Arkansas Week: Dustin McDaniel on ExxonMobile in Mayflower & Medicaid

On this week’s edition of AETN‘s “Arkansas Week,” Steve Barnes talks to Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel about ExxonMobil and the Mayflower oil spill. Plus, me, KUAR’s Michael Hibblen and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Doug Thompson discuss the Medicaid non-expansion expansion and gubernatorial/congressional politics.

You can watch the whole show right here.

In Which the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Tries to Bully Malco Theaters

Box office bomb.

Box office bomb.

Sour grapes much? At right, a real house that’s running in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in northwest Arkansas, where Malco Theaters has decided to stop running its movie listings in the daily newspaper because, well, THE INTERNET. And really, smartphones.

Romenesko notes it here, asking, “Does anyone still use newspapers to check movie times?” The answer is “yes” only if the last time you did so was to see when “Hope Springs” was playing and you were 60.

Otherwise, it’s “no,” because it’s 2013 and everyone uses smartphones and apps like Fandango to find where films are playing, even to buy tickets before even showing up at the theater. Imagine that.

The real question Romenesko should be asking is, “Why would any newspaper use house ads to bully advertisers?” Is this the kind of business relationship the newspaper has with all its clients?

(H/T to Larry Harry, via Facebook. See a photo of the ad in print here.)

A Look Back at the Year in Arkansas Business

This week’s Arkansas Business is an annual treat for me, both as part of the newspaper’s team and as a reader. It’s our yearly look back at the last 12 months of Arkansas business news, including our countdown of the year’s top 10 stories.

Arkansas Business' annual look back at the year that was.

Arkansas Business’ annual look back at the year that was.

We’ve also got a look at 2012′s best and worst and a roundup of the top 10 most-read Arkansas Business stories of the year, written by me. It’s a fun trip down memory lane.

Also: Our media reporter Kate Knable authors the latest entry in our popular Exec Q&A series. This week, Kate talks to Eliza Gaines, assistant publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (and daughter of Publisher Walter Hussman Jr.), about the future of newspapers and her thoughts on print.

And finally, there’s the best quotations of 2012, including some fun article art put together by the invaluable Tre Baker. John L. Smith, Gus Malzahn, Mike Beebe, Warren Stephens — the gang’s all here. What a year it was, eh?

The State’s Budget, Economy, Redistricting and the GOP Race for President on ‘Arkansas Week’

Arkansas Week on AETN


I’m back on AETN’s “Arkansas Week,” which airs at 8 p.m. tonight, along with host Steve Barnes, KUAR-FM’s Malcolm Glover and Doug Thompson of the northwest Arkansas edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

On the docket: legislators angle to fill two holes in the state budget, the latest on Arkansas’ economy, a lawsuit over redistricting, Gov. Mike Beebe weighing in on the severance tax, and this week’s GOP match-up in Florida.

You wait until tonight, or catch it online here later this afternoon.

Gwen Moritz, Gerard Matthews and David Keith on ‘Arkansas Week’

Arkansas Week, 8 p.m.

Arkansas Business Editor Gwen Moritz pulls “Arkansas Week” duty this week, along with Gerard Matthews of the Arkansas Times and David Keith of the University of Central Arkansas journalism department.

You can wait until 8 p.m. to watch on your local AETN affiliate, or you might catch it online here later this afternoon.

On the docket tonight: today’s dismal U.S. unemployment report, the latest on the Arkansas housing market, various political items and high praise for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Debra Hale-Shelton, who’s making a career out of unearthing all manner of misdeeds at UCA.

Here’s How the New York Times ‘Paywall’ Works

New York Times E-mail to Readers

Pay up, freeloaders.

So it’s here. The New York Times finally has announced its long-gestating digital paywall, a metered access plan it hopes will add new revenue to the bottom line and point the way to future of consuming news online. How does it work? Here’s what you need to know:

  • It begins today for subscribers in Canada. It rolls out to everyone else on March 28.
  • Print edition subscribers will get free access to and the Times’ mobile and tablet apps.
  • If you don’t subscribe, you can read up 20 articles per month. After that, you’re locked out, and will be offered a subscription.

You can choose among three digital packages:

  • Access to and its mobile app for $15 every four weeks.
  • Access to and its tablet app for $20 every four weeks.
  • Access to, its mobile app and its tablet app for $35 every four weeks.
  • Right now, there’s no annual digital subscription plan, but Times executives say they’ll have one soon.

If you access Times articles via Google or social media like Facebook and Twitter, you can access five of those articles for free, in addition to the 20 free articles you receive as a nonsubscriber (a limit that, apparently, doesn’t pertain to Bing, so have it there!). The Times offers more details on the plan via its FAQ document here.

After the jump, more on the Times’ new strategy and reaction to it.

