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Looking Back at the Arkansas Gazette

Edited by Roy Reed

Published Date: April 1, 2009

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An Oral History
295 pages, index
8 photographs
6" x 9"

About this book

With a legendary beginning as a printing press floated up the Arkansas River in 1819, the Arkansas Gazette is inextricably linked with the state’s history, reporting on every major Arkansas event until the paper’s demise in 1991 after a long, bitter, and very public newspaper war. Looking Back at the Arkansas Gazette, knowledgeably and intimately edited by longtime Gazette reporter Roy Reed, comprises interviews from over a hundred former Gazette staffers recalling the stories they reported on and the people they worked with from the late forties to the paper’s end. The result is a nostalgic and justifiably admiring look back at a publication known for its progressive stance in a conservative Southern state, a newspaper that, after winning two Pulitzers for its brave rule-of-law stance during the Little Rock Central High Crisis, was considered one of the country’s greatest.


The interviews, collected from archives at the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History at the University of Arkansas, provide fascinating details on renowned editors and reporters such as Harry Ashmore, Orville Henry, and Charles Portis, journalists who wrote daily on Arkansas’s always-colorful politicians, its tragic disasters and sensational crimes, its civil rights crises, Bill Clinton, the Razorbacks sports teams, and much more. Full of humor and little-known details, Looking Back at the Arkansas Gazette is a fascinating remembrance of a great newspaper.

About the author

Roy Reed is the author of Faubus and Looking for Hogeye. He was an Arkansas Gazette reporter for eight years before becoming a national and foreign correspondent for the New York Times and then a longtime professor of journalism at the University of Arkansas.


“Fascinating reading with superb editing and commentary by Roy Reed, a terrific writer. Laced with telling and often humorous anecdotes about a period when folks still talked seriously about newspapers having souls.”

—Jack Nelson, retired Washington bureau chief, Los Angeles Times


“No southern newspaper had a more talented staff, a more courageous executive editor, and an owner more willing to risk his livelihood than the Arkansas Gazette. Roy Reed lets those who made it so tell the story. The results are always interesting, often hilarious, and sad at the end.”

—Claude Sitton, retired southern correspondent and national editor of the New York Times and former editor of the Raleigh News and Observer and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for commentary


“This book ranks with Stud Terkel’s Hard Times and The Good War as riveting oral history edited into a book. Roy Reed brilliantly crafts the story of the rise and fall of one of America’s greatest newspapers.”

—Gene Roberts, Pulitzer Prize–winning coauthor of The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation

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