After 16 years in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette sports department, and a year and a half helping to run it as assistant sports editor, Frankie Frisco was enjoying a vacation with his wife last week in the Dominican Republic while looking forward to a job outside journalism.
“I didn’t retire; I just got out of the business,” Frisco told Whispers. “I’m out of journalism.”
After six years of marriage, the hours involved in putting out a daily sports report were no longer tolerable, Frisco said. So when vacation began March 17, he was never to return to the Democrat-Gazette. “It’s not that we were dying for me to get out of the business,” he said, “but the hours sucked.”
Frisco, a former spokesman for the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville, is the new production planner for Kerry Inc. of Hot Springs. “I’m starting next Monday [today] and it’s Monday through Friday, 8 to 5. I couldn’t beat those hours.”
Kerry is a global supply company that “puts together products for Walmart,” Frisco said. “They have a plant in Hot Springs and I’ll work in an office inside that facility. I’ll schedule all the planning for each product they put out, and they run three shifts.”
At 55, Frisco is also ready to plan vacations without factoring in March Madness, Razorback football or the College World Series. He’s also getting paid a little more than his salary as assistant sports editor. When longtime Sports Editor Wally Hall wished him good luck on vacation, Hall noted that Frisco’s vacation during spring break — the only time Frisco’s wife could take off from her job in HR for a day care — was coming during the NCAA Basketball Tournament. “I did note a little sarcasm in his voice,” said Frisco, who has a journalism degree from the University of Central Arkansas.
Still, Frisco said the newspaper had always taken care of him, including regular promotions, and that he was grateful.
Paper Is Hiring!
Democrat-Gazette Managing Editor Alyson Hoge said the newspaper is “looking both inside and outside the company at candidates” for Frisco’s position and for others in the newsroom. “We’re hiring!” she wrote in an email. That is extremely rare in newspaper companies these days.
Hoge also addressed questions about the Democrat-Gazette adopting an “online first” approach to covering the news. “We want readers to rely on us for their news, features and sports. We’re always working to expand what we’ve been doing all along, which is to give online readers a story before they receive the next day’s replica edition [on their computers or iPads].” The replica edition has the same appearance and content as the daily printed newspaper, along with many extras.
“What they see in the replica might be an updated version of what was on the web the day before, or the same story,” Hoge said, adding that the Democrat-Gazette has also started providing more feature content to readers ahead of publication in the replica edition.