Helena World Owners Buy Herald; Rebrand Paper as Monroe County Argus

September 04, 2022

Helena World Chronicle, LLC, the parent company of the Helena World owned by Helena businessmen Chuck Davis and Andrew Bagley, announced today they had reached an agreement to purchase the assets of Hayden Taylor Publishing, which publishes the Monroe County Herald, the only newspaper in Monroe County.

In the announcement, the company announced the intention to rebrand the newspaper as the Monroe County Argus, hearkening back to the Brinkley Argus founded in 1883 and the Monroe County Sun in 1877. Bagley, who is also an instructor of political science and history at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, said, “Chuck and I have an immense respect for history and wanted to signal to the community that we intend to provide the kind of quality local journalism that those two publications provided for over a century.” The names Argus and Sun faded away when Hayden Taylor purchased the assets of the Central Delta Argus-Sun owned by the Jacques family in 2017. Taking over at the age of 19, Taylor renamed the paper the Monroe County Herald.

Bagley tipped his hat to the work Taylor had done to keep community journalism alive in his hometown saying, “Hayden took on a challenge few would have attempted to tackle in our current era but his commitment to maintaining a community newspaper in Monroe County is to be applauded.”

Davis said the company is committed to local journalism and believes that Brinkley, Clarendon and the surrounding communities deserve a newspaper that keeps them informed about what is happening in their hometowns. He said, “In ancient times, an argus was a watchful guardian. Thriving communities have vibrant newspapers that make sure the people are informed. And we believe if we fulfill our role to deliver the local content, then the people will support it.”

Bagley added, “Phillip Graham, a former publisher of the Washington Post once said, ‘Newspapers write the first rough draft of history’ and that’s what community newspapers do for small towns. That’s what we intend to do for Monroe County with the help of our communities. We want to write the stories about Brinkley, Clarendon, and Holly Grove. Whether it is the Tigers or the Lions on the gridiron and hardwood, the City Council meetings, a birth, an engagement, School Board meetings, a wedding, or a 100th birthday, we want to share that with the readers.”

Bagley also announced some staffing decisions. Five-decade Brinkley news veteran will remain on the staff of the new Argus. Bagley said, “Mrs. Arnett has graciously agreed to stay and we look forward to making her a part of our company family. Her knowledge of the Brinkley community and the history of the newspaper will make her an invaluable piece of our organization and its commitment to local news.” Arnett will have multiple roles and will be working four days per week.

Bagley also announced an intention to begin advertising for a full-time general assignment reporter soon. One of the job requirements will be that the individual relocate to Monroe County.

The company announced that current subscriptions would be honored and that new rates to renew, along with new single copy retail prices, would be unveiled soon. New advertising rates will begin with the first publication after the change in ownership. Bagley said, “We are committed to providing Monroe County with a first-class community newspaper with high quality local journalism but that requires an economic model that relies more heavily on subscription revenue. We are confident the residents of Monroe County will support a community-oriented publication focusing on local news. Monroe County has immense potential and we are excited to be here.”

Taylor said he was glad that he was able to find a buyer that isn’t a big chain that understands the importance of a newspaper to a small, Delta community. He said, “I am glad that a committed and capable group will continue to serve Monroe County’s local news needs.”

Bagley and Davis will switch the printing of the paper to the press operated by the Advance-Monticellonian, where the Helena World is currently printed. The publication schedule will also change with Taylor publishing a last paper on August 26th and the new schedule will start the following week on Wednesday, August 31.