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Democrat-Gazette: ‘Only Build What You Can Sell’

Conan Gallaty, the online director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, talking to American Journalism Review:

“For a lot of papers, it’s not if, but when,” says Conan Gallaty, online director of the Democrat-Gazette. Gallaty readily acknowledges that the thought of a paywall — and the virtually guaranteed drop in pageviews once it goes up — “gives people in my position heartburn.” He argues that although millions of hits on a free site may make reporters and editors feel good, lots of those hits bring very little money in the door. “Our motto is, ‘only build what you could sell.’”

Not bad thinking for sure. Still, cue the standard arguments heard for years that general circulation newspapers like the DG face an uphill battle. Newspaper/online pundit Alan Mutter tells AJR he remains skeptical of paywalls, because so much of that general daily news is available for free in lots of other places online, including TV sites and blogs. Others say paywalls are old news, and the “freemium” or “metered” access models are more viable.

But DG Publisher Walter Hussman continues to be unabashed in his protection of the print edition, which he says still accounts for nearly 90 percent of the paper’s revenue. The whole AJR piece, available here, is worth a read, as it looks at other online news models, including that of the now locked-down Dallas Morning News, the soon-to-be-metered New York Times and others.

But first, a couple of other items of local interest in the piece: Gallaty notes that Arkansas Online had 77 million pageviews last year, and online revenue grow 17.7 percent over 2009.

The Daily: An Assessment

The Daily

The Daily

I helped hype The Daily last week, the day News Corp. — with the help of Apple — unveiled the iPad-only daily news app they’re asking you to pay 99 cents a week for.

Built from scratch every day, The Daily promises a new era in journalism. It’s a bold new model that puts the future of news consumption on tablet-like devices, where enough people will (hopefully) pay to read news, thereby supporting journalism in much the same way it was supported in the age of newsprint.

I’ve been reading The Daily, well, almost daily during its 14-day free trial period.

Will I eventually subscribe? Probably not.

Why? An assessment, after the jump.

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In the Firing Squad for Tonight's AETN Governors Debate Among Mike Beebe, Jim Keet and Jim Lendall

AETN's video-heavy election page

AETN's video-heavy election page. Nicely done.

I’m among the panelists for today’s hour-long gubernatorial debate starring incumbent Mike Beebe (D), Jim Keet (R) and Jim Lendall (G). We tape the debate at 2 p.m. in Conway and it airs tonight at 8 p.m. on your local Arkansas Educational Television Network affiliate.

Also on tonight’s panel: Ron Breeding of NPR affiliate KUAR-FM and Bill Simmons of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. I haven’t seen anyone’s questions except my own, but I expect hot topics to include jobs, the economy, health care and, more than likely, state vehicles.

Each panelist gets ask two questions, so expect six questions total, plus opening and closing statements from each of the candidates.

Today’s debate is part of a series of debates airing each weeknight this week on AETN stations as well as on KUAR. Also tonight: the Lt. Governors debate between Shane Broadway (D) and Mark Darr (R), airing at 7 p.m.. And on Wednesday, Arkansas Business Editor Gwen Moritz is on the panel for the U.S. Senate debate, and Publisher Jeff Hankins will be part of Friday’s Attorney General debate.

You can see the full schedule of this week’s debates at AETN’s Web site here.

And speaking of that site, kudos to AETN for a solid multimedia Web effort. In its excellent debates section, you can see videos of each of the debates and conversations with voters.

Update: You can watch the full debate here.

Blanche Lincoln, Steelworkers & the Texarkana Cooper Tire Plant

Blanche Lincoln speaks to the International Trade Commission, June 2009

In this photo from her U.S. Senate Web site, U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., speaks to the International Trade Commission.

One of the latest TV ads vs. incumbent U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln is this one by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) disputing Lincoln’s claims (in her own TV ad) that she saved 1,700 jobs at the Texarkana Cooper Tire plant, which was under threat of closing in 2008.

The view expressed in the SEIU ad is that Lincoln did nothing to save those jobs, that it was the workers themselves who did so, making big concessions to Cooper.

The union has been saying this for a while now. You can see a precursor to the SEIU ad right here on YouTube. It’s been there since March.

So who’s right? Did the workers themselves keep the plant open? Or did Lincoln save the day, as she claims in her ad?

As with most political ads, there’s varying shades of truth in both spots. It appears the workers represented in the SEIU ad did do the heavy lifting and probably did the most to save their own jobs.

Lincoln, meanwhile, had varying roles in the future of the Cooper plant, one of which she won’t talk much about. In the end, she might be fairly criticized of overstating the results of her efforts.

And of course, it didn’t have to be this convoluted!

After the jump, an unwieldy, overlong assessment of both ads’ claims and who saved the Cooper jobs.

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