Wednesday, March 28, 2012

EDITORIAL >> Betty Magie, RIP

Betty Magie, who passed away Monday at the age of 84, was an old-fashioned editor who made sure her Lonoke County newspapers were filled with local news, photos and features.

She helped edit the papers for more than 50 years and read every word that went into each issue. She was a meticulous proofreader who was educated in the old days, long before television, when schools still taught writing and every high school graduate could write a clear English sentence.

A Furlow native, Betty went to Lonoke High School and on to the University of Arkansas at the age of 17 in 1944, where she met her husband Cone, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 81.

They started the Cabot Star in 1955 and soon bought the competing Cabot Herald. Back then, putting out a newspaper took a lot of work, when every letter was pieced together on hot metal and every page took hours to complete.
It was hard work and long hours. But she and Cone loved community journalism and won dozens of awards over the decades. Both headed the Arkansas Press Association several times and represented our profession around the country.

The Magies were among the last of the family newspaper publishers. Their ownership ended in 2006, when the family sold to a Las Vegas outfit. At one time, families owned newspapers all across Arkansas, from Benton to Van Buren, from Cabot to Paragould. Now there are just a handful of local owners. Cone and Betty Magie were among the best.