As publisher and executive editor of Black Consumer News, Little Rock native Wesley Brown brings more than 30 years of experience as a veteran financial and political journalist to the local and state news industry.
His career started in the late 1980s as one of the first Black journalists at the Tulsa World, now owned by billionaire Warren Buffett. Brown’s reporting exploits included groundbreaking investigative and enterprise stories on the Tulsa Race riots and pioneering Black aviatrix Bessie Coleman. Brown wrote a series of stories in the early 1990s on Coleman’s feats as the first African American woman pilot in 1921. Those stories led to Coleman being recognized a few years later with a Black Heritage stamp honor by the U.S. Postal Service.
Brown also was part of the Tulsa World award-winning staff of reporters and photographers that covered the Oklahoma City bombing. In his role, Brown did numerous stories on the development of several white supremacist and militia groups affiliated with convicted Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh.
But Brown hit his stride in his later years at the Tulsa World where he was promoted to a coveted position as the staff business reporter covering the oil and gas industry for one of Oklahoma’s two statewide newspapers.
During his time, Brown wrote top headlines chronicling the dramatic collapse of the Oklahoma oil industry in the 1990s, which ended Tulsa’s century long title as Oil Capital of the World, the loss of thousands of jobs, and a deep recession that hit every sector of the state’s economy. Brown also gained recognition nationally as one of the nation’s leading reporters covering the consolidation of the oil industry that led to the merger of Exxon and Mobil, Chevron and Texaco, and British Petroleum acquiring U.S. oil giant Amoco and Arco.
Brown’s award-winning coverage of Oklahoma’s declining oil industry helped him land a job on Wall Street in the late 1990s as the chief energy correspondent for Bridge News and Reuters business newswires, where he covered OPEC and most of the top global oil companies.
After leaving Reuters, Brown came home to Arkansas after he was hired as the business editor for the Stephens Media newspaper in Fayetteville. Stephens later promoted Brown to work as business editor for the newspaper chain at the State Capitol. Brown left the news business for a short stint between 2006-14, serving as a company spokesman for the former Alltel Corp., and Transamerica Life Insurance Company. He returned to his first love in 2014 to help the fast-growing Talk Business & Politics with Roby Brock develop into a statewide news organization.
As the senior political and business reporter for Talk Business, Brown led business and political coverage for the state’s top online news organizations with bureaus in Little Rock, Fort Smith, Jonesboro and Northwest Arkansas. In that role, he reported on all top stories at the State Capitol, where he is noted for his coverage of legislative, business and public policy matters that impact the state’s economy.
Brown also had a coveted spot at the State Capitol pressroom before he took on a new challenge. Today, he now serves as publisher of the Daily Record business journal, Arkansas’ weekly real estate and legal notice newspaper of record and the state’s oldest business publication.
Brown is also a frequent political and business news analyst on Arkansas Week with Steve Barnes and KARN radio with Kevin Miller in the Morning. Brown has also written articles on corporate news, the energy industry and stock market that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Reuters and Dow Jones international newswires, the Associated Press and dozens of top U.S. newspapers.
As chief executive of the Black Consumer News startup venture, Brown and BCN Chief Creative Officer Angel Burt also co-produce the weekly BCN Headlines news talk show on KABF, 88.3 FM.
Besides numerous awards and recognition for his reporting on everything from nonprofits and mental health issues to the nation’s energy industry and Wall Street and the stock market, Brown was selected as guest lecturer for the Joel Gamble Distinguished Speaker series in October 2019. Brown attended A-State from 1981-85 and was described by Gambill as one of his “star journalism students.”
While at Arkansas State, the 1980 Hope High School graduate ran track and cross country and was roommates with A-State alum and Olympic triple jump gold medalist Al Joyner (husband of the late Florence Griffith Joyner and brother of Jackie Joyner-Kersee, both Olympic medal winners). After leaving Jonesboro, Brown chased his own Olympic dream as a top American amateur distance and marathon runner that ran parallel with his reporting career.
Between 1980 and 1999, Wesley won over 250 road races and set records across the U.S. for distances ranging from five kilometers (3.1 miles) to the marathon (26.2 miles). His running highlights include winning his hometown Hope Watermelon Festival 5K run five times, the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth three times, the St. Louis Marathon in 1997, and a 36th-place finish in the 1991 Boston Marathon as one of the top American runners.
Brown also has served as an adjunct professor in the Central Baptist College Communications Department in Conway. He is a Sunday School teacher and chairman of the Deacon ministry at Christway Missionary Baptist Church in Little Rock.