History of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
The Arkansas Gazette was founded by William E. Woodruff in 1819 at Arkansas Post and moved to Little Rock two years later. In 1878, the Arkansas Democrat was born during the turbulent politics of the post-Civil War South.
The two papers dominated the newspaper landscape of Arkansas for more than a century and today thrive as one -- the oldest continuously published newspaper west of the Mississippi.
The Arkansas Democrat went through multiple names and owners before Col. J.N. Smithee acquired the newspaper, naming it the Arkansas Democrat.
He immediately launched an attack upon the Gazette over the issue of the repudiation of the state debt. The Gazette struck back, implying that the name Democrat was merely a cover for a resurgent Republican Party.
In September 1878, former Arkansas Gazette editor James Mitchell and his partner Gen. W.D. Blocher, former owner of the Gazette, bought the Democrat from Smithee.
After James Mitchell died in 1902, the ownership of the Democrat changed hands three times until 1926 when K. August Engel acquired a major interest. In 1930 he acquired the YMCA building at Capitol Avenue and Scott Street and turned it into a modern newspaper plant. He died Jan. 8, 1968.
In 1902, the Gazette Publishing Co. was reorganized and John Netherland Heiskell became president and editor-in-chief, positions he would hold until his death in 1972.
The Gazette took a strong editorial stand against Gov. Orval E. Faubus' attempts to prevent integration of Central High School. The Gazette was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes in 1958 -- one for meritorious public service and the other to its executive editor, Harry Ashmore, for editorial writing.
Marcus George and C.S. Berry sold the Democrat to the Palmer group in 1974, headed by Walter E. Hussman. His son, 27-year-old Walter E. Hussman Jr., became the Democrat's new publisher.
The Democrat switched to all-morning publication in 1979, publishing its last evening edition Oct. 7.
The Heiskell-Patterson family sold the Arkansas Gazette to Gannett on Dec. 1, 1986.
WEHCO Media Inc., parent company of the Arkansas Democrat, was the largest media company in Arkansas. But Gannett was the largest in the country.
After years of increasing financial losses with the Gazette, Gannett closed the paper after publishing a final edition Oct. 18, 1991.
Later that day the Democrat purchased all the assets, including the subscription list of the Gazette, and renamed the combined newspaper the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
WEHCO Media, Inc.
WEHCO Media, Inc. is a privately-owned diversified communications company with interests in newspaper publishing, cable television, and digital services.
The company has been family owned since its founding in 1909. It operates daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, and cable television companies in six states. WEHCO (pronounced WAY-CO) is an acronym for Walter E. Hussman Company.
WEHCO Newspapers publishes 10 daily newspapers in Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri including the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Chattanooga Times-Free Press and the News Tribune, in Jefferson City, Missouri.
In addition, it owns more than a dozen non-daily, magazine and specialty products including Whole Hog Sports and Hawgs Illustrated, HER Magazine in Hot Springs, Texarkana and Jefferson City, along with Edge Magazine and Chatter Magazine in Chattanooga.
In 2020, WEHCO Newspapers purchased the Pine Bluff Commercial from Gannett.
WEHCO Digital Services, founded in 2013, is a team of 80+ digital marketing experts across 12 agencies and 6 states who serve over 800 clients.
“To give the news impartially, without fear or favor.” (Adolph Ochs, 1858-1935)
Impartiality means reporting, editing, and delivering the news honestly, fairly, objectively, and without personal opinion or bias.
Credibility is the greatest asset of any news medium, and impartiality is the greatest source of credibility.
To provide the most complete report, a news organization must not just cover the news, but uncover it. It must follow the story wherever it leads, regardless of any preconceived ideas on what might be most newsworthy.
The pursuit of truth is a noble goal of journalism. But the truth is not always apparent or known immediately. A journalist’s role is therefore not to determine what they believe at that time to be the truth and reveal only that to their readers, but rather to report as completely and impartially as possible all verifiable facts so that readers can, based on their own knowledge and experience, determine what they believe to be the truth.
When a newspaper delivers both news and opinions, the impartiality and credibility of the news organization can be questioned. To minimize this as much as possible there needs to be a sharp and clear distinction between news and opinion, both to those providing and consuming the news.
“A newspaper has five constituencies, including first its readers, then advertisers, then employees, then creditors, then shareholders. As long as the newspaper keeps those constituencies in that order, especially its readers first, all constituencies will be well served.” (Walter Hussman, 1906-1988)
— Walter Hussman, Jr., Publisher
- iPad: In December 2010, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette launched an iPad app offering an exact digital replica of the printed edition of the newspaper. In 2019, the paper converted to a digital model where the newspaper is delivered daily to the iPad app and home-delivered on Sundays with subscribers having the option to receive an iPad to use as part of their subscription. Users of the app also have access to the top headlines updated throughout the day as well as push alerts to notify users of top stories. Click here to learn more about the iPad program.
- Digital: The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette operates ArkansasOnline.com, a website with the latest news and information from across the capital region and the Natural State. The site offers subscribers access to all stories, while nonsubscribers have access to a limited number of stories.
- Printed Edition: The printed edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is available daily at stores throughout the state. It is available for home delivery on Sundays.
- Email Newsletters: ArkansasOnline offers a multitude of email newsletters for both subscribers and nonsubscribers that focus on topics ranging from breaking news to sports and things to do. Click here to register for email newsletters.
- Social: The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has several social accounts where we interact with readers along with sharing the most relevant news, photos and videos. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Video / Podcasts: The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette team produces regular videos from news events as well as podcasts on topics including Arkansas Razorbacks and local business.
- Events: The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette puts on several events throughout the year including Pops on the River, All Arkansas Preps, Best of the Best, Bridal Shows and Jobs Fair.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette sponsors more than 35 events/organizations annually including The Rep, Little Rock Marathon, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Easter Seals, CARTI, Touchdown Club, Arkansas Literary Festival and Junior Achievement.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette strives to report news fairly and accurately. We correct all errors of fact. To report an error, contact Kim Christ, deputy managing editor, during business hours Monday-Friday at 501-378-3495 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Funding / Partnerships
- The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette sells subscriptions and advertising to fund our journalism. Subscriptions include digital, iPad and printed Sunday home delivery editions. Daily single copies of the Democrat-Gazette can be purchased at retail locations throughout the state.
- The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has participated in both the Google News Initiative and Facebook Local News Accelerator programs, receiving grants from both.
Support Our Journalism
- Subscriptions to Arkansas Democrat-Gazette support local journalism in the Nature State. We offer three subscription options based on where you live: Digital Access with iPad and Sunday Delivery, Digital Access or Digital Access with iPad. Click here to get a subscription.
P.O. Box 2221
Little Rock, AR 72203
121 E. Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201
Main number/Operator: 501-378-3400
Subscriber Customer Service/ iPad Conversion Information: 1-800-482-1121
Contacting the newsroom? Click here for a complete list of reporters and editors
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