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Newspaper news: 'Pine Bluff Commercial' moves to the morning this week.

Thousands of southeast Arkansas residents will be finding something new on their doorsteps this week.

A weekday morning newspaper from Pine Bluff.

The Pine Bluff Commercial, an afternoon newspaper since its inception 101 years ago, is joining the ranks of morning papers this week. The newspaper will have a morning edition seven days a week after previously having published in the mornings on only Saturdays and Sundays.

The decision to move to morning publication was made by officials of Donrey Media Group, the owner of the Commercial. The transition initially was planned for last year but was postponed due to economic factors.

"We felt it might be bad timing since it costs a little bit more to produce a morning newspaper," says Charles Berry, publisher of the Commercial for the past two years.

The newspaper was purchased by Donrey from the Freeman family of Pine Bluff in December 1986.

A Luxora native, Berry worked at the Daily Siftings Herald at Arkadelphia and the Courier News at Blytheville before moving to Pine Bluff.

The decision to publish a morning newspaper is an attempt to "fill a niche" in southeast Arkansas, according to Berry, who sees the need for more extensive coverage of the region.

Part of the Donrey plan is the addition of a regional edition that will reach readers in Grant, Cleveland, Lincoln, Arkansas, Bradley, Drew and Desha counties.

"What we're trying to do is design a product to meet the needs of readers in southeast Arkansas," Berry says. "We're going to give them in-depth regional news that I don't think they can find anywhere else."

Feature Attractions

The changes at the newspaper involve more than just a morning edition, according to Editor Jane Ramos. Several features will be added, including a Friday morning preview of this fall's high school football games. That project will be overseen by Sports Editor Wadie Moore Jr., a longtime sportswriter for the Arkansas Gazette. The tabloid section will include interviews with coaches and players.

A "Southeast Arkansas Weekend" section also will be produced each Friday. The section will feature coverage of various arts, entertainment and sporting events occurring in the region.

Regional Editor Emmett George, who manned the Gazette's Conway bureau prior to the newspaper's October demise, will direct a staff of four reporters along with a number of stringers. Their job will be to provide coverage of local news in cities throughout southeast Arkansas.

Ramos joined the Commercial in December after seven years at Donrey's Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith.

Other recent additions include City Editor Mike Trimble, a former "Arkansas Traveler" columnist for the Gazette and a former associate editor of the Arkansas Times, and syndicated columnist Cynthia Tucker, editorial page editor of the Atlanta Constitution.

Ramos has taken on the tasks once handled by Paul Greenberg, former editorial page editor of the Commercial who recently joined the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette as editorial page editor. She writes all of the newspaper's editorials and will be writing a weekly column.

Ramos plans to expand the newspaper's business news coverage as well, devoting two pages on a regular basis to stock listings.
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Author:Taylor, Tim
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Aug 3, 1992
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