The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, considered the state's newspaper of record, traces its roots to 1819 and the founding of the Arkansas Gazette. It claims status as the oldest continuously published newspaper west of the Mississippi.
The paper is published in Little Rock, with a northwest Arkansas edition published in Lowell, and distributed in each of the state's 75 counties. Its 2008 circulation numbers were 182,212 daily and 274,494 on Sundays, making it the largest in the state.
In addition to its Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its editorial stand against segregation during the 1957 Central High crisis, the paper is best known for the newspaper war that erupted between the Gazette and the old Arkansas Democrat in the late 1970s.
Owner Walter E. Hussman Jr. became the publisher of the Democrat in 1974 at age 27. Then, the Democrat was an afternoon paper, and the Gazette had almost twice the daily circulation. For many years, Little Rock garnered national attention for its newspaper war and being one of the larger cities to maintain two dailies.
That changed after the Gazette’s local ownership sold the newspaper to media conglomerate Gannett Co., which brought in outside reporters and staff. By the late '80s the Democrat had surpassed the Gazette, and the paper printed its final edition on Oct. 18, 1991, after selling its assets to Hussman.
Today, the "Dem-Gaz" has maintained higher circulation numbers than papers in cities of similar size, but has been slow to embrace the new wave of online news. Its digital edition remains behind a paywall. Still, prominent newspaper industry executives have praised Hussman for his strategy of protecting the print edition and no giving free access to online news.
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