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story.lead_photo.caption FILE - The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock. - Photo by Josh Snyder

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette received nine first-place citations and won the award for general excellence among the state's larger daily newspapers at the Arkansas Press Association's annual convention Saturday in Hot Springs.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette placed second for general excellence, which is decided on a point system for each first-, second- and third-place honor in 29 other categories. The Texarkana Gazette placed third among six large-circulation dailies that entered.

All three newspapers are owned by WEHCO Media Inc.

Bill Bowden, a reporter for the Little Rock-based Democrat-Gazette took the first-place honor in the news story category for his coverage of the sinking of an amphibious tour boat in Missouri that killed 17 people last year.

The newspaper's editorial page editor David Barham and publisher Walter Hussman won first place in editorial writing for an editorial about teacher absenteeism.

The I.F. Stone Award, which recognizes extraordinary investigative reporting, as well as the first-place award for investigative reporting among all daily newspapers went to Sarah Perry of the Saline Courier in Benton for articles about Mayor Jill Dabbs.

Members of the North Carolina Press Association judged this year's competition, which drew 633 entries from 14 daily newspapers and 946 entries from 25 weekly papers.

Among the Democrat-Gazette's other first-place winners were John Brummett for "Elizabeth endures" in the news/political column category and Philip Martin for "The scariest sad story I know" in the general interest column category.

Photographer Mitchell Pe Masilun won two first-place awards -- in the single news photograph category for a picture of an injury accident on Interstate 30 and in the photo essay category for a group of photographs on the Arkansas state high school basketball championship.

Reporters Emma Pettit, Kat Stromquist and Andy Davis took first place in coverage of health and medical issues for a portfolio of their reporting on various topics.

Graphics artist Nikki Dawes and Assistant Managing Editor for Graphics and Design Kirk Montgomery won first place in the best graphic design portfolio category.

The newspaper's online staff won the best website category.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette won six first-place awards.

Two other WEHCO newspapers, The Sentinel-Record of Hot Springs and the Texarkana Gazette, were honored with first-place awards.

Following is the list of first-place winners in each category and division.

NEWS STORY

Smaller Dailies: Camden News, Tammy Frazier, "Toddler hailed as hero after crash kills mom." Larger Dailies: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock, Bill Bowden, "Deaths at 17 in sinking." Smaller Weeklies: The North Little Rock Times, Jeremy Peppas, "Police video shows handgun, shooting." Medium Weeklies: Carroll County News, Berryville, Scott Loftis, "Remarks captured on video: Sheriff admits using homophobic slur about JP." Larger Weeklies: Stone County Leader, Mountain View, Edie Sutterfield, Pharmacy Issue.

FEATURE STORY

Smaller Dailies: Pine Bluff Commercial, Ahmaree Williams, "Battling bullies." Larger Dailies: Texarkana Gazette, Lynn LaRowe, "Woman says she's still waiting for justice." Smaller weeklies: Pacesetting Times, Horseshoe Bend, Carrie Johnson, "Making big changes." Medium weeklies: Herald-Leader, Siloam Springs, Janelle Jessen, "Schroder's Ring Completes Journey." Larger weeklies: The Leader, Jacksonville, Christy Hendricks, "Safe Haven more than a thrift store."

IN-DEPTH SERIES REPORTING

Smaller Dailies: Harrison Daily Times, James L. White, Series: Landfill fee to be aired. Larger Dailies: NW Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Fayetteville, Ashton Eley, Ron Wood, Dave Perozek, Superintendent sex scandal. Smaller weeklies: Washington County Enterprise Leader, Farmington, Lynn Kutter, Mayor Names New Chief Of Police. Medium weeklies: Herald-Leader, Siloam Springs, Mike Capshaw, Janelle Jessen, Hunter McFerrin, Rodeo land issue. Larger weeklies: Madison County Record, Huntsville, Preston Tolliver, School Expulsion lawsuit.

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING

All Dailies: Saline Courier, Benton, Sarah Perry, Dabbs Investigation (Winner of the I.F. Stone Award). All Weeklies: Spring River Chronicle, Hardy, Tammy Curtis, Hardy mayor's office.

