Mel White Entertains Journalists at SPJ Banquet

Mel White, freelance journalist for National Geographic publications, regaled the audience at the Arkansas SPJ banquet on Thurs. May 10, with stories of his travels to remote and  extreme landscapes.

Ark.SPJ board member Eric Francis with speaker Mel White.

The Arkansas Pro chapter of SPJ also honored several journalists with at the culmination of its annual contest. This year, 33 reporters, editors, photographers and designers received first-place awards for their outstanding work.

White shared photographs and clips from his long history with National Geographic, including images from far-flung locales in New Zealand, Yemen, Alaska, and Brazil, among others. He credited good fortune for his ongoing rapport with National Geographic editors, but added with a smile, “I also turn my stuff in on time, and I can spell.”

Mel White, left, takes questions after the 2012 SPJ banquet

Cathy Frye won the award for Journalist of the Year, for her series on heat stroke in football practices and associated deaths in Arkansas. Sarah Morris of the Stuttgart Daily Leader won Outstanding New Journalist. Debra Hale-Shelton won first place for Reporting on FOI Issues, and the Northwest Arkansas staff of the Democrat-Gazette won the award for Community Service.

Full results are available under the “Contest” tab above.  Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all those who made the banquet a success!

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