The Pulitzer Prize for commentary came to roost in Alabama last week when al.com’s John Archibald was recognized for what was described as “lyrical and courageous commentary rooted in Alabama but [having] a national resonance ….”
The Pulitzer committee chose Archibald for a slate of columns that included commentary on the political demise of ex-Gov. Robert Bentley, Roy Moore’s run for United States Senate and the “Me Too” movement, among others.
Archibald came to The Birmingham News in 1986 and has written commentary for the paper and al.com since 2004. He also now works with al.com’s new public interest news and commentary division called Reckon.
His win is The Birmingham News’ third ever.
ZEW launching stations
Although they are not ready to offer specifics yet, the leadership at 92-ZEW/WNSP say they will be launching not one, but two new radio stations in the next few months.
Programming Director Tim Camp said the first of the stations should launch within the next few weeks and the second will be closer to the summer. We’ll stay tuned (groan) for more information soon.
Paper rises from dead
In a most peculiar fashion, The Clayton Record, a weekly paper serving the city and Barbour County, has come back from the dead.
The paper was sold last March, then closed about two months later, but was reopened on April 5 and began publishing again. As if the idea of a newspaper coming back these days after having closed isn’t strange enough, The Record’s resurrection required resolving a defamation suit first.
Rebecca Beasley, who is also mayor of Clayton and whose family has run the paper for 102 years, sold The Record to Blake Gumprecht last year. Gumprecht was a former college professor from New Hampshire. According to an article in the Eufaula Tribune, Gumprecht ran the paper for only about two months before shutting it down.
“Just a little more than a month into his ownership of the Record, it was obvious Gumprecht was having issues,” the Tribune reported. “He placed a sign on the business’ door that said the newspaper had ‘closed permanently,’ and added negative comments about Rebecca Beasley. The sign was taken down by the following day and the Record continued to publish.”
Gumprecht was apparently also critical in print of Beasley and her husband, State Sen. Bill Beasley. He told the Tribune Beasley never supplied him with training required under their sales contract, took company records that were his and never paid the money owed.
Beasley and her daughter, Laney Gulledge, reopened the paper and published the first issue April 5.