Arkansas Times Expands Staff, Boosts Online Readership

Arkansas Times Expands Staff, Boosts Online Readership
Arkansas Times Publisher Alan Leveritt (file)

You may know the Arkansas Times as a monthly magazine in print, but the Little Rock outlet has invigorated its news coverage online and bolstered its newsroom staff lately, Publisher Alan Leveritt reports.

“In the past year we have increased our editorial staff from four to nine,” Leveritt told Whispers.

“We have nearly doubled our unique [website] visitors during the same period from about 220,000 to about 420,000” per month.

The publication has about 4,000 full-access subscribers to its website, paying $120 per year, Leveritt said.

Part of its success results from its close scrutiny of Arkansas’ conservative political establishment, the publisher said, calling that “something that the readers don’t want to lose.”

The Times offers a contrast to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s editorial conservatism, Leveritt said. 

“In addition to being an aggressive news source, we have become the voice of the blue community in a red state. People want to keep that voice alive.”

David Ramsey has been hired to exclusively follow Arkansas’ LEARNS Act education transition, including the introduction of vouchers to pay for private and charter school costs. “Ramsey worked here during the Medicaid expansion and is one of the five best reporters we have had in our 49 years.”

Leveritt said former Democrat-Gazette and Associated Press staffer Debra Hale-Shelton was another key addition as an investigative reporter. “She broke the UA-Phoenix University story before it was fully baked,” he said, referring to University of Arkansas System President Donald R. Bobbitt’s plan to ally the UA System with Phoenix University, an idea shot down later by the system’s board of trustees.

Former Arkansas Business Publisher Wythe Walker has joined the Times as its director of development. Walker has tapped into a revenue source Leveritt never expected: philanthropic giving by readers. 

Arkansas Business will report more details later on philanthropy in the evolving news business model.