Donna Lampkin Stephens is a lecturer in journalism in the Department of Mass Communication and Theatre at the University of Central Arkansas (www.uca.edu) in Conway. She also serves as director of publications and community relations for the College of Fine Arts and Communication. Her teaching specialty is reporting. She worked as a sportswriter for the Arkansas Gazette from 1984-91, then taught in Arkansas high schools for seven years before coming to UCA in 1999. She is a Ph.D. student in Mass Communication at The University of Southern Mississippi (www.usm.edu) specializing in media history and plans to write her dissertation on the Arkansas Gazette.
Along with Kevin Clark (director) and Dr. Joseph Anderson (executive producer), Stephens in 2006 produced the 90-minute documentary film The Old Gray Lady: Arkansas's First Newspaper, which tells the story of that newspaper from its birth in 1819 until its death on October 18, 1991, when it was the oldest newspaper west of the Mississippi River (http://www.ucaecho.net/stories/index.php?id=175 ). The Gazette became the first newspaper to win two Pulitzer Prizes in one year in 1958 when Executive Editor Harry S. Ashmore won the prize for editorial writing and the newspaper itself was awarded the Gold Medal for Meritorious Service. Stephens, Clark and Anderson were responsible for bringing in $120,000 in grant money to produce the film, which is narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Mary Steenburgen and premiered at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock on October 18, 2006, the 15th anniversary of the paper's closing. It was featured in the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Ozark Foothills Film Festival and Little Rock Film Festival in 2007, the Northwest Arkansas Film Festival in 2008 and has aired on public television in Arkansas several times. A 30-minute companion film, The Crisis Mr. Faubus Made: The Role of the Arkansas Gazette in the Central High Crisis, is in production and will be distributed to Arkansas secondary schools.
Last updated on February 5, 2009
Copyright 2008 Donna Lampkin Stephens. All rights reserved.