Sara Greene will fill the vacancy of editor at The Heber Springs Sun Times and The Batesville Daily Guard after general manager and editor Bruce Guthrie moved to Georgia to work at the Times-Georgian and its weekly subsidiaries.
“Some folks feel that with the smartphone technology we have these days and social media, everyone and anyone can be a reporter. Well, I can check your illness symptoms online, but that doesn’t make me a doctor. There’s a lot to be said for experience and educational training in the industry,” Greene said.
“The top complaint I hear from people is that we do not have a physical office in Heber Springs. I agree, and would love to see people support us with subscription and ad revenue build to a point where we could have an office in town again,” Greene said.
For now, she travels through Heber Springs almost daily as she commutes, juggling the demands of the two newspapers, while being around for her elderly mother, her husband, and their “goon squad” of rescue dogs.
Born and raised in rural White County near Romance, her father was a pulpwood logger and her mother raised cattle, worked at a custom meat processing facility, and cleaned the Eagle Bank building in Heber Springs, before retiring due to a stroke in 2008.
“I will do my best to curate a blend local municipal meetings, civic groups, features, crime, and school news, but I need as much help from the community as possible by submitting items to us at either news@guard online.com, or for The Heber Springs Sun Times at email@example.com,” Greene said.
She encourages city leaders and community members to let the newspaper know if there are specific local municipal issues that need in-depth coverage.
In the short term, Greene wants to focus on keeping the two newspaper’s website updated in a more timely fashion and encouraging the community to email information in, as opposed to only posting it on social media.
“I find a lot of inspiration story-telling style of late radio-man Paul Harvey. When we do run what’s called wire-copy, I try to select regional items, then national items of general interest,” Greene said.
This will happen from time to time, for instance, when there’s staff out sick, or we have a weather-event, she said, recalling the big snowfall in February. The schools, the hospitals, and the big-employers, have a marketing and communications team or point-person who, ideally, submits items to the local newspaper to relay to subscribers and the general public, she added.
Long-term, Greene would like to establish a rotating group of reliable community correspondents from rural areas throughout the county and increase agriculture and business content, collected together on a page she envisions calling “Farm to Market.”
“Our goal is to provide as much local, community content as possible,” Greene said.
An Arkansas native and graduate of Rose Bud High School and the University of Central Arkansas, Greene has eight years of newspaper experience. She recently received a second-place award from the Arkansas Press Association in the category of Headline Writing. She previously wrote for The Van Buren County Democrat and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette promotions department, as well as working for weekly newspapers in Jacksonville, North Little Rock, and at The Daily Citizen in Searcy. While attending college at the University of Central Arkansas she worked for the Corps of Engineers in Little Rock as a student clerk, and worked as a relocation program manager for the Army’s 10th Area Support Group in Okinawa, Japan.
“All I’ve ever wanted to do as a writer is print things that folks want to cut out and put on their refrigerators,” Greene said.