Courier named top small/medium daily

Ed­i­to­rial staff cap­tures 26 awards; 14 top hon­ors

The Saline Courier - - FRONT PAGE - [email protected]­ton­courier.com By Sa­line Courier Staff

The Sa­line Courier’s ed­i­to­rial staff is once again atop the Arkansas daily news­pa­per world af­ter earn­ing its fifth Gen­eral Ex­cel­lence recog­ni­tion in the past six years.

The top award for small and medium dailies through­out the state was pre­sented Satur­day dur­ing the an­nual Arkansas Press As­so­ci­a­tion Bet­ter News­pa­per Ed­i­to­rial Contest lun­cheon at Ho­tel Hot Springs.

The cer­e­mony closed the four-day APA con­fer­ence.

“It is a tes­ta­ment to the skills and hard work of our small news team to have been rec­og­nized by our peers as the Best Small to Medium Daily pa­per in the state,” said Pub­lisher Kelly Freuden­sprung. “I have never worked with such a ded­i­cated and re­spected news team.”

The Courier cap­tured 14 top hon­ors — in­clud­ing Gen­eral Ex­cel­lence — along with 12 other awards.

Sarah Perry earned the cov­eted I.F. Stone Award for in­ves­tiga­tive re­port­ing, com­pet­ing against all daily pub­li­ca­tions through­out the state.

The award is in honor of “in­ves­tiga­tive re­port­ing that un­cov­ered the truth and ex­posed the abuse of power to read­ers of The Sa­line Courier and its com­mu­nity.”

Her se­ries of in­ves­tiga­tive style re­port­ing was re­gard­ing for­mer Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs.

“I am ex­tremely hon­ored to re­ceive this award. It is hum­bling to know that the judges thought so highly of my work

that they awarded me,” Perry said. “Jour­nal­ists are tasked with be­ing watch­dogs for the com­mu­nity. This award shows that our team at The Courier takes that re­spon­si­bil­ity se­ri­ously.”

“Sarah Perry pulled out all the stops dur­ing her in­ves­ti­ga­tion last Oc­to­ber, lead­ing up to the November elec­tion for Bryant mayor. She talked with dozens of people, sub­mit­ted nu­mer­ous Arkansas Freedom of In­for­ma­tion re­quests and worked tire­lessly to in­form our read­ers of what was hap­pen­ing be­hind closed doors,” Freuden­sprung said. “This proves the im­por­tance of a news­pa­per and their role as a watch­dog for the com­mu­ni­ties the serve.”

Perry also earned first place for Pic­ture Page/photo Es­say, along­side ed­i­tor Josh Briggs, for their Liv­ing Sec­tion lay­out from the Royal Play­ers’ pro­duc­tion of “Newsies.”

Perry, too, earned first­place fin­ishes for Cov­er­age of Ed­u­ca­tion and Cov­er­age of Health/med­i­cal, both col­lab­o­rat­ing with re­porter Elisha Mor­ri­son.

Briggs took home other top hon­ors, in­clud­ing Sports Fea­ture Story: “Coach re­fuses to let life’s strug­gles define him;” News/po­lit­i­cal Col­umn: “Jour­nal­ism’s Dark­est Day:

‘You cannot stop us;’” Gen­eral In­ter­est Col­umn: “The night I wit­nessed a mir­a­cle on I-440;” and Best Front Page: “Elec­tion Cov­er­age.”

Judges com­mented on Briggs’ news col­umn, say­ing “A well writ­ten com­men­tary on

a day most jour­nal­ists, at one point, never thought could hap­pen in the United States. The au­thor’s pas­sion for his job is pal­pa­ble and he points out just how im­por­tant and coura­geous jour­nal­ists are, given to­day’s vi­o­lent re­al­i­ties.”

Mor­ri­son shined with a first-place fin­ish for Cov­er­age of Busi­ness/agricultur­e, fol­lowed by free­lance pho­tog­ra­pher Greg Davis who earned top fin­ishes for Sin­gle News Pho­to­graph and Sin­gle Fea­ture Pho­to­graph.

Guest colum­nist and for­mer ed­i­tor Brent Davis took first for Hu­mor­ous Col­umn with his piece ti­tled “Work­ing my way up to first chair at the or­gan recital.

“A nice read about fam­ily dy­nam­ics to which we all can re­late,” a judge said. “The colum­nist paints a vivid pic­ture we all have re­call­ing child­hood sit­u­a­tions that he didn’t un­der­stand fully and then later, as we grow older, we get it. The writer clev­erly sets up the reader with

the rec­ol­lec­tion with the term ‘or­gan recital’ to be re­vealed at the end.”

As a staff, The Courier earned first place for Best Web­site, round­ing out the pa­per’s high hon­ors.

Other awards in­clude:

•Fea­ture Story: Sec­ond place.

•News Story: Third place.

•In-depth Se­ries Re­port­ing: Third place.

•Sports News Story: Sec­ond place.

•Sports Col­umn: Third place.

•Gen­eral In­ter­est Col­umn: Third place.

•Sin­gle Sports Action Pho­to­graph: Third place.

•Pic­ture Page/photo Es­say: Sec­ond place.

•Cov­er­age of Pol­i­tics/ Elec­tions: Third place.

•Beat Re­porter: Sec­ond place.

•Fea­ture Story: Hon­or­able men­tion.

•Sports News Story: Hon­or­able men­tion.

KELLY FREUDEN­SPRUNG/THE Sa­line Courier

The ed­i­to­rial staff of The Sa­line Courier was re­cently named the state’s top small/medium daily news­pa­per dur­ing the an­nual Arkansas Press As­so­ci­a­tion Bet­ter News­pa­per Ed­i­to­rial Contest in Hot Springs. The staff also earned 14 top hon­ors while cap­tur­ing a to­tal of 26 awards. Seated, from left, are re­porters Sarah Perry and Elisha Mor­ri­son. From left, in the back row, are man­ag­ing ed­i­tor Josh Briggs, re­porter Dana Guthrie and sports ed­i­tor Tony Le­na­han.

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