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Democrat-Gazette shuffles columnists

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Readers of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette might have noticed a bit of a shake-up over the holiday weekend as two fairly significant changes were announced: Jay Grelen's thrice-weekly column "Sweet Tea" will be no more and Linda Caillouet's "Paper Trails" column will make only one weekly appearance instead of three. Caillouet will also write for the feature's department.

Deputy editor Frank Fellone told the Times the decision had nothing to do with space issues or economic considerations.

"I would say that it would be unseemly for me to describe in too great of detail how this played out," Fellone said. "But let me just say that nothing lasts forever, including me. They both wrote a column for seven or eight years. That's a pretty long stretch in the newspaper business, I think."

Grelen was "given the opportunity to move to the copy desk," where he spent some time during a sabbatical from his column, Fellone said, and took it. "He's a very good copy editor," Fellone added.

Caillouet noted in her Monday column the declining number of full-time columnists at newspapers across the country. Fellone said people who have a variety of skills are becoming more and more valuable in the newspaper business.

"Someone like Linda, who can write a column once a week and also excel in feature writing, is valuable. We seem, all, not just at this newspaper – and in fact probably less here than at some others – to be doing a little more of everything. I don't think that's unusual. It's probably that way at a lot of businesses, I feel certain. In a way we're throwing back to two or three decades ago where people did more than one thing in a newsroom."

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