Phyllis D. Brandon has played a unique role in shaping and supporting Little Rock’s cultural life. As the first and longtime editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette‘s High Profile section, she promoted cultural institutions, supporters and practitioners.
Since it started in 1986, being featured in High Profile has been akin to the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. It exposes cultural institutions and events to new and wider audiences. There is no way to put a monetary measure on the support Brandon gave to Little Rock’s cultural life during her time leading High Profile from 1986 to 2009. From 2009 to 2011, she served as editor of Arkansas Life magazine, again supporting and promoting cultural life.
With her unassuming manner, she coaxed stories out of interview subjects and captured photos which highlighted events. A journalist since her junior high school days in Little Rock, Brandon has also been a witness to history. As a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas, Brandon returned to her alma mater, Little Rock Central High, to cover the events in early September 1957 for the Arkansas Democrat. Eleven years later, she was in Chicago for the contentious and violent 1968 Democratic National Convention as a delegate.
From 1957 until 1986, she alternated between careers in journalism and the business world, as well as being a stay-at-home mother. Upon becoming founding editor of High Profile, she came into her own combining her nose for news and her life-long connections within the Little Rock community. As a writer and photographer, she created art in her own right. A look through High Profile provides a rich historical snapshot of the changes in Little Rock and Arkansas in the latter part of the 20th Century and start of the 21st Century.
Since retiring in 2011, Brandon has kept a relatively low profile. She can be seen from time to time spending time with friends and family and enjoying attending events. Only this time she generally does not have her trusty camera or notepad.