Rusty Turner, who oversees news operations at the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and several weekly newspapers, announced Monday that he plans to retire this spring after dedicating 40 years to journalism in the region.
Turner shared the news with newspaper staff on Monday. He has pegged May 19, his 62nd birthday, as his last day on the job.
“It just kind of feels like the time is right,” he said.
Turner graduated from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. Over the next seven years, he worked as a news reporter and sports writer for newspapers in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.
He took on his first job as an editor in June 1991 with the Northwest Arkansas Morning News in Rogers, then became managing editor in 1994 after that paper merged with the Springdale Morning News. He was promoted to editor in 2003.
A major shake-up in the local newspaper scene came in 2009 when the Morning News and its parent company, Stephens Media, agreed to merge with its competitor, WEHCO Media, publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and various daily and weekly publications in the area. The new company was called Northwest Arkansas Newspapers LLC.
Turner was named executive editor over all publications involved in the merger except for what was then the Northwest edition of the Democrat-Gazette.
His current role as editor encompasses many duties including assigning and editing copy, supervising employees, managing a budget and hosting the weekly podcast Know the News.
“It’s a challenging job,” Turner said. “I still get a rush out of getting a great story and getting it out in front of people.”