2019 Diamond Journalism Awards announced

2018 DIAMOND JOURNALISM AWARDS ANNOUNCED

LITTLE ROCK — A reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette was named the Diamond Journalist of the Year, and reporters for the Jackson Free Press won the Community Service, Freedom of Information and Outstanding New Journalist awards in the 2019 Diamond Journalism Awards, sponsored by the Arkansas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The awards were presented June 25 at Little Rock’s Flying Saucer and honor work published or broadcast between Jan. 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2018.

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

This year’s competition included 162 entries judged by members of the East Tennessee Pro Chapter of SPJ, none of whom competed in the 2019 Diamond Journalism Awards.

2019 Diamond Journalism Award winners

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Eric Besson of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is named the 2019 Diamond Journalist of the Year. Besson also won the award in 2017.

Diamond Journalist of the Year (special award)

1st – Eric Besson of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Judge’s comment: Mr. Besson’s work displays exemplary attention to detail when it matters most – demanding accountability on issues affecting the public. Besson effectively and plainly states the facts for each investigation. He has also introduced me to my favorite new word: morass. Wonderful.

Outstanding New Journalist (special award)

1st – Ashton Pittman of the Jackson Free Press

Judge’s comment: Ashton Pittman provides impressive depth and context to his reporting. He brings a much-needed historical perspective to current political stories.

2nd – Hannah Grabenstein of the Associated Press

3rd – Clara Turnage of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Community Service (special award)

1st – Donna Ladd and Arielle Dreher of the Jackson Free Press for “Gang wars in Mississippi”

Judge’s comment: Excellent example of community-service journalism with a significant impact.

2nd – Lisa Hammersly of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “Widow’s tax”

Robert S. McCord Freedom of Information Award (special award)

1st – Donna Ladd, Ko Bragg, Taylor Langele and Marie Weidmayer of the Jackson Free Press for “Transparency in officer-involved shootings”

Judge’s comment: While many questions are yet to be answered, the persistent coverage by the JFP to hold the police accountable must be applauded. This is seeking information and closure for the families affected by these shootings.

2nd – Ron Wood and Greg Harton of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “School superintendent’s firing”

Specialized website (any platform)

1st – Jeanne Roberts, Gavin Lesnick and Mitchell Pe Masilun of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “That moment of chaos”

Judge’s comment: Excellent use of multimedia tools for storytelling to allow the user to engage how they want. You can swim in the shallow end or go to the deep end.

2nd – Rachel Herzog, Brandon Riddle and Polly Irungu of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “From scratch”

3rd – Gavin Lesnick, Nikki Dawes, Ginny Monk, John Moritz and Ryan Tarinelli of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “Violent reality”

Slideshow (any platform)

1st – Staff of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “2018 marathon”

Judge’s comment: Fun, entrancing photos capturing the fun for both runners and spectators of the marathon. Composition was great, as well as the reality of the toll taken from a marathon

Multimedia (any platform)

1st – Nikki Dawes of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “Gun deaths”

Judge’s comment: A great way to visualize this investigation and compare gun deaths to existence-specific laws by creating a unique dataset based on independent data sources. This is the kind of community-service journalism that is the hallmark of a great – dare we say it? – newspaper. Thanks!

2nd – Gavin Lesnick and Jillian Kremer of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “2018 homicide map”

3rd – Staff of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “Remainder of Salt Bowl canceled after fight at War Memorial Stadium spurs panic”

Video portfolio (any platform)

1st – Mitchell Pe Masilun of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “20 years since Arkansas school shooting”

Judge’s comment: none

Arts and culture (daily newspapers)

1st – Philip Martin of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for a collection of columns about culture

Judge’s comment: I love the way I’m drawn into these stories. The author is colorful in description without overdoing it. The author is either an expert in country music styles or did great research to draw the reader in.

2nd – Kelly Brant of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for a collection of columns about food

Health (daily newspapers)

1st – Kat Stromquist of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “Surgeons gain new perspective with 3-D printer”

Judge’s comment: Kat Stromquist’s feature on the medical application of 3-D printing in Arkansas is a clear and interesting read on an incredibly complex topic. Her research, sourcing and reporting are comprehensive, but it’s her storytelling that truly shines. She writes with artistry and clarity in describing 3-D printed pediatric heart models. Her excellent organization, transitions and flow keep us reading, and she exhibits solid style throughout. Necessary titles and affiliations, which could be distracting, are easy to read without losing the thread of the story.

2nd – Emma Pettit of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “The search for mother’s milk”

3rd – Sarah DeClerk of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “Family traits: Mother of five prepares three sons for lifelong sickle cell journey”

Politics (daily newspapers)

1st – Rachel Herzog of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for coverage of the Little Rock mayoral election

Judge’s comment: Excellent story telling. I found myself rooting for the candidate during his profile and happy he won. Great job!

2nd – Hunter Field of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for medical marijuana coverage

3rd – Andrew DeMillo of the Associated Press for coverage of the 2018 election

Sports (daily newspapers)

1st – Jeremy Muck of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “Salt Bowl cut short”

Judge’s comment: Sportswriters are some of the best deadline writers in journalism because of the nature of their beats. They also have to be ready to become breaking-news reporters. Excellent job of covering a sporting event that became a deadline-news situation in an unexpected venue.

