Since Arkansas Business caught wind of this, too, we've posted early our story this week on the news that Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Publisher Walter Hussman is getting into the free weekly business in Little Rock.
Our source at the paper told us a week ago that the plan was in the works and that most oif the internal discussions and documents indicate that Hussman's forces are targeting the Arkansas Times with the effort.
The D-G will say the effort is aimed at targeting non-readers of the daily paper. We call baloney on that. It's about pushing an alternative voice out of the marketplace and we're aware that Hussman knows all the tricks. The billionaire publisher won't be able to portray himself as David in this battle, however. And we understand clearly the seriousness of the threat Hussman poses to us, all the more because we've made some of his political agendas, particularly in the Little Rock School District, uncomfortable for him.
Dailies around the country have begun faux alternative weeklies such as this. Fair competition is a fact of life in the marketplace, emphasis on fair. Will a competitor at least 25 times our size in revenue, if not more, with a record of anti-competitive practices compete fairly against the little guy? We shall see.
Publisher Alan Leveritt talked to our troops this morning. Hearts are brave. We count on our friends to help keep us informed. We have some hope that we'll continue to have sources like the one that informed us of this new endeavor. It was supposed to be a secret. Internal discussions at the D-G had once centered on debuting the weekly by surprise and without a stated connection to the Democrat-Gazette. Now you know. Please note that Paul Smith was, er, misleading in talking to us about this venture last week. You should have salt handy for any pronouncements from Democrat-Gazette leadership about their intentions.