Media & Marketing Notes: Group Five West Gets New Clients, Dem-Gaz Ends Zoned Editions, and a Book Debut


New Clients at Group Five West

Systemedic Workers’ Compensation Specialists and Bearden Bressinck, a cost-control company in the construction industry, have hired Group Five West Smart Marketing of Little Rock as their agency of record.

Group Five West will rebrand Systemedic and create a strategic marketing plan including a new company website, digital and direct marketing, and a redesign of its visual identity.

Howard Bennett, Systemedic’s CEO, said in a news release that the company was “looking for a way to take the Systemedic brand to the next level,” and he praised Group Five West’s “ability to take a deep understanding of our services” and connect with target markets.

Bearden Bressinck is also getting a revitalized brand and a comprehensive marketing plan to take them forward for the next two years,” partner Ren Bressinck said in the release. "After one meeting with Group Five, it was clear they understood our vision and our needs… Moreover, they could provide a clear and precise plan to achieve our goals."

Lisa Hemme, Group Five West’s president, said the new clients reflect well on “the hard work and determination behind our team” as well as its strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.

Democrat-Gazette Ends Zoned Editions

In an age of delivering printed copies only on Sundays, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has ended its Three Rivers Edition and River Valley and Ozarks Edition, zoned local supplements that had been part of the statewide paper for more than 25 years.

They made their last appearance on March 6.

At their height, both editions appeared twiced a week, on Thursdays and Sundays, as standalone copies and as part of the Democrat-Gazette.

“The editorial focus was on community, school and local church events, and the publications had a reputation for never printing bad news, making them popular with advertisers,” according to Publisher Weekly, the publication of the Arkansas Press Association.

The editions went Sunday-only in 2013, and printed editions ended in 2020 when they were folded into the Sunday digital replica of the Democrat-Gazette. The paper has been printing hard copies for home delivery only on Sundays for a couple of years, producing the other six days’ editions digitally, particularly in a digital replica of the printed product.

The Three Rivers edition, based in Searcy, covered Cleburne, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lonoke , Sharp, Stone, White and Woodruff counties. The River Valley & Ozark Edition, based in Conway, covered Conway, Faulkner, Perry, Pope, Van Buren and Yell counties.

Departures by two advertising managers and a reporter played into the decision to close the editions, editor Jennifer Ellis told Arkansas Business. Both editions’ advertising managers, Terry Cody at Three Rivers and Peggy Morris at River Valley & Ozarks, had announced their impending retirements before the final decision was made. “A reporter for the Three Rivers edition had also given notice that he was leaving,” Ellis said.

Conway Author Recalls Murdered Brother

Ronnie Williams of Conway, whose 20-year-old brother Marvin was killed by law enforcement officers in the Faulkner County jail in 1960, will be signing copies of his new book on the case, “Markham Street,” Thursday evening at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock.

A question-and-answer session will begin at 5:30 on March 31, followed with signings by Williams, who was just 7 when his brother, a military veteran, was killed at the hands of two Conway police officers while in custody.

He and his parents were told that Marvin Williams of Menifee died of a blood clot after being injured in a fall. He was days short of his 21st birthday. The book, subtitled “The haunting truth about the murder of my brother,” instead tells a story of racism and police brutality that turned deadly, and of a cover-up that lasted until a trial a quarter-century after the fact, and beyond.

Ronnie Williams, who grew up to be an educator and eventually vice president for student services and institutional diversity at the University of Central Arkansas, self-published the book, but it will be available through several outlets, including all Walmart locations in the state. Williams was the first person of color to chair the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce and the Conway Development Corp. Board. He is also a former chair of the Arkansas Educational Television Commission.

The book-signing event will be livestreamed on Ronnie Williams' Facebook page.