BEST BEAT REPORTER

Smaller Dailies: Pine Bluff Commercial, Michael Neary, Education beat. Larger Dailies: NW Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Fayetteville, Laurinda Joenks, Springdale government. Smaller Weeklies: Washington County Enterprise Leader, Farmington, Lynn Kutter, City beat. Medium Weeklies: Carroll County News, Berryville, Scott Loftis, County government. Larger Weeklies: The Leader, Jacksonville, Rick Kron, Police beat.

SPORTS NEWS STORY

Smaller Dailies: El Dorado News-Times, Kev Moye, "Dragons Claim Championship." Larger Dailies: NW Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Fayetteville, Rick Fires, "Red flags." Smaller Weeklies: Washington County Enterprise Leader, Farmington, Mark Humphrey, "Spectacular catch stuns Clarksville." Medium Weeklies: Herald-Leader, Siloam Springs, Graham Thomas, "Forever 21." Larger Weeklies: Madison County Record, Huntsville, Rod Harrington, "State Champions."

SPORTS FEATURE STORY

Smaller Dailies: Saline Courier, Benton, Josh Briggs, "Coach refuses to let life's struggles define him." Larger Dailies: Jonesboro Sun, Cory Clark, "Hurricane players still recall 'Longest Game.'" Smaller Weeklies: Stuttgart Daily Leader, Cole Sherman, "Football college prospects." Medium Weeklies: Nashville News-Leader, Louie Graves, "Play ball." Larger Weeklies: The Leader, Jacksonville, Ray Benton, "Kicking down barriers."

SPORTS COLUMN

Smaller Dailies: Harrison Daily Times, Jeff Brasel, "Groupon Razorbacks." Larger Dailies: Times Record, Fort Smith, Kevin Taylor, "Football practice." Smaller Weeklies: Newton County Times, Jasper, Jeff Brasel, "It has been three years." Medium Weeklies: Carroll County, News, Berryville, Scott Loftis, "Making memories." Larger Weeklies: The Leader, Jacksonville, Ray Benton, "Policy flaw disqualifies good JNPSD candidates."

EDITORIAL

Smaller Dailies: Pine Bluff Commercial, John Worthen, "They can't win." Larger Dailies: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock, David Barham, Walter Hussman, "Teacher absenteeism." Smaller Weeklies: Van Buren County Democrat, Clinton, Alex Kienlen, "Friends like these." Medium Weeklies: Advance Monticellonian, Monticello, Harold Coggins, "Thank you for all you've done." Larger Weeklies: Madison County Record, Huntsville, "The muddied waters of Ecclesia, GIF and Rep Ballinger."

NEWS/POLITICAL COLUMN

Smaller Dailies: Saline Courier, Benton, Josh Briggs, "Journalism's Darkest Day: 'You cannot stop us.'" Larger Dailies: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock, John Brummett, "Elizabeth endures." Smaller Weeklies: Spring River Chronicle, Hardy, Mack Thompson, "Journalism 101." Medium Weeklies: Carroll County News, Berryville, Scott Loftis, "Just say no to Ballinger." Larger Weeklies: Madison County Record, Huntsville, Preston Tolliver, "Follow the Money."

GENERAL INTEREST COLUMN

Smaller Dailies: Saline Courier, Benton, Josh Briggs, "The night I witnessed a miracle on I-440." Larger Dailies: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock, Philip Martin, "The scariest sad story I know." Small Weeklies: Spring River Chronicle, Hardy, Mack Thompson, "Remembering Joe." Medium Weeklies: Nashville News-Leader, Louie Graves, "There was this guy." Larger Weeklies: The Leader, Jacksonville, Garrick Feldman, "Compare prices for your drugs."

HUMOROUS COLUMN

Smaller Dailies: Saline Courier, Benton, Brent Davis, "Working my way up to first chair at the organ recital." Larger Dailies: Times Record, Fort Smith, Kevin Taylor, "Little League Memories." Smaller Weeklies: South Arkansas Sun, Hampton, Jeri Shire, "Tales from the Shire." Medium and Larger Weeklies: Advance Monticellonian, Monticello, Ashley Foreman, "Taking application for open positions in the team of rednecks."

