Elementary student who started school newspaper to receive Arkansas SPJ’s first Diamond in the Rough Award

By Maggie McNeary

Arkansas SPJ will present the first President’s Diamond in the Rough Award to a Greenbrier Eastside Elementary student who started his own school newspaper at the chapter’s Diamond Journalism Awards, set for 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25.

Israel Bollinger, who was a fourth grader when he helped create What’s Up Eastside, works with a staff of second through fifth graders to make the monthly publication, Eastside Elementary Principal Mandi Dunlap said.

The 10-year-old, now a fifth grader, said he got the idea to start the paper while reading The Awesome, Almost 100% True Adventures of Matt & Craz by Alan Silberberg. The characters in Silberberg’s book had a school paper, which made Bollinger realize that his school lacked one – a problem that he soon solved.

“I couldn’t help but be impressed by this kid’s gumption,” Arkansas SPJ President Jennifer Ellis said of Bollinger’s accomplishment.

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Israel Bollinger, 10, holds a copy of the newspaper, “What’s Up Eastside,” he started at Greenbrier Eastside Elementary in January. Arkansas SPJ will present Bollinger with the first President’s Diamond in the Rough Award at the chapter’s Diamond Journalism Awards, set for 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25 at the Flying Saucer in Little Rock. Photo courtesy of Jason Bollinger

After a conversation with Principal Dunlap, and the recruitment of about 16 elementary students, the publication started production in January.

“Israel had asked me about it back in the first semester and I began to think about how to make this happen,” Dunlap said.

Sherry Hogg, the school counselor, helps the students during their 30-minute daily production time. The students compose their stories in Google Docs, the principal said, and printed copies are distributed throughout the school.

“This has been a great creative outlet for a lot of students,” she said. “They not only learn literacy skills of writing articles, but also the power of networking with a group to produce a product! The kids absolutely love this!”

Students voted to name the paper What’s Up Eastside and decided on its topics together. Bollinger’s favorite part of the paper is the “Crackups” section, which features jokes from students.

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The staff at Greenbrier Eastside Elementary’s school paper, “What’s Up Eastside,” are hard at work. The paper was started by Israel Bollinger, third from left, in January when he was a fourth grader. He will receive the President’s Diamond in the Rough Award from Arkansas SPJ Thursday. Photo courtesy of Mandi Dunlap

Bollinger plans to continue working on the publication for the rest of the school year.

“I really like working on the paper,” he said. “It’s fun.”

In the future, he said he might even start a middle school newspaper if next year’s campus doesn’t have one. And he’s looking even further than that.

“I think that when I grow up I want to be an entrepreneur and maybe own a newspaper,” he said.

Bollinger said he had been surprised by the media attention to him and the paper, and that he was excited to receive the Diamond in the Rough award.

“It’s going to be quite an honor,” he said.

Bollinger’s parents, Kerrie and Jason, have also been surprised by all the interest. Jason Bollinger said that his son has many good ideas and that, just as importantly, he sees them through.

“He sees a problem and he works to fix it,” he said.

Join Israel Bollinger and this year’s Diamond Journalism Award winners from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25 in the private party room downstairs at the Flying Saucer in Little Rock, located at 323 President Clinton Ave. Tickets are $15 and include heavy hors d’oeuvres and libations.

For more information on the event and Arkansas SPJ, visit the chapter’s website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Diamond Awards ceremony set for Oct. 25

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Finalists in the Diamond Journalism Awards have been announced here and on Facebook. Winners of the Community Service Award and Robert McCord Freedom of Information Award, as well as the Outstanding New Journalist and Diamond Journalist of the Year, will be announced at the 2018 SPJ Diamond Journalism Awards Ceremony.

Join us from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25 in the private party room downstairs at the Flying Saucer in Little Rock, 323 President Clinton Ave.

Tickets can be purchased online via PayPal or at the door. The cost is $15 per person, including heavy hors d’oeuvres and libations.

Arkansas SPJ scholarship honoree dies

The Arkansas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is saddened to note the death of Jerol Herreid Garrison, 86, of Fayetteville.

He was a longtime journalist and public relations practitioner in Central Arkansas. He occasionally taught journalism at UA Little Rock.

He also was active for many years as a member of the Arkansas Pro Chapter of SPJ. His SPJ contributions were invaluable, serving the chapter in a variety of roles including his participation for many years in the fabled Farkleberry Follies spoof of Arkansas newspapers and journalists. One of the chapter’s scholarships is named in his honor.

Garrison earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and after a two-year military hitch, earned a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. He went on to work for the Neosho Daily News in Missouri and the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock before taking a job with Arkansas Power and Light Co., where he became director of communication.

Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Sally, as well as two daughters, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Funeral will be at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14, at Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville with burial in Fairview Memorial Gardens.

Finalists selected for Diamond Journalism Awards

Judges have chosen the finalists for the 2018 Diamond Journalism Awards, a regional competition sponsored by the Arkansas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The awards recognize outstanding journalism by professionals and students from Arkansas and bordering media markets in Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

The Diamond Journalist of the Year and Outstanding New Journalist, as well as the winners of the Community Service Award and Robert McCord Freedom of Information Award, will be announced at the awards banquet. Details about the event will be released at a later date.

