We reported in last week's Insider that the Arkansas-Democrat Gazette is now a little narrower than it used to be. The paper's width was reduced by an inch in order to save on newsprint.
The white space on each margin was reduced by a half inch and column widths are now 1/6 of an inch thinner. The reduction, the newspaper's vice president of operations said, would not greatly reduce the amount of news content in the paper. But there was one print casualty. The word “by” is no longer be used in the reporters' bylines.
Deputy Editor Frank Fellone acknowledges the change might seem “a little odd,” but says everyone will get used to it.
“It is simply an accommodation to the slightly narrower width of the columns,” Fellone says. “It's just two letters and a space, but in the re-design process that is one thing that simply changed.”
Fellone jokingly said the change would be good for reporters' egos. “If I were to write a story, I would like to have my name, Frank Fellone, as large as possible,” he says. “I don't need the word ‘by.'”
There was a bit of drama at the Pike County Quorum Court meeting on August 24. And when we say “drama,” we mean that in the best theatrical tradition. According to locally published reports, at the end of the meeting, Pike County Sheriff Preston Glenn stood up and spoke to those in attendance, asking them if they all felt safe. When many in the audience answered in the affirmative, Glenn said: “Well, you're not. You're dead.” At that moment, a woman in a wheelchair on the other side of the room threw off a blanket that had been covering her legs, stood up, and brandished a sawed-off shotgun. The sheriff, further seeking to make his point, took the gun up to the front of the room and dropped it on the Quorum Court meeting table. Glenn and his chief deputy — who assisted in hatching the idea — had recently taken a training course on courtroom security in Arkadelphia.
Pike County Judge Don Baker was in attendance at the Quorum Court meeting. Reached at his office in Murfreesboro, he said the incident didn't seem to alarm anyone, and was quickly written off. “It didn't amount to anything,” Baker said. “He was just kind of making a point. There had been a security deal, and he and the chief deputy and the chief deputy's wife were just trying to show how things could happen.”
Sheriff Glenn did not return a call seeking comment at press time.