FREELANCE WRITING

Smaller Dailies: Pine Bluff Commercial, Richard Ledbetter, "Bobby Rush." Larger Dailies: NW Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Fayetteville, Ella Ruth Hill, "Two years after death." Smaller Weeklies: Spring River Chronicle, Hardy, Shanda Weathers Hardin, "Enough... Eating disorder sufferer speaks out." Medium Weeklies: Advance Monticellonian, Monticello, Jeff Young, "Brawl mars Drew Central's home opener." Larger Weeklies: The Leader, Jacksonville, David Ramsey, "Corrupt figure planned to kill witness."

HEADLINE WRITING

Smaller Dailies: The Daily Citizen, Searcy, Steve Watts, "Weed-whacked." Larger Dailies: Texarkana Gazette, Stevon Gamble, "Rock Enroll." Smaller Weeklies: Stuttgart Daily Leader, Eplunus Colvin, "Just Donate It." Medium Weeklies: Herald-Leader, Siloam Springs, Graham Thomas, Eric Burney, "Getting the Best of Bos Worlds." Larger Weeklies: The Leader, Jacksonville, Ray Benton, "Urban Meyer is a big fat liar."

SINGLE NEWS PHOTOGRAPH

Smaller Dailies: Saline Courier, Benton, Greg Davis, '1 injured in rollover accident.' Larger Dailies: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock, Mitchell Pe Masilun, 'Injury accident on I-30.' Smaller Weeklies: North Little Rock Times, Dale Ellis, 'Reflections.' Medium Weeklies: The Times Dispatch, Walnut Ridge, Megan Heyl, 'County jail holds grand opening.' Larger Weeklies: The Leader, Jacksonville, Jeffrey Smith, 'Cabot airman surprises kids at school.'

SINGLE FEATURE

PHOTOGRAPH

Smaller Dailies: Saline Courier, Benton, Greg Davis, "Feeding Frenzy." Larger Dailies: Texarkana Gazette, Hunt Mercier, "Eat! Eat! Eat!" Smaller Weeklies: North Little Rock Times, Jaison Sterling, "Fireworks." Medium Weeklies: Advance Monticellonian, Monticello, Tom White, "Magnificent moon." Larger Weeklies: Madison County Record, Huntsville, Preston Tolliver, "Pop!"

SINGLE SPORTS ACTION

PHOTOGRAPH

Smaller Dailies: El Dorado News-Times, Terrance Armstard, "Hitting the dirt." Larger Dailies: Jonesboro Sun, Quentin Winstine, "A-State routs South Alabama 38-14." Smaller Weeklies: South Arkansas Sun, Hampton, Penny Chanler, "Brian Williams Slides into Third." Medium Weeklies: Carroll County News, Berryville, David Bell, "Hold on tight!" Larger Weeklies: The Leader, Jacksonville, David Scolli, "Rally."

SINGLE SPORTS FEATURE

PHOTOGRAPH

Smaller Dailies: Harrison Daily Times, Jeff Brasel, "Hayden is one-of-a-kind treat." Larger Dailies: Texarkana Gazette, Hunt Mercier, "Third-ranked Backs mercy Trojans for homecoming win." Smaller Weeklies: Pacesetting Times, Horseshoe Bend, Bobby Stapleton, "Homecoming." Medium Weeklies: Nashville News-Leader, John R. Schirmer, "Time to celebrate." Larger Weeklies: Stone County Leader, Mountain View, Lori Freeze, "Baseball Youth."

PICTURE PAGE/PHOTO ESSAY

Smaller Dailies: Saline Courier, Benton, Josh Briggs and Sarah Perry, "Extra! Extra!" Larger Dailies: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock, Mitchell Pe Masilun, High School Basketball state championship. Smaller Weeklies: Washington County Enterprise Leader, Farmington, Lynn Kutter, "Remembering The Battle of Prairie Grove." Medium Weeklies: The Times Dispatch, Walnut Ridge, Ashley George, "Summer ball program underway." Larger Weeklies: The Leader, Jacksonville, David Scolli, "Thunder Over the Rock."

