Worked as advertising manager
A near seven decade newspaper career will come to an end on Friday when Manuel Mann retires from the Booneville Democrat.
The 78-year old advertising manager is leaving the Democrat for the second time Friday after an 18-year tour.
Publisher, Vickey Wiggins, says, “I have a great admiration for the man. I’ve never seen someone who doesn’t give up about something, but Mann didn’t give up on an advertising project, even if he had to go back to a client three times. I can also say he had that attitude about other areas of life in general, your health, job, finances, faith…Mann has truly been an inspiration to me.”
Mann was previously the publisher of the paper from August of 1968 through August of 1978 during which time he put out multiple “progress editions” which were 60 and more pages.
The page count is remarkable because of the printing conditions alone.
“We used the old linotype and a flat bed Mehle press and had to hand feed every page,” Mann recalls.
During his time as publisher Mann convinced Bobby Scarrow to relocate from Eureka Springs to Booneville to operate the commercial printing portion of the business. Scarrow stayed with the paper operating the commercial presses for decades after the printing of the paper was transitioned to the Times Record press in Fort Smith.
“One of the best jobs I did was to talk Bobby into coming here. It was a stroke of luck and he ran the printing for over 30 years,” said Mann.
Though the print shop has been closed for a decade, Scarrow actually still works part time helping with the production of the paper, now done via cloud-based software programs and printed in northwest Arkansas.
Mann was back at the paper in 1999 when the staff put together an 80-page 100th anniversary edition which was the largest newspaper edition in the state that day.
Even before his association with the Democrat Mann worked in the industry through Donrey and also sold Yellow Pages advertising.
Before that the newspaper story began as a paper boy throwing morning and evening editions of papers including the Dallas Morning News, the Hope Star, the Hope Journal, the Texarkana Gazette and the Arkansas Gazette.
“I would get up at four (a.m.) and eat six eggs and run my route throwing the papers and get back and eat 6 more, or I’d eat oats if we didn’t have enough eggs,” Mann said. “I did that until I was 16.”
So accomplished was Mann at the route organization he was often rewarded with show tickets to the biggest events and movies to visit Hope.
If all of the local papers weren’t enough, Mann also sold the nationally produced Grit magazine as well during those teen years.
At age 16 the family moved to Van Buren, where Mann graduated high school – he later attended a Dale Carnegie sales course – and met his wife of 57 years, Betty and he moved to Fort Smith so she could finish high school at Northside.
While the newspaper industry has long been a dominant interest in Mann’s life, it wasn’t always first. When he left the Democrat in 1978 it was to pastor a church in southern Arkansas.
After doing that for four years, Mann moved his family back to Booneville to allow his son, Danny, to graduate with the class with which he had started.
Ever the salesman, Mann worked selling insurance after moving his family back to Logan County, that is until 1983, when he felt led to organize Southside Assembly of God Church, located on South Broadway.
Thirty-three years later, come December, Mann is still the only pastor the church has known.
Manuel and Betty Mann have two children, a daughter, Belinda, a resident at BHDC, along with Danny, who currently resides in a small town about 30 miles from Syracuse, N.Y.