s founder and editor in 1970 was Richard (Cid) Sutoris Jr.; while a student …

Hot Springs Medical Journal

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Hot Springs (Garland County) was proud home to the Hot Springs Medical Journal, first published in January 1892. Although medical journals were published in nearby locations including Little Rock (Pulaski County), Memphis, Tennessee, and St. Louis, Missouri, the founders of the publication felt that the natural hot springs for which the city was named provided a great resource for many patients. They stated in the first volume: “The city of Hot Springs, Arkansas is…the greatest sanitarium on earth, and in a few years is inevitably destined to become the most universally frequented health resort in the world.” At that time, Hot Springs was already quite a tourist area. The resident population was …

Liberator, The

The Liberator was an anti-Catholic weekly newspaper published in Magnolia (Columbia County) from 1912 to 1915. It is representative of a type of journalism that railed against Catholicism in the early 1900s and was particularly strong in the South and the Midwest. Populist politician Tom Watson of Georgia had launched a new wave of anti-Catholic journalism in 1910 with his Watson’s Jeffersonian Magazine, but the largest anti-Catholic paper was The Menace, published in Aurora, in the Missouri Ozarks, approximately forty miles north of the Arkansas line. Founded in 1911, The Menace had 1.5 million subscriptions by 1915, making it one of the most widely circulated publications in the country. The Liberator was a smaller regional paper, similar to other anti-Catholic …

Little Rock Free Press

aka: Arkansas Free Press
The Little Rock Free Press was an alternative newspaper based in Little Rock (Pulaski County). It began publication on April 20, 1993, and twelve years later, the Freep, as it was commonly called, became the Arkansas Free Press. The Little Rock Free Press covered everything from daily news to controversial topics such as prostitution, homosexuality, night life, drug culture, and Little Rock’s independent music scene. Often incurring the wrath of religious groups and politicians, the Freep was said by its editor to be “provocative Arkansas history with a twist.” In 1993, Little Rock’s previous alternative newspaper, Spectrum Weekly, ceased publication. It had been printed in Russellville (Pope County) but faced opposition from the printer and others after it began running …

Newspapers during the Civil War

When the Civil War began in 1861, Arkansas was still basically a frontier state, with thirty to forty small newspapers; only about ten remained by 1862. By the end of the war in 1865, only one of those newspapers, the Washington Telegraph in Hempstead County, had published throughout the conflict. The Arkansas State Gazette suspended publication in 1863 but restarted in May 1865. Arkansas’s newspapers were weeklies with small staffs—primarily just editors and printers. The papers were highly partisan, poorly documented, and had little fresh news from the outside world. The papers got much of their outside news through exchanges, in which editors mailed free copies of their papers to each other. The editors then selected news items from these …

Oxford American (OA)

The Oxford American (OA) is a quarterly journal of Southern culture and literature. Affiliated with the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway (Faulkner County), it publishes short fiction, poetry, and articles in a glossy format in the vein of Harper’s or the Atlantic Monthly. The Oxford American is best known for its music issue, which focuses on often-overlooked Southern musicians and includes a CD of selected songs from these musicians. The Music Issue has been featured on National Public Radio many times and has won two National Magazine Awards for Best Single Topic Issue. OA has sporadic special issues with topics including Southern art, architecture, film, and food. Founded under editor Marc Smirnoff in Oxford, Mississippi, in 1992 as a …

Pick and Shovel

The Pick and Shovel was the official newspaper of the Republic Mining and Manufacturing Company (a subsidiary of the Alcoa company, which mined bauxite ore to produce aluminum), based in Bauxite (Saline County). It was conceived by Leona Rucker, its first editor, to be “a friendly, informal newspaper for all of us and our families at Bauxite and at Drury.” In 1953, the Pick and Shovel won the highest award for editorial merit of all Alcoa plant publications in the United States. The paper’s original run lasted from January 1944 to May 1958, after which it went out of print. However, the most recent incarnation of the Pick and Shovel is as the official newsletter of the Bauxite Historical Association …

Pine Bluff Weekly Herald

Established in 1900 by Jesse Chisholm (J. C.) Duke, the Pine Bluff Weekly Herald was an African-American newspaper published in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). During its short run, the Herald published on Saturdays and featured local, state, national, and international news, as well as entertainment and advertising. To date, no records have surfaced to document how long the paper circulated, and only one issue, published on January 27, 1900, has been archived. However, some information is available about editor J. C. Duke. Born a slave in Alabama in 1853, Duke began his career in the newspaper business by serving as editor of the Montgomery Herald until he was chased out of the state because of his bold and controversial editorial …