BEST FRONT PAGE

Smaller Dailies: Saline Courier, Benton, Josh Briggs and Courier Staff. Larger Dailies: Texarkana Gazette, Danielle Dupree, Andrea Miller. Smaller Weeklies: Spring River Chronicle, Hardy, Tammy Curtis. Medium Weeklies: Herald-Leader, Siloam Springs. Larger Weeklies: The Daily Record, Little Rock, Karen Dunphy.

BEST GRAPHIC DESIGN

PORTFOLIO

All Dailies: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock, Nikki Dawes, Kirk Montgomery. Small and Medium Weeklies: Newton County Times, Jasper. Larger Weeklies: The Daily Record, Little Rock, Karen Dunphy.

BEST WEBSITE

Smaller Dailies: Saline Courier, Benton, Saline Courier Staff, bentoncourier.com. Larger Dailies: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock, Arkansasonline.com. All Weeklies: Madison County Record, Huntsville, mcrecordonline.com.

COVERAGE OF BUSINESS/

AGRICULTURE

Smaller Dailies: Saline Courier, Benton, Elisha Morrison. Larger Dailies: Times Record, Fort Smith, John Lovett. Smaller Weeklies: Washington County Enterprise Leader, Farmington, Lynn Kutter. Medium Weeklies: Advance Monticellonian, Monticello, Harold Coggins. Larger Weeklies: The Leader, Jacksonville, John Hofheimer, Deborah Horn, Jeffrey Smith.

COVERAGE OF EDUCATION

Smaller Dailies: Saline Courier, Benton, Sarah Perry and Elisha Morrison. Larger Dailies: NW Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Fayetteville, Dave Perozek, Dan Holtmeyer. Smaller Weeklies: Washington County Enterprise Leader, Farmington, Lynn Kutter. Medium Weeklies: Nashville News-Leader, John R. Schirmer. Larger Weeklies: Stone County Leader, Mountain View.

COVERAGE OF TOURISM

All Dailies: NW Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Fayetteville, Stacy Ryburn, Chip Souza, Ashton Eley. Smaller Weeklies: Washington County Enterprise Leader, Farmington, Lynn Kutter. Medium Weeklies: Herald-Leader, Siloam Springs, Janelle Jessen. Larger Weeklies: Madison County Record, Huntsville, Preston Tolliver, Rod Harrington.

COVERAGE OF HEALTH/

MEDICAL

Smaller Dailies: Saline Courier, Benton, Sarah Perry, Elisha Morrison. Larger Dailies: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock, Emma Pettit, Kat Stromquist, Andy Davis. Smaller Weeklies: Newton County Times, Jasper, Jeff Dezort. Medium Weeklies: Herald-Leader, Siloam Springs, Janelle Jessen. Larger Weeklies: Sheridan Headlight, Tanner Newton.

COVERAGE OF POLITICS

Smaller Dailies: The Daily Citizen, Searcy, Tracy Whitaker, Tara Thomas. Larger Dailies: The Sentinel-Record, Hot Springs, David Showers, Steven Mross. Smaller Weeklies: North Little Rock Times, Dale Ellis. Medium Weeklies: Advance Monticellonian, Monticello, Ashley Foreman, Harold Coggins. Larger Weeklies: Madison County Record, Huntsville, Preston Tolliver, Rod Harrington.

GENERAL EXCELLENCE

Smaller Dailies (8 newspapers, 308 entries): Saline Courier, Benton. Larger Dailies (6 newspapers, 325 entries): Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock. Smaller Weeklies (11 newspapers, 329 entries): Washington County Enterprise Leader, Farmington. Medium Weeklies (6 newspapers, 206 entries): Herald-Leader, Siloam Springs. Larger Weeklies (8 newspapers, 311 entries): The Leader, Jacksonville.

Sunday on 06/30/2019

Print Headline: Newspaper wins general excellence, 9 first places

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