Messengers at Work (Editorial)

The fact that we share a calling - and it is a calling - with other journalists means we have more in common than not. On this Labor Day, we praise our colleagues for performing what remains for most of us a labor of love.
  • Mara Leveritt and the Arkansas Times. They sought justice for three teen-agers - the West Memphis Three - who lost their youths during the last 18 years while not forgetting that three little boys lost their lives in May 1993. If the result wasn't exactly justice, it was a start.
  • Debra Hale-Shelton and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Hale-Shelton reported Wednesday that a $700,000 "gift" to the University of Central Arkansas from food vendor Aramark had some strong strings attached. The strings? That Aramark would give UCA the money to renovate the university president's home only if UCA renewed a contract with the company. That's not a gift. Other words spring readily to mind. We'll let the reader supply them.
Hale-Shelton brought the whole L'affaire Lu Hardin to light, a mess that can't be summarized in anything less than 200 words, but it was good work.
  • Mark Friedman and George Waldon, senior editors at Arkansas Business, who broke the story of what law enforcement called the biggest fraud in Arkansas history: the more than $50 million scam perpetrated by Kevin Lewis, peddler of bogus improvement district bonds. The former lawyer pleaded guilty Aug. 3 in federal court to one count of bank fraud and agreed to pay restitution of nearly $40 million. The Ponzi scheme brought down one Arkansas bank and caused at least 10 others in the state financial losses.
We provided a little editorial nudge during the last legislative session, and the Arkansas General Assembly passed a law, the Improvement District Transparency Act, that requires the districts to file annual disclosure forms with county collectors.
We in the press are all too human. We make mistakes and sometimes we fuss among ourselves. However, robust journalism, which we labor hard to practice, serves all Arkansans.