In front of me is a copy of the first issue of The Atkins Chronicle published by Van and Ginnie Tyson. It’s dated March 4, 1992. The opening line reads, “With this issue, we take over management of The Chronicle. The principal purpose of this message is to tell you, the readers, that we realize what a big responsibility this is.”

It just so happens that a few months after this was published, I enrolled at Arkansas Tech University as a journalism major. Dr. Van Tyson was the department head and my professor. A few years later, the Tysons also purchased The Dover Times. Now, in June 2017, much has changed. Ten years ago I began teaching multimedia journalism at Tech. This was the year after Dr. Tyson retired from teaching and now, once again, I seem to be following in his footsteps. Those are big shoes to fill.

The purpose of this message, like the Tysons before me, is to convey that we realize what a big responsibility and challenge this is.

Part of that responsibility is to ensure that our readers get the best local news publication we can possibly provide. To do that we’re making some changes that you’ve most likely already noticed. This issue marks the merger of The Atkins Chronicle and The Dover Times that we’re simply calling The Chronicle. We did this to focus our resources on doing what both papers were collectively doing — serving the local and rural communities in and around Pope County. We want to stress that combining the papers will not mean a decline in coverage for a particular community. We hope, as we get this new paper established, we actually increase our news coverage and expand our audience.

Part of that increase is this new website and an expanded social media presence.

To do this we need your help. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to get the news, but also for you, our readers, to contribute. If there is something going on, please let us know. We also ask for a little patience right now as we get our feet underneath us. We have a lot of new faces around this place as well as some familiar ones. Van Tyson is still hanging around and we plan to keep him as long as he’ll let us. We know change isn’t always pleasant for folks, but we’re really excited about what’s coming. We welcome your input and your comments. While we may be the ones behind the keyboard, this is your paper and we want it to be a paper you’re proud to read.

Sincerely,

Billy and Paula Reeder