Friday Week in Review: The Week Everyone Left

We'll miss this. Nick Snowball in happier times

We'll miss this. Nick Snowball in happier times

It’s another Friday Week in Review! A week in which we lost so much and gained so very little.

Among those shaking the dust of this crummy little town, Nick “Zack” Stovall, the Arkansas News Bureau Web guru and Unfamous First Words blogger who hates our blue shirt, likes to scream at us on the street corner and who just this year discovered the image macro. Better late than never!

It’s the love of a beautiful woman that’s taking Nick away from Little Rock up to St. Louis and the sunny shores of the Mississippi, where he’ll write anything for money until he’s able to trick someone into hiring him full time. We’re all sad to see him go, but we wish him the best in what’s destined to be a long, accidental career in political flackery he’ll surely look back on with great regret.

So happy trails to Nick Snowball, and on with a look back at the week that was:

BJ signed off, and we were on hand to say goodbye.

Blake puzzled over David Sanders’ latest then huddled up with Phil Martin to geek out over movies.

The Arkansas Project began tracking Arkansas Senate races, as if anyone cares about that.

Jason Tolbert, legitimized! Writing for the Arkansas News Bureau, Tolbert picks apart the lottery. What? No video?

Some called Walter Hussman “the patron saint of the pay wall.” Really.

Rex Nelson professed undying love for the Oxford American.

They started handing out radio shows all willy-nilly.

Mick Stainball pondered health care.

We thought “the Moritz Scale” was kinda cool.

The Blog Hawgs had a helluva week — even got some airtime.

Reggie Fish broke it down.

CNBC ranked Arkansas 31st for doing business; readers react.


How to syndicate yourself

Beers all around

That’s me in that meme

Parody of the year


Coming Soon: Think Tank Radio on 103.7 The Buzz

Tankin' it to the airwaves

Tankin' it to the airwaves

You’ve probably heard, but because the Internets is an echo chamber, we’ll tell you again!

Justin Acri‘s gone bat-sh!t* crazy and given PR guy and blogger Blake Rutherford his own radio show. Fortunately, it’s on when no one will be listening: Sunday!

You can catch the proprietor of Blake’s Think Tank holding forth each week from 7-9 a.m. on 103.7 The Buzz, right before that 9-noon slice of crazy that is the Bill Vickery show, which Rutherford has guesthosted in the past. On his own show, Rutherford plans to talk politics, sports, media, movies — whatever.

You catch all of it starting on Aug. 16, sure to be looked back upon as a red-letter day in Arkansas radio history, the day they officially began handing out radio shows to pretty much anyone who asked!

(* Of course we bleeped it. This ain’t The Arkansas Project, you know.)

Happy Retirement, BJ!

BJ Sam's final gift: A photo of Tom Brannon.

BJ Sam's final gift: A photo of Tom Brannon.

Much more: Photos | Videos | Even more

Plus: Watch this morning’s show – Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4


More From Walter Hussman, the ‘Patron Saint of the Pay Wall’

Noted here mainly for the record, since there’s not much new in this Arkansas Democrat-Gazette piece (on the front of the Business section here in Little Rock) on publisher Walter Hussman’s championing of the pay wall, this time during a Webinar hosted by the American Society of News Editors.

A longtime advocate of subscriptions for online news, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette publisher Walter Hussman was one of two newspaper executives to address charging for online content at a “webinar” hosted Wednesday by the American Society of News Editors.

The model of requiring online readers to pay for some or all of a newspaper’s online content – which the Democrat-Gazette adopted seven years ago – is referred to as a “pay wall.”

The webinar’s moderator, Edward L. Seaton, editor in chief of The Manhattan (Kan.) Mercury, called Hussman the “patron saint of the pay wall and the person who has led the charge to try to solve this problem that all of us are facing.”

You can read the full article here. But read it fast. It’ll soon disappear behind said “pay wall.”

So far, I can’t find any other reporting on this Webinar. The Democrat-Gazette notes briefly that “not everyone thinks now is the right time to be exploring a pay-to-read model on the Web. Several listeners at the webinar, which was attended by about 80 people, mostly newspaper editors, expressed doubt during the question-and-answer session.” The nature of those doubts isn’t explored in the article.


