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SWARK Today, Hempstead Herald announce merger

Transaction brings combined strengths to local media

By Rick Kennedy, managing editor
The one-and-a-half year old Hempstead Herald has merged with the emerging multimedia start-up, SWARK Today, reshaping the changing landscape of the local and regional media market, and presenting news consumers and advertisers in the community with a stronger choice.
SWARK Today President Jim Hawley said, “The reputation of the Hempstead Herald for breaking news in local law enforcement, fire, accident and traffic reports with the work of Jesse Evans as been well-regarded in the community. We felt this was a good fit for us with what we are growing at SWARK Today.”
Jesse Evans, the founder of the Hempstead Herald, said “For me, this idea was a no-brainer and too good of an opportunity to pass up, given the recent shake ups in local media.”
“There is a great team in place at SWARK Today, and I like the team’s philosophy towards balanced community journalism. Our combined and diverse strengths can make us the best destination spot for local news and information in the market,” Evans said.
The merger was finalized on October 22 with Evans joining the SWARK Today staff. The technical details of the merger, such as linking of the two web presences, are still being worked out.
In his new role at SWARK Today, Evans will continue to focus on breaking news, first responders, and local law enforcement as well as photography and website updates.
Evans joins two former Hope Star veterans at SWARK Today, Managing Editor Rick Kennedy and Advertising Director Bren Yocom.
The 145-year Hope Star in Hempstead County along with the 117-year old Nevada County Picayune in Prescott were shuttered in September 2018, while in adjacent Clark County, Arkadelphia’s Siftings Herald and Gurdon Times also ceased publication. All four of the community newspapers had companion websites that were also closed.
SWARK Today debuted in August 2018 with the online streaming presentation of Prescott High School football games and quickly expanded its scope to local news and current events in mid-September.
The mission statement of SWARK Today as developed by its local management and ownership is:
“We are a multi-platform news media enterprise that delivers local news, sports, and commentary to residents of Hempstead, Nevada and Clark Counties in digital print and video formats. We exist to provide professional journalism, webcasting, and robust live-streaming of current events in Hope, Prescott, Arkadelphia and surrounding areas in Southwest Arkansas.”
“We strive to provide the most relevant, up-to-date, and cutting edge local news and sports presentations through a 100% local management, leadership, and employment structure. We aim to provide a unique and interactive portfolio of advertising products and services that are recognized as the region’s most valuable, innovative, and market-leading web platforms,” as stated on SWARK Today’s website.

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