Renowned Journalist to do WR Beatles Documentary

(Walnut Ridge, Ark.) – A Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist is coming to Walnut Ridge to do a video documentary on the Beatles’ 1964 visit to the town. Jerry Mitchell of Jackson, Miss., plans to do interviews for the documentary the same weekend that a Beatles sculpture is unveiled in Walnut Ridge.

“Jerry Mitchell is a renowned newspaper reporter who is making his first foray into video with this documentary. He is a huge Beatles fan, and he thinks this is a great story,” said Charles Snapp of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee.Mitchell’s investigative reporting for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger was instrumental in reopening the murder case of Medgar Evers, which finally brought about the conviction of Byron De La Beckwith. He has written similar exposes on other famous civil rights cases that also resulted, ultimately, in convictions.

He has won more than 30 national awards, including the George Polk Award twice, and he was a 2006 finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.

Mitchell is being assisted in the documentary by longtime friend Michael Roden, who is an assistant US attorney in Nashville, Tenn. Roden is a native of Clay County, Ark., and also an avid Beatles fan.

Roden and Mitchell approached the Tourism Committee with the idea of doing the documentary.

“Jerry told me he was interested in filming a documentary about the Beatles’ only visit in Arkansas and what Walnut Ridge is doing to commemorate the event. When a man of this stature is interested in what we are doing, it is big news,” Snapp said.

The Tourism Committee will unveil the Beatles sculpture on Sunday, Sept. 18, as part of a special celebration in downtown Walnut Ridge.

The documentary film crew will begin conducting its interviews in town on Sept. 17, according to Snapp.