Gannett Watch for 4-9-08

Walter E. Hussman Jr., publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, was this week named Publisher of the Year by the trade magazine Editor & Publisher.

The newspaper is often criticized for its conservatism, and a resigning state editor recently accused it of being a “good ole boys club” where offensive racist and sexist rhetoric is allowed to linger internally.

But the newspaper is significant in that its precursor was able to beat Gannett at its own game and force Gannett to sell out back in 1991. The Arkansas Democrat was family-owned, and Gannett bought the competitor Gazette in the 1980s, leading to a contest that ended when Gannett sold its paper to its rival. The current name is a combination of both papers.

It’s a fascinating tale, and a Google search for Arkansas Democrat-Gazette + Gannett turns up good stuff. It seems they play everything for blood down in Arkansas.