Wagnon, former Arkansas Business editor, dies at 68
Ted Wagnon, a former editor of Arkansas Business who put the publication on the map with an expose of a proposed high-tech industrial park that turned out to be a scam, died Saturday at the age of 68.
Kyle Massey of Arkansas Business writes, “‘That’s when we first earned our stripes as credible journalists,’ said Farrell, who oversaw the paper for 25 years as CEO and principal owner of Arkansas Business Publishing Group. ‘[Simmons] had tricked all the business leaders and Governor Clinton into believing he was going to build this high-tech center to put Arkansas on the map,”’Farrell said, but Wagnon saw red flags. Leveritt, the Arkansas Times publisher and Farrell’s former partner, said their trust in Wagnon paid off.
“‘You cannot imagine the pressure Arkansas Business got from the business community to back off that story,’ Leveritt said on the paper’s 15th anniversary. ‘That’s the first time I was told I was anti-business.’
“The business community ‘came down on us like we were protesting economic advancement,’ Farrell said, recalling ‘lots of threats and ad pulls for endangering this wonderful new project, but the more we dug the worse it got.’ After Wagnon’s expose, ‘we became heroes,’ she said, for preventing the state from throwing good money after bad.”
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