The Pine Bluff Commercial and several weekly newspapers owned by Stephens Media are contracting with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette to distribute its newspapers, according to Byron L. Tate, publisher of the affected Stephens Media newspapers.
The arrangement follows a similar agreement in western Arkansas where the Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith, also a Stephens Media newspaper, is distributing the Democrat-Gazette.
“We looked at that operation and asked ourselves if there were opportunities here in Pine Bluff or with our weeklies,” said Tate, who is also editor of The Commercial. “What we found was that we can consolidate our distribution networks which will allow us to reach into areas that haven’t been available to us. It’s a win-win situation.”
The change will likely go unnoticed to readers of The Commercial, but the weekly newspapers are being transferred from postal delivery to carrier delivery, said Tate, who added the arrangement is similar to ones The Commercial has with its carriers, only on a larger scale. The agreement involves home delivery and single copy distribution.
The weekly newspapers involved are the Jacksonville Patriot, North Little Rock Times, Sherwood Voice, Maumelle Monitor, Cabot Star-Herald, Lonoke Democrat, Carlisle Independent, Van Buren County Democrat and Hot Springs Village Voice.
The change over started last week with the Jacksonville newspaper and will continue for several weeks until all the papers are being distributed by the Democrat-Gazette.