Citizen earns nine awards in statewide contest

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Lovely County Citizen received nine awards, including three first-place honors, in the Arkansas Press Association’s 2017 Better Newspaper Editorial Contest.

The awards, which were based on work published in 2016, were presented at a luncheon Saturday during the APA’s annual super-convention at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Little Rock.

Carroll County Newspapers associate editor Samantha Jones, who supervises daily news operations at the Citizen, was awarded first place in News Story for her coverage of a vigil in remembrance of the victims in the Orlando, Fla., nightclub shooting. She also won first place in Beat Reporting for coverage of Eureka Springs City government.

Photographer David Bell, who officially retired in May but continues to contribute on a free-lance basis, won first place in Single News Photograph for a photo of the vigil for the Orlando shooting victims.

Jones also took third place for News/Political Column, General Interest Column, Humorous Column and Coverage of Tourism.

Photographer Tavi Ellis, who recently joined the newspapers’ staff after contributing on a free-lance basis for the past two years, earned honorable mentions in Single News Photograph and Picture Page/Photo Essay.

The awards are presented in six divisions based on each newspaper’s publishing frequency and circulation. The Citizen competed in the Larger Weeklies division, while its sister paper, the Carroll County News, competed in the Medium Weeklies division. Both papers are published by Carroll County Newspapers.

The Carroll County News was awarded first place for general excellence in the Medium Weeklies division, receiving 21 individual awards that included six first-place honors.

Jones won first place for Humorous Column in the Medium Weeklies division. Bell won first place in Single Sports Feature Photograph and Picture Page/Photo Essay for Medium Weeklies.

Scott Loftis, managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers, won first place for In Depth Series Reporting and Sports Column in the Medium Weeklies division. Free-lance photographer Charles Chappell, a frequent contributor for the Carroll County News, won first place for Single Sports Action Photograph.

Jones took second place for General Interest Column in the Medium Weeklies division. Bell earned second-place honors for Single Sports Feature Photograph and third place for Single Feature Photograph and Picture Page/Photo Essay, all in the Medium Weeklies division.

Loftis took second place for Beat Reporting and third place for General Interest Column, Humorous Column, Sports Column, News Story and Headline Writing, all in the Medium Weeklies division.

Reporter Kelby Newcomb won second place in Feature Story and Headline Writing and third place in Coverage of Education, and he and Loftis took third place in Coverage of Business/Agriculture — all in the Medium Weeklies division.

Chappell took third place in Single Sports Action Photograph for Medium Weeklies.

“One of the most exciting things about the awards was how many categories we did well in and how many of our folks were involved,” Loftis said. “If we were a sports team you would say we have a lot of depth, and that is our biggest strength. Everyone pulls in the same direction to produce good, quality news publications for our communities. That’s really our primary goal, and these awards are a byproduct of that. They tell us that we are doing a lot of things well, and they also tell us where we can improve. We’ll keep working to get better, but we’re also going to enjoy this for a while.”

Eight newspapers competed in the Medium Weeklies division and nine competed in Larger Weeklies. The entries were judged by members of the Oklahoma Press Association.

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