by Max Brantley
Arkansas Business reports that Stephens Media will be consolidating production and various other aspects of Central Arkansas newspapers and activities in a building the Stephens family owns at Second and Main in Little Rock. This means that The Times of North Little Rock may not have an office in North Little Rock, come the day. Working for a North Little Rock native, I have some notion of the intensely local loyalties that prevail in NLR. Matches or beats anything you might find in NW Ark.
It did get me dreaming, too. The Stephens empire had the wherewithall to split the difference in high style. It could have converted the Junction Bridge to an office tower for its media empire. A Ponte Vecchio for Arkansas, touching both banks to avoid any parochial jealousies. That would have beat a pedestrian span all hollow.
PS -- I heard back from Dennis Byrd, who heads the Stephens operations in Central Arkansas. He says the move won't take place until March. He said it was still undecided on whether they'll continue to maintain an office in NLR when the move takes place, or if not, when they might reopen an office there. He notes the new location, which will also take in the Stephens' Capitol Bureau, is only a block from the bridge.
Somehow, all this suggests a paraphrase of the famous James O. Powell line that involved Fort Smith and Oklahoma -- So close to Dogtown, so far from God.