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story.lead_photo.caption Rachel O’Neal - Photo by John Sykes Jr.

Rachel O'Neal has been named editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Sunday High Profile section, and Jim Kordsmeier has replaced O'Neal as the newspaper's business editor.

O'Neal, 53, who had been the newspaper's business editor since April 2013, succeeds Cyd King, who was High Profile editor since May 2016. King has joined the American Heart Association as its Northwest Arkansas communications director.

Kordsmeier, 48, has been the newspaper's assistant business editor since May 2006.

This is the second stint as High Profile editor for O'Neal, who was the section's editor from July 2009-November 2012, succeeding Phyllis Brandon in 2009. Brandon was the creator and first editor of the section, which debuted Jan. 5, 1986.

"It's good to be back," O'Neal said of the move. "I really missed writing profiles. I love writing profiles about prominent Arkansans. When the opening came up, I went for it."

O'Neal, originally from Alexandria, La., earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La., before joining the newspaper in 1989. She is a former news reporter who covered Little Rock and North Little Rock city governments before becoming Capitol Bureau chief during a period spanning four governors. She left to work in marketing at Acxiom Corp. for nine years but returned to the newspaper in 2009 as its High Profile editor.

"I've gotten to meet a whole lot of interesting people who have interesting stories that should be told," O'Neal said.

"There isn't much she hasn't done here," Managing Editor David Bailey said of O'Neal. "When this opportunity came up, she came in immediately to say she wanted it. She said it was the best job she'd ever had and would like to do it again. I think it's a natural gig.

"And we had the perfect person waiting in the wings to take over for her," Bailey said. "Jim Kordsmeier has been our assistant business editor for 11 years. There's not much he doesn't know about it."

Kordsmeier came to the Democrat-Gazette in 1994, first working on the news copy desk, then as a police reporter before being named night city editor, then assistant city editor prior to joining the business staff. A 1987 graduate of Little Rock Catholic High, he earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and master's degree in mass communications from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

"Other than the Clay County Courier, this is the only newspaper where I've worked," Kordsmeier said. "That was my first job out of college."

As business editor, Kordsmeier will oversee coverage of the state's companies, energy industry and agriculture. He will supervise a staff of three reporters in Little Rock and four others at the paper's Northwest Arkansas office.

"I've had great mentors on the business desk, including Rachel and former Business Editor Roger Hedges," Kordsmeier said. "We have a good team of business reporters right now, including some veteran journalists who make my job easy, most days."

The newspaper, Bailey said, will "eventually have to" fill Kordsmeier's former position.

Photo by John Sykes Jr.
Jim Kordsmeier

Metro on 10/22/2017

Print Headline: O'Neal, Kordsmeier fill two editor posts at paper

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