Jack Hill was a pioneering Arkansas documentary filmmaker dedicated to sharing his state’s history with a wider public. Following a decade as an award-winning investigative journalist and news anchor at KAIT in Jonesboro, Hill was pushed out by new management for his controversial reporting on corruption in a local sheriff’s office. What seemed like a major career setback turned out to be an opportunity: he founded the production company TeleVision for Arkansas, through which he produced dozens of original films. Although Hill brought an abiding interest in education and public health to this work from the beginning, he found his true calling in topics based in Arkansas history. Convinced that a greater acquaintance with the state’s most significant historical events would nurture a greater sense of homegrown pride, Hill tirelessly crisscrossed the state to capture the voices of hundreds of Arkansans recalling significant chapters in the state’s history, such as the oil boom in El Dorado and Smackover, the crucial contributions of the Arkansas Ordnance Plant in Jacksonville during World War II, and the role of Rosenwald Schools in expanding educational opportunities.
In Reporting for Arkansas, Dale Carpenter and Robert Cochran present a biography of Hill alongside an annotated selected filmography designed to accompany sixteen of his best films on subjects related to Arkansas history—all newly hosted online by the Center for Arkansas and Regional Studies at the University of Arkansas.