Here is a list of finalists by category:

NEWS (daily newspapers)

Andy Davis, Lisa Hammersly and Doug Thompson, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Ryan Tarinelli and Ginny Monk, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Staff, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

POLITICS (daily newspapers)

Hunter Field, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press; Staff, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

SPORTS (daily newspapers)

Bob Holt, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Brooks Kubena, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Tom Murphy, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING (daily newspapers)

Jonathan Bullington, Richard Webster, Brett Duke, Emma Scott and Haley Correll, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune; Amanda Claire Curcio and Ginny Monk, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Lisa Hammersly, Doug Thompson, Ginny Monk and Dave Hughes, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

FEATURE (daily newspapers)

Ted Jackson, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune; Ginny Monk, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Emma Pettit, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

COMMENTARY (daily newspapers)

John Brummett, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press; Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

EDITORIALS (daily newspapers)

David Barham, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

NEWS (non-daily newspapers)

Benjamin Hardy, Arkansas Nonprofit News Network; Tammy Keith, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette River Valley and Ozark Edition; Jacob Rosenberg, Arkansas Times

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING (non-daily newspapers)

Sarah Campbell-Miller, Arkansas Business

FEATURE (non-daily newspapers)

Linda Garner-Bunch, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Tammy Keith, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette River Valley and Ozark Edition; Sam Pierce, Tri-Lakes Edition, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

COMMENTARY (non-daily newspapers)

Karen Craigo, The Marshfield Mail; Tammy Keith, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette River Valley and Ozark Edition; Rick Kron, Leader Publishing

EDITORIALS (non-daily newspapers)

Rick Kron, Leader Newspapers

FEATURE (magazine)

Dwain Hebda, AY Magazine; Dwain Hebda, SOIREE Magazine; Erica Sweeney, CityLab/The Atlantic

SPORTS (magazine)

Sarah DeClerk, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Dwain Hebda, Do South Magazine

PHOTOGRAPHY (all print)

Staton Breidenthal, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Tommy Metthe, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

PHOTO PACKAGE/SPREAD (all print)

Mitchell Pe Masilun, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO (all print)

Staton Breidenthal, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Mitchell Pe Masilun, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Tommy Metthe, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

LEISURE INTERESTS (all print)

Sean Clancy and John Sykes Jr., Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

NEWS (radio/podcast)

Bobby Ampezzan, Arkansas Public Media; Jacqueline Froelich, Arkansas Public Media; Karen Steward, KUAR Public Radio

DOCUMENTARY/INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING (radio/podcast)

Bobby Ampezzan, Arkansas Public Media; Heidi Sohl, Red Wolf Radio; Karen Steward, KUAR Public Radio

FEATURE (radio/podcast)

Michael Hibblen, KUAR Public Radio; Ann Kenda, Arkansas Public Media; Karen Steward, KUAR Public Radio

NEWS (television)

Kevin Kelly and Matt Thibault, FOX16 News — KLRT; Rodolfo Portillo, Univision Arkansas; Mariana Rivero, Univision Arkansas

DOCUMENTARY/INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING (television)

Caitlin Sinett, KY3

SPORTS (television)

Esdras Valdez, Univision Arkansas

FEATURE (television)

Alex Caprariello, KNWA/KFTA; Seth Cleveland, ASU-TV; Kevin Kelly and Matt Thibault, FOX16 News – KLRT

MULTIMEDIA (any platform)

Kimberely Blackburn, Tucker Crain, Miranda Reynolds, Katie Woodall and Christopher Lee, Delta Digital News Service; Emma Pettit, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Staff, The Associated Press

VIDEO (any platform)

Mitchell Pe Masilun, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

SLIDESHOW (any platform)

Brandon Riddle, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

SPECIALIZED SITE (any platform)

Gavin Lesnick, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Jeannie Roberts, Gavin Lesnick and Mitchell Pe Masilun, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Staff, MLK50: Justice Through Journalism

NEWS (student journalism)

Kimberely Blackburn, Delta Digital News Service; Ryan Bourgoin, The Forum – UA Little Rock; Christine Kemper, The Forum – UA Little Rock

SPORTS (student journalism)

Kolton Rutherford, The Forum – UA Little Rock

FEATURE (student journalism)

Kimberely Blackburn, Delta Digital News Service; Amber Quaid, Arkansas Tech University; Miranda Reynolds, Delta Digital News Service

OPINION (student journalism)

Amber Quaid, Arkansas Tech University

PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO (student journalism)

Amber Quaid, Arkansas Tech University

Arkansas SPJ wins Circle of Excellence Award for professional development

The Arkansas Pro Chapter has been named a Circle of Excellence Award winner for a small chapter with fewer than 75 members in the area of professional development, the Society of Professional Journalists announced Aug. 23.

Circle of Excellence Awards recognize chapters that perform outstanding work in the areas of campus relations, professional development, diversity and First Amendment/Freedom of Information Act. The winners in these categories are finalists for Chapter of the Year.

SPJ’s 12 regional directors selected Arkansas Pro for this award based on recommendations by the Directors-at-Large.

This is what they said about why Arkansas Pro was chosen: “The sessions in this year’s Life and Death regional conference on FOI, ethics, Google, diversity and covering executions sounded excellent. There also were programs during the year on ethical decision-making, spotting fake news, learning about Islam and building an audience.”

The award will be presented at the opening business session at the Excellence in Journalism 218 conference in Baltimore on Sept. 27.

To find the winners in other categories visit here.

Arkansas SPJ sells T-shirts to benefit Capital Gazette Families Fund

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Arkansas SPJ is selling T-shirts with proceeds to be donated to the Capital Gazette Families Fund, which was set up by the newspaper’s owner to provide immediate relief and long-term recovery support to employees and their immediate family members affected by the tragedy.

Get yours for $20 at the Reporting in the Midst of Tragedy event at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9 in Sturgis Hall at the Clinton School of Public Service.

Want to pay by PayPal before the event? Here’s the link.

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=KM228RAMW8QLA

Email Jennifer Ellis with the size at jellis@arkansasonline.com (Small through 4X available).

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