Linked-stained wretches: Sharing content in the Internet age – Mediaite

The Long Goodbye: BJ Sams Says Farewell on Friday

BJ Sams and Tom Brannon say goodbye ahead of Sams' final morning broadcast on Friday. Click for video.

BJ Sams and Tom Brannon say goodbye ahead of Sams' final morning broadcast on Friday. Click for video.

After more than 50 years in broadcasting (“Fifty-six,” he’ll remind you), BJ Sams is signing off tomorrow. His final broadcast of “Today’s THV This Morning” happens Friday.

This morning, before tomorrow’s busy farewell, he spent some final moments with his long-time “This Morning” co-host and sparring partner Tom Brannon, who commissioned a special “long-distance dedication” for his pal. Click here to see video of the segment, and be sure to check out tomorrow’s show for BJ’s final moments on air in Arkansas.

More Video

It’s been a month of tributes. Click for video of BJ with:

Alyson Courtney | Former co-host Robyn Richardson and her surprise | Chris Olsen | The Peabody Hotel | Leslie Heizman | Former co-host Beth Ward | Derrick Rose | Liz Massey | Dawn Scott | His Top 11 Quotes | Arkansas Children’s Hospital | Mark Pryor | KARK | Capital Hotel | Alyson, BJ & Tom at 6:30 p.m

See more on the Official Retirement Page


BJ Sams to retire

BJ Sams honored at Media Fellowship luncheon

Charles Crowson to co-host

Here’s An Idea: The Harvard Business Review on the ‘Nichepaper’

Big ups to Robb Montgomery on Twitter for a link to this article on the “nichepaper manifesto.” I’m not big on buzzwords, nor am I big on manifestos, but I like the ideas described in this piece on the future of newspapers by the Harvard Business Review.

What does it boil down to? The future of newspapers lies in so-called “nichepapers,” news organizations built around “a profound mastery of a tightly defined domain — finance, politics, even entertainment” — and offering “deep, unwavering knowledge of it.”

Some examples: Talking Points Memo, Perez Hilton, Business Insider, Huffington Post. As a classic niche publication, Arkansas Business could also fit this model.

The article goes further to say that, “The 21st century news organization is a portfolio of the different kinds of nichepapers.” Here’s why:

Nichepapers are the future of news because their economics are superior. All the Nichepapers above are “real” enterprises, with staff, offices, and fixed and variable costs. Nichepapers offer more bang for the buck: greater benefits for far less cost. Readers get more, better, and faster content — while publishers realize lower capital intensity, lower distribution, marketing, and production costs, and less risk. What is different about them is that they are finding new paths to growth, and rediscovering the lost art of profitability by awesomeness.

Not a fan of phrases like “profitability by awesomeness,” either. But you get the point.

If you care about newspapers, you should read the whole thing right here, then tell me what you think. This is of course but one possible model of how news organizations might look in the near future.


Of course, “niche” is nothing new. Arkansas Business is a niche newspaper and part of a company that produces a host of niche products. And in November, Arkansas Business media writer Mark Hengel wrote about how “niche” is becoming an important part of the business plan for general circulation daily newspapers.

Ernie Passailaigue’s South Carolina Days, the ‘Moritz Scale’ and More in This Week’s Arkansas Business

Where does your local politician rank?

Where does your local politician rank?

It’s Monday. On the bright side, there’s the new Arkansas Business. In this week’s edition:

Mark Hengel investigates Ernie Passailaigue’s time as head of the South Carolina. Let’s see: There was an FOI lawsuit, a conflict over a $7.5 million advertising contract, and allegations that Passailaigue, a former South Carolina state senator, benefited from cronyism. Otherwise, everyone loved him! Seriously!

The Promenade at Chenal isn’t quite a ghost town. But it does reflect the state of retail in the United States, meaning … well, you know what that means.

If you’re looking for some good eats, though, there are worse places!

The Affiliated Foods bankruptcy has been bad for lots of people, including property managers, who are now unable to collect rent.

Speaking of the lottery, at least four advertising agencies in Arkansas appear to be interested, which makes that contract a hotter ticket than that other one.

The state’s public radio affiliates are working together, sharing stories and resources, which only makes sense, really.

The Blackberries and iPhones and Internets and whatnots are making it hell to having a meeting these days.

Gwen Moritz invents a handy to scale by which to measure our public figures’ misdeeds. Introducing the Moritz Scale of Political Bad Behavior.