Bob Douglas Joins the Staff
After World War II, universities were flooded by soldiers returning home and attending college on the GI Bill. After lean war-time years when the staff sometimes consisted of little more than an editor, The Traveler's masthead swelled in 1946 with more than 40 names, many of them former soldiers or sailors.
Bob Douglas was typical of them. He grew up in Kensett, Arkansas, and attended Arkansas Tech and Harding College prior to World War II. During the war, he served in the Navy, and enrolled in the University of Arkansas after his discharge. A tongue-in-cheek profile of Douglas, written by R.B. Mayfield in 1947, described Douglas's decision to attend the university as being a choice between further education or manual labor. Douglas had an "inborn abhorrence" of work, Mayfield wrote in jest, adding:
He is now majoring in journalism, because he thought it would be a snap course and [he] works hard to maintain his 1.14 grade-point average. Although Bob has never dazzled anyone with his brilliance, he has taken on an added responsibility this year of working on The Traveler, and his unlimited energy is already showing results. The paper has been issued only six times, and already Bob has written two headlines.
During his work on The Traveler, Douglas covered the admission of Silas Hunt, the first African-American student to enroll in the UA School of Law. It was perhaps the biggest story in the university's history, and The Traveler published an Extra on the occasion.
After graduation, Douglas went to work for the Arkansas Gazette, eventually becoming its managing editor. The Central High Crisis was probably the biggest story that the Gazette covered during Douglas's tenure at the paper, which one Pulitzers for its news coverage and editorial stances.
Douglas left the Gazette in 1980 to become chair of the university's journalism department. While there, he successfully pushed efforts to name the department in honor of Walter J. Lemke, the department's first head, and to establish a graduate program in journalism.
The Arkansas Traveler. October 21, 1947.
Ibid. February 3, 1948.