Saline County News-Pacesetter

Between 1955 and the mid-1970s, an independent weekly newspaper (first called the Saline County News, then—after consolidation with the Saline County Pacesetter—the News-Pacesetter) existed in direct opposition to the Benton Courier in Saline County. Veteran newspaperman Harold Johnson and his wife, newspaperwoman Elsie Cabe Johnson, left the Benton Courier to start their own paper, the Saline County News, in June 1955. It lasted until 1972, when Whitney Jones, son of Dr. Curtis Jones, purchased it from the Johnsons. Continuing as the Saline County News-Pacesetter, the paper lasted until the mid-1970s, when it too was sold. In addition to covering local news and sports, it helped launch the careers of many Arkansas writers and photographers. The first newspaper to carry the …

Saline Courier

aka: Benton Courier
The Saline Courier (formerly known as the Benton Courier) is the largest and oldest newspaper in Saline County. The paper began its life as the Saline County Digest, established by Vermont native W. A. Webber in 1876, as the official mouthpiece of Saline County Democrats, although it later lost that affiliation. The Digest was published weekly in a seven-column folio with an average circulation of 1,000. In November 1882, the Digest changed hands for the first time. It was purchased by B. B. Beavers, who renamed it the Saline County Review; in November 1883, Colonel Samuel Houston Whitthorne bought Beavers’s interest in the paper and renamed it the Saline Courier. Whitthorne was the father-in-law of prominent Benton doctor Dr. Dewell …

Sentinel-Record

Hot Springs (Garland County) has had a number of newspapers come and go throughout its history. Local residents but also visitors to the Spa City from around the country have made up the readership of Hot Springs’ papers over the years. Between 1873 and 1883 alone, fifteen Hot Springs newspapers began and ended operation. This fact led Robert W. Leigh, historian of the Arkansas Press Association, to state in 1883, “Hot Springs has been the birthplace and burial ground of many a newspaper.” The Sentinel-Record (often abbreviated as S-R), the only local newspaper circulated daily throughout the area, remains as the last survivor of a series of newspaper mergers in Hot Springs. The first record of a local newspaper in …

Times Dispatch (Walnut Ridge)

The weekly Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County) newspaper the Times Dispatch has been in continuous publication since 1910 when Dave A. Lindsey moved his newspaper operations from Pocahontas (Randolph County) to Walnut Ridge. The newspaper’s website gives this characterization of the paper: “The Times Dispatch has traditionally been a conservative, Democratic newspaper, with a mission to provide complete news coverage of Lawrence County and to serve as a crusader and primary supporter of Lawrence County and its businesses.” In 1913, Lindsey sold the paper to Walter Smith. Smith published the paper for approximately eight years before selling it to James L. Bland Sr. of Perry County and Austin Wilkerson, editor and publisher of the Newport Independent. By 1922, Bland was the …

Woman’s Chronicle

On March 3, 1888, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) three women—Catherine Campbell Cuningham, Mary Burt Brooks, and Haryot Holt Cahoon—published the first issue of the Woman’s Chronicle, a weekly newspaper dedicated to women’s interests, particularly suffrage. Cuningham was listed as the editor, Brooks and Cahoon as associate editors. The previous year, the short-lived Little Rock publication the Southern Ladies’ Journal had ended its run, leaving a void that it appears these women sought to fill. The founding meeting of the Arkansas Equal Suffrage Association had been held the month before, likely generating some of the motivation as well. The Woman’s Chronicle focused on women’s primary day-to-day interests at the time—cooking, fashion, and literature—in addition to social gatherings, events, and the …

X-Ray

The X-Ray was one of Arkansas’s first “underground” newspapers. Circulated in 1912 at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), the X-Ray was known for criticizing not just the university and its policies but also its faculty. The X-Ray sparked a wave of social change in Fayetteville that affected how the university was run. Ultimately, a group of students was expelled for printing and distributing the X-Ray, triggering a dramatic student protest. In February 1912, thirty-six students attending UA formed a group called the Iconoclasts. On February 24, 1912, they printed and distributed the first issue of the X-Ray. The paper touted itself as the “Paper Without a Muzzle,” and the editors had their names printed plainly below …