The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has a big story this morning about the return of the prodigal — columnist John Brummett is joining the newspaper as an op-ed page columnist.
He’ll write three columns for the newspaper and one column for on-line use only. You’ll have to subscribe to get the on-line colum.
I’ll leave it to the Democrat-Gazette to chronicle Brummett’s resume — Log Cabin Democrat, Arkansas Democrat, Arkansas Gazette, Arkansas Times/Arkansas Business, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Arkansas Times, Stephens Media , Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The move means he’ll be departing the pages of the Arkansas Times. He appeared here through a syndicate agreement with Stephens Media.
Brummett will be an independent contractor, not a Democrat-Gazette employee. He fills a niche — local news columnist — that has been sorely lacking in the state’s largest newspaper.
Departing Stephens Media for the Democrat-Gazette? To be edited by Paul Greenberg, who was known to take a crack or two at Brummett during the days they were on the same team?
It’s not really that surprising. He was hired away from the D-G at extraordinarily high pay when Stephens and the Democrat-Gazette were in a Northwest Arkansas newspaper war (shades of Orville Henry). The war’s over. Walter Hussman, publisher of the D-G, won. He controls the operations of blended papers in the region, though Stephens shares in the profits, if any, and staffs the papers that wrap around the regional edition of the D-G. Stephens has pared its newspaper payroll nationwide substantially. Its flagship newspaper property, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is no longer a cash cow. It, too, has been rocked by layoffs. The Stephens Little Rock news bureau is much smaller than it was during the war, serving mostly to supply copy to Pine Bluff, which no longer takes AP, and Fort Smith. The Democrat-Gazette, with its statewide circulation, can make better use of a columnist. And if the subscription model works, it might even make some money on the deal.