Losing Listopad: Oracle says goodbye to adviser



After six years as adviser to the Oracle and the Star, Steven Listopad is leaving Henderson to become Communications and Development Director at the Arkansas Press Association.

In the midst of Henderson’s financial crisis, many departments are taking massive hits. The Oracle and the Star are losing one of their own at the end of this semester. Steven Listopad, adviser to the Oracle and the Star is leaving to work as the Communication and Development Director for the Arkansas Press Association (APA) in Little Rock.
“I knew I’d be coming to a school where I already had colleagues that I really enjoyed working with and had good times with,” said Listopad.
Listopad started working at Henderson in 2017 after teaching journalism at the University of Jamestown and Valley City State University in his home state of North Dakota for many years. He has also taught in China, France, Norway, and Italy through the ieiMedia program. He has worked for an alternative weekly newspaper, a daily newspaper and a military newspaper before beginning his teaching career. And it all started at the age of 15 when he started writing for a local daily newspaper.
Since his time in Arkansas, he has personally lobbied for the New Voices legislation, which he was instrumental in first developing in North Dakota. He has steered multiple publications even during lean times while continuing to do everything he can to advocate for journalism education. Helping to establish the Arkadelphia Dispatch, which later evolved into the Oracle Community Edition, and partnering with the Arkadelphian to provide news coverage in a media desert has been impactful for both the readers and the students learning invaluable journalistic skills.
“I appreciate the way he’s worked hard even during times of no travel budget,” said Professor Mike Taylor, who previously advised the Oracle. “He’s worked with the Arkansas Press Association for funding for the Oracle. He’s worked with Mary Beth Tinker and her brother. Henderson students have been lucky to get involved with these nationwide efforts.”
Listopad’s decision to step down comes just before Henderson officially declared financial exigency. His choice will likely save at least one other Henderson employee from losing their job. While his position will not be filled for at least a year after his departure, the responsibilities of newspaper adviser will fall on Innovative Media Professor Scott McKinnon, who was formerly the Editor-in-Chief of the Oracle during his time as a Henderson student.
Listopad is a Ph.D. candidate at North Dakota State University, where he also received his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees on top of also receiving his Certification in Journalism Education from the Journalism Education Association (JEA.)
Aside from his extensive resume and education background, Listopad is the recipient of many media and journalism awards, including The Society of Collegiate Journalists’ Louis Ingelhart First Amendment Award, The JEA Friend of Scholastic Journalism Award, College Media Association’s MultiMedia Adviser of the Year Award, the Hugh M Hefner First Amendment Award in Education and more.
Taylor, McKinnon and other communication professors from Henderson met Listopad through the College Media Association conventions in New York City and Washington D.C.
“Myself, Glover and Taylor,” said McKinnon. “We found a dive bar and they invited Steve to come along. He burst in and plopped down and immediately talked with me like he knew me for 10 years.”
As McKinnon looks to take over where Listopad leaves off, he’s faced with some challenging questions such as if the over 100-year-old student paper and two-year-old community paper will go completely online for good.
The Oracle and Reddie Media Group (HTV, KSWH-LP, The Star Yearbook and the Oracle) are dealing with some of the lowest staff numbers in the history of the university.
“Problems that Henderson students have faced are part of a nationwide crisis small papers around Arkansas are facing,” said Taylor. “When papers go online, yes they advertise online, but they make a fraction of the ad revenue that they would have made. As long as there is a college, there will be a student newspaper. I think if the university did away with the student newspaper, an independent newspaper would arise because students need to know what’s going on.”
The future of the Oracle and the Star seems very uncertain in these trying financial times as college media organizations all over the nation struggle to keep above water in a shifting media climate.
“We definitely don’t want it to go away,” said McKinnon, “But there is a lot of room to bring the Oracle into the 21st century. Leverage some of the power of Innovative Media to keep it current with some of the popular trends of multimedia and technology.”
McKinnon’s background in the Innovative Media department and his knowledge of emerging technologies could help the Oracle not only keep up but set the pace in local news coverage and state college media.
Listopad has also mentioned the opportunity that lies in his new position for Henderson students pursuing a journalism or media career. His job at the APA can be a bridge to connect students to internships, scholarships and other resources that will benefit fledgling journalists entering the job market.
“I’ve been teaching for 23 years,” said Listopad. “That becomes part of your identity. With my new role at Arkansas Press Association, education is still going to be a big part of it. It’s just not going to be the same atmosphere.”
In his new role as Communication and Development Director, Listopad hopes to find opportunities to teach from time to time as an adjunct professor and to continue advising some form of student media if possible.
As most of Henderson’s communication professors do, Listopad enjoys playing music and singing. His connection with the other professors in his department sprang up around their shared interest in music. From karaoke to jam sessions, Glover, McKinnon, Stoddard and Taylor have all bonded with Listopad over music and other interests such as comic books and movies.
“Five years ago this guy showed up at HSU for a job interview, and it turned into a jam session,” wrote Taylor, tagging Listopad in a Facebook post. “What a long, strange trip it’s been.”