Two Arkansas Magazines Change Editorial Leadership

by Mark Hengel  on Monday, Jul. 13, 2009 12:00 am  

There have been a few changes in the central Arkansas publishing world, with two magazines shuffling editorial leadership.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette announced June 23 that Phyllis Brandon would step down as editor of the paper's Sunday High Profile section, a position she has held since launching the section in 1986. Brandon has become a staple of the Arkansas social scene thanks to the lengthy profiles of everybody who is anybody in Arkansas that she and various writers have penned.

Brandon will now use her knowledge of Arkansas' social scene as editor-in-chief of Arkansas Life, a magazine published 10 times a year by the D-G's parent company, Wehco Media Inc. of Little Rock. In the new role, Brandon will help determine the fledgling magazine's content.

And Lila Ashmore has left as Inviting Arkansas's editor, with Associate Editor Jennifer Jones taking over as editor. Ashmore was editor for about five years before stepping down after the July issue. She had worked at Inviting since 2002.

Ashmore has "been at it for seven years. She decided she wanted to take a break and pursue some other opportunities," John Towne, Inviting's owner, said. Jones "knows how the magazine works and she has done a great job for us for four years and we thought ultimately she was the best candidate."

Brandon, 73, moved to Arkansas Life to reduce her hours, Crystal Thurman, the D-G's promotions director, said. In the new role, Brandon will work with Christy Smith, whose title will change from editor to managing editor, Thurman said. Brandon will help Smith determine the magazine's content, while Smith will manage day-to-day operations, Thurman said. The changes take effect Tuesday. So, what will Brandon bring to the magazine?

Brandon "has more connections in the social scene and people trust her implicitly," Thurman, who oversees the D-G's niche publications, said. "She will allow us to get inside some doors we could not have gotten in before."

Rachel O'Neal Chaney will now become High Profile's editor. Chaney is leaving Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock, where she was a marketing communications specialist. She also was a long-time reporter at the D-G.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.

Latest Arkansas Business Poll

Do you approve of the president taking executive action on immigration?