Historic entrance to the University of Arkansas
Historic entrance to the University of Arkansas

Ben S. Pollock

Ben is a writer and editor who also employs two decades of web design in content management. In mid-2016 he joined the University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions as its web manager, at its flagship campus in Fayetteville.

In late 2017, Mr. Pollock joined the university’s labor union, was elected to the Local 965 board in the next year. From 2019-2022 he served as secretary and communication director of UA-Fayetteville Education Association/Local 965. Mr. Pollock was elected the local’s 2022-24 vice president and communication director.

From 2012-2016, he was director of media for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, having been its 2010-12 president. He currently is treasurer of the NSNC Education Foundation. Ben served as the 2014-15 interim assistant director of the University of Arkansas Center for Ethics in Journalism, during which he taught web design for journalists and supervised news writing labs.

Until a fall 2012 layoff, he spent a decade as a news copy editor/page designer for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

From 1988-92, the Democrat then the Democrat-Gazette ran his column “Mirthology” regularly (at times irregularly). “Like many members, my column writing always has been a sideline. Mainly as a side to being a copy, metro, editorial page and wire editor,” Ben says.

After being downsized in late 2001 from The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas (which ended that 33-month weekly column, “Loose Leaves”), Ben earned a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Arkansas. He served as a graduate teaching assistant, teaching journalism basics to first-years and journalism ethics to juniors and seniors, until his May 2003 graduation. He returned to the Democrat-Gazette’s Northwest Arkansas Edition in 2003 working as a news page designer until a mass layoff in 2012.

Ben created this website in 2003. He soon added a blog, BRICK: Muse on News, where he’s published his columns since.

While most of Ben’s pieces have been humor and general interest, a notable exception was his 1986-98 stint at the Democrat then Democrat-Gazette creating the daily, non-bylined, front-page column “In the News.” Each of the eight-12 “newsers” is a complete wire story, reduced to a single sentence. “In the News” began in the 1950s (and continues), and Ben’s tenure is one of its longest. (OK, sticklers, it was “Newsmakers” running on 2A in the pre-hyphenated Democrat 1986-91, essentially a clone of the Gaz‘s.)

Ben holds a bachelor’s in communication and American studies from Stanford University. His master’s thesis at the U of A studied the decline of humor columns (quantitative not qualitative, thank you). Ben is married; they have pets. He’s a proud native of Fort Smith, Arkansas. Anything else you want to know can be found or alluded to in Brick or here in Mirthology, a Loose Leaflet.

The picture across the top: Wall along Arkansas Avenue, steps to Old Main of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Photo by Ben S. Pollock

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