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Newspaper staff takes top honors in contest

by Kim Christ | May 9, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

Current or former Arkansas Democrat-Gazette staff members took top honors in 23 categories of the Arkansas Press Women Professional Communication Contest on Saturday.

The organization announced the winners in what a news release described as a "small socially-distanced event" on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock campus.

Led by reporter Eric Besson, the newsroom team that created the "Lives Remembered" series of articles about covid-19's Arkansas victims won in the writing, continuing coverage or unfolding news category. Reporters Lisa Hammersly, Ginny Monk, Kat Stromquist and Jeannie Roberts also worked on the series.

The "Children in Peril" series on child deaths in Arkansas by Monk won first place for in-depth reporting.

Columnist Philip Martin won first-place awards in reviews writing for "Lucinda Williams" and in personal essay for "Critical Mass: Bury My Heart turns 50."

Photographer Thomas Metthe won first-place awards in news or feature photo, for "Twister damage surveyed in Jonesboro," and in general photo, for "Enamored with Rexy."

Reporter Bill Bowden and religion editor Francisca Jones earned first place in feature story for "Called to Harrison."

Bowden also won first place in specialty history article for "Text books showed Rebel slant."

Maggie McNeary, senior online editor, and the Democrat-Gazette online staff won first place in web and social media presence for "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Facebook."

Jerry McLeod, style editor, won first place in personality profile writing for his profile of radio and television personality Bobby Bones.

First place in for-profit electronic newsletters went to digital content manager Nyssa Kruse for The Article.

Former reporter Tony Holt earned a win in the news story category for "Arkansans' killer executed."

Graphic artist Carrie Hill won first place in graphics and design, and graphics for "Halloween's happening."

Photographer Stephen Swofford won first in sports single photograph for "Inaugural girls state wrestling tournament."

Reporter Lara Farrar won first in social issues writing for "Delta hunger."

Food editor Kelly Brant's story "Dumplings, Part 1" took the top honors in food specialty articles.

Andrew Moreau's story "Delta Blues" won first place in business reporting.

Sunday Editor/Night Design Director Terry Austin won first place in newspaper graphics and design.

Courtney Lanning, editorial writer, won first place in editorial/opinion for "Complicated issue."

Roberts won first place in the obituary category for "Charles Portis."

First place in education specialty articles went to Stromquist for "Student hunger."

Helaine Williams, style editor, won in style specialty articles for "Covid couture."

Former reporter George Stoia won in sports for "Living with grief."

The Democrat-Gazette staff also earned 11 second-place and five third-place awards. All awards are for work completed during 2020.

Arkansas Press Women is an association of professional communicators in journalism, public information, business, education and government. The contest was open to Arkansas professional communicators.

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