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Area Journalist to Return to Campus for Joel Gambill Speaker Series


JONESBORO — Gretchen Hunt of Paragould, who works for Paxton Media Group serving as operations manager for The Times Dispatch, a weekly newspaper in Walnut Ridge, will be on campus Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 17-18, for the Dr. Joel Gambill Distinguished Speaker Series. Hunt will speak with students and faculty in the School of Media and Journalism.

Hunt's appearance also coincides with the celebration of a century of the university's student newspaper. It was exactly 100 years to the day after the first edition on Nov. 18, 1921.

In addition to her position at The Times Dispatch, Hunt is also ad sales consultant for the Paragould Daily Press and assists with production of the Newport Independent, which are also Paxton Media publications.

A Northeast Arkansas native, Hunt graduated from Nettleton High School in 1994. 

A May 1998 magna cum laude graduate of Arkansas State, she began work at The Times Dispatch shortly after earning her journalism degree. She was an eight-semester member of The Herald staff, holding multiple positions, including serving as editor during the fall semester of her senior year. While studying at A-State, Hunt also completed a summer internship at the Paragould Daily Press, working in the sports department. 

At the conclusion of her studies, she received the departmental award for journalism. She was also selected as an Arkansas State University Distinguished Service Award winner and spoke on behalf of her graduating class at the A-State commencement exercises. 

During her 23 years at The Times Dispatch, Hunt has worked as a reporter, managing editor, editor and now operations manager. In addition to putting out a weekly newspaper, she oversees the company’s job printing business.

Hunt is a member of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce and is a past chair of the Lawrence County Chamber Board. She is also a member of the Beatles at the Ridge Committee, the Lawrence County Tourism Committee and the Northeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Facilities Authority Marketing Committee and has served on the Northeast Arkansas Economic Development Coalition.

She is a 4-H volunteer leader in Greene County and attends Brookland United Methodist Church. She and her husband, Jason, who is also an Arkansas State alum, have two sons, Conley, a freshman at A-State, and Colter, a freshman at Greene County Tech.

About the Dr. Joel Gambill Alumni Speaker Series
The endowed Dr. Joel Gambill Distinguished Speaker Series is named after the 1965 A-State graduate who wanted to bring the media world to A-State students. Gambill was the first full-time instructor in journalism hired and spent four decades building the department into a national powerhouse. He served as department chair for 36 years.

His numerous awards and recognitions include being named Outstanding Educator by the Arkansas Press Association as well as the organization's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. 

Though he has many interests, he is most well-known, as one newspaper editor said, as Arkansas's foremost journalism educator. It has been said that editors and publishers looking to fill positions on the staff were accustomed to calling Gambill first. 

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