A Sleepy Week at the Legislature on Tonight’s Arkansas Week

I’m back on AETN’s “Arkansas Week” at 8 p.m. tonight along with the Associated Press’ Andrew DeMillo and KUAR’s Kelly MacNeil. We’ll go over the week that was at the General Assembly, including no raises for judges and lawyers, an attempt to reign in independent state agencies and redistricting. We’ll also go over the Arkansas delegation’s vote to repeal Obama health care and major news from Tyson Foods Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Got a big night ahead? Watch it right now online.


It’s … Happening … Again … Today’s Democratic #ARSenDebate Underway

The second #ARSenDebate, underway now. (Photo via @BillHalter)

It’s a day of debates. First, the Republicans, now the Democrats (again).

Again, watch these guys:

Andrew DeMillo, AP – @ademillo

John Lyon, Arkansas News Bureau – @johnlyon09

Dave Catanese, Politico – @davecatanese

Jason Tolbert – @TolbertReport

John Brummett – @johnbrummett

Jessica Dean, KATV – @jessicadean

And Blake Rutherford live-blogs here.

Update: The debate is over. DeMillo’s full AP story here. Jason Tolbert has epic Flipcam video, unfurling here.

Republicans Square Off Now in Debate for U.S. Senate

Last night, the three Democratic contenders for an Arkansas U.S. Senate seat squared off, and now it’s the 8 Republican candidates’ turn.

Some Saturday commitments keep us from attending the forum, taking place at today’s meeting of Arkansas newspaper editors at the DoubleTree Hotel in Little Rock. So we recommend you watch via an A-team of Twitter correspondents on the ground downtown:

Andrew DeMillo, AP – @ademillo

John Lyon, Arkansas News Bureau – @johnlyon09

Dave Catanese, Politico – @davecatanese

Jason Tolbert – @TolbertReport

John Brummett – @johnbrummett

Update – The debate’s over: See DeMillo’s first AP write-through, available here.

Bill Halter on the Attack, Blanche Lincoln Holds Firm at #ARSenDebate

That (above) was the scene just before tonight’s Democratic U.S. Senate debate at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, carried live on KATV-TV, Channel 7; C-SPAN; KUAR-FM, 89.1; and Politico.com.

Blanche Lincoln supporters rallied for the TV cameras just minutes before the incumbent took the stage to face two challengers, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter and businessman D.C. Morrison. One of them was entertaining!

The other two? Well, let’s just say there were few surprises, as Lincoln and Halter stuck mainly to their respective scripts. Lincoln: “One tough lady” who has cast the tough votes and worked hard for the working men and women of Arkansas, her allegiance to them higher than to her own party. Halter: The optimist who says Washington is broken, missing Arkansas values and besieged by special interests and politicians who are bought and paid for.

After the jump, some quick analysis and links to related coverage, including KATV video.

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DeMillo, Thompson, LT on the Senate Race Tonight on ‘Arkansas Week’


Tonight, we’re back in the “Arkansas Week” rotation, along with Andrew DeMillo of the Associated Press and Doug Thompson of The Morning News. Too bad there’s absolutely no political news to talk about!

Check that. We did spend an inordinate amount of time of some obscure, podunk, no-count U.S. Senate race that no one is paying attention to, in hopes of bringing some badly needed media coverage to the candidates in question.

Cogent political analysis — at least from everyone who isn’t me — at 8 p.m. tonight on your local AETN station.

Or, if you have the ‘tubes (you probably do), you can eventually watch it right here.

Some Cogent Political Analysis of Arkansas Congressional Races

Above: Andrew DeMillo’s excellent political analysis piece, summed up succinctly by one of the co-stars in 2009’s feel-good movie of the year, “Antichrist.”


AP Sources: Rep. Marion Berry to announce announces retirement [ArkansasBusiness.com]

Shocker! Marion Berry Bows Out! [The Arkansas Project]

Berry to Announce Retirement Tomorrow Morning [The Tolbert Report]

Arkansas Rep. Marion Berry to Retire [Blake’s Think Tank]

Marion Berry to Quit [Arkansas Times]

Cilliza Breaks: Berry Quits; ‘No Democrat Is Safe’ [The Washington Post]

Dems ‘struggling to unite’ [Politico]

‘Of Course They Did’ Department

Republican Party of Arkansas raises cost of filing for Congressional primaries [Tolbert]

Molding Young Minds at UALR High School Journalism Day

Much thanks to the Sonny Rhodes and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for inviting me to speak during two sessions of UALR’s annual Journalism Day event, which took place Thursday.

Andrew DeMillo of The Associated Press gave the event’s keynote address on “Why Journalism Matters,” and other session leaders included Frank Fellone of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Kelly Kissel of the AP and Malcolm Glover of KUAR-FM, 89. 1, the Little Rock NPR affiliate.

I spoke in two sessions, the first on “Why Your High School Newspaper Needs to Be Online,” and the second on ” … So You’re Online, Now What?” The students were great and asked some solid questions.

I also took the opportunity to ask some questions about teen media habits. And needless to say, everything you’ve heard about how teens engage (or don’t engage) with media is probably pretty close to true.

  • Most of them don’t read newspapers — less than half of the 20 in my first session said they read the local daily on a weekly basis, and none of them read it daily.
  • Many of them said they spend at least 4 hours a day online. One student said he’ll often spend half a Saturday online.
  • They text message one another like crazy. When I told them about a study that showed the average teen sends 2,000 texts a month, many told of numbers double that. And because they’re heavy texters, their parents are, too. One student said his Mom sent 5,000 messages one month.
  • Facebook is the hotness, but MySpace is dunzo.
  • They watch TV, but usually while surfing the Web.
  • Many of them say they read magazines.
  • Oh — and none of them Twitter.

None of their high school papers were online, but a couple of schools seemed poised to invest in the Web soon. One of the big concerns for students and their advisers was finding a way to fairly moderate reader comments.

In all, it was an enjoyable session. Despite the turmoil that traditional media (newspapers, TV, radio) find themselves in, I still believe it’s an exciting time to be a journalism student. The possibilities the Web offers young reporters and editors are boundless. No longer are students defined by the medium for which they work. On the Web, the lines have blurred, and they can each be involved in writing, video, photography, audio production, Web programming and more. And given the current state of media, with all the economic and organizational challenges that exist, they have a chance to help reshape the profession as it asserts itself on mobile and online platforms.

It’s a thrilling time for those kids, and 14 years out of high school, I’m a little envious.