2nd – Bob Holt of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “Perfect make, then miss”

3rd – Bob Holt of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “Riches not Gafford’s driving force”

Investigative reporting (daily newspapers)

1st – Ginny Monk, John Moritz and Ryan Tarinelli of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “Violent reality”

Judge’s comment: none

2nd – Hannah Grabenstein of the Associated Press for “Arkansas schools regularly suspend truant kids despite ban”

3rd – Stephen Steed of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “EPA scientists’ dicamba input went unheeded”

Feature (daily newspapers)

1st – Ginny Monk of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “Girl’s mutation a rarity in world”

Judge’s comment: Excellent job in telling a story that can be difficult in discussing DNA and decoding it to find out the mysteries behind disabilities. The details show where this little girl is instead of just telling us the facts.

2nd – Clara Turnage of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “Mother’s call for help ends with son’s death”

3rd – Hannah Grabenstein with the Associated Press for “Possible migrant site minutes from former internment camp”

News (daily newspapers)

1st – Bill Bowden of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “Tourist boat sinks”

Judge’s comment: Excellent coverage of a tragic event.

2nd – Jill Bleed and Adrian Sainz of the Associated Press for “Bus crash”

3rd – Andrew DeMillo of the Associated Press for “Concern in Arkansas town highlights trade fear in U.S.”

Opinion (daily newspapers)

1st – John Brummett of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for a series of columns

Judge’s comment: Really enjoyed the commentary. Well-written and persuasive. The line about it being so hot satanists would willingly be baptized made me cackle. Nice job.

2nd – Elizabeth West of the Ville Platte Gazette for “Farewell to the boss man”

3rd – Philip Martin of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for a series of columns

News (magazine)

1st – Johnny Carrol Sain of Arkansas Life magazine for “This little piggy went to market”

Judge’s comment: Interesting look into hog farming – in the past and the present, and the circle that it is taking. Apt comparison between how it used to bring communities together and now seems to drive them apart.

Sports (magazine)

1st – Johnny Carrol Sain of Arkansas Life magazine for “One in the Sain”

Judge’s comment: The essence of sportswriting is to tell a story. Blending rich description and detailed memories, “One in the Sain” keeps the reader hooked until the end.

2nd – Jon Beilue of Hooten’s Arkansas Football for “Professional FASDOG trainer”

3rd – Dwain Hebda of Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for “Big dreams: Greenbrier rider has goals inside, outside arena” in 501 Life magazine

Feature (magazine)

1st – Heather Breed Steadham of Arkansas Life magazine for “Lady in waiting”

Judge’s comment: The humor and pacing of this as the writer reviews her pageant days versus what her daughter wants put this feature on top.

2nd – Dwain Hebda of Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for “The wow factor” in AY magazine

3rd – Dwain Hebda of Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for “The joker: Matt DeCample’s medicine is laughter” in AY magazine

Politics (magazine)

1st – Jordan P. Hickey of Arkansas Life for “MLK gets his day (or The passion of Kelly Duda)”

Judge’s comment: none

2nd – Jacque Walsh, Nathan Poppe and Whitley O’Connor of the Curbside Chronicle for “Curbside Midterm Voter Guide”

Health (magazine)

1st – Dwain Hebda of Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for a health series in AY magazine

Judge’s comment: My favorite piece was on ovarian cancer, “The silent killer.” I think you took a complex series of health topics and managed to capture the reader’s attention with a great hook and keep them engaged with beautiful, clear storytelling.

2nd – Dwain Hebda of Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for “Reason to believe” in AY magazine

3rd – Dwain Hebda of Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for “Left behind: Families and communities deal with life after suicide” in Mental Health Guide

Arts and culture (magazine)

1st – Seth Eli Barlow of Arkansas Life magazine for “Is this the best wine ever produced in Arkansas?”

Judge’s comment: This read more like short story, a wonderful break from reality with a heartbreaking twist at the end. The simplicity of the storytelling, taking us along on the journey from hearing of the tale to visiting the winery, just drew me in. This is probably the best article I have judged in any category this awards season. Bravo!

2nd – Dwain Hebda of Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for “Thea Foundation builds moment in charge for arts education in Arkansas” in Soiree magazine

3rd – Dwain Hebda of Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for “Primo! Ballet Arkansas” in Do South magazine

News (non-daily newspapers)

1st – Arielle Dreher of the Jackson Free Press for “Battle over education funding”

Judge’s comment: A very significant issue is that of school vouchers. This group of stories on pros and cons of public versus private educational funding used as a human interest story to personalize the issue of inadequate special ed funding in public schools and statistics that showed poor students who moved to private schools with vouchers actually did worse than those still in public school. It showed how a state issue soon became a national battleground, including funding from the Walton and Koch families. It also probed the difference between two plans proposed for the area. Thorough and a good roadmap for reporting on the issue in other communities.

2nd – Shawn Arraj, Rebecca Hennes, R. Hans Miller and Amelia Brust of Community Impact Newspaper for “Hurricane Harvey recovery continues”

3rd – Hannah Zedaker of Community Impact Newspaper for “Tamina community strives to salvage, restore submerged historic cemetery”

Health (non-daily newspapers)

1st – Linda Garner-Bunch of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette‘s Three Rivers Edition for “Led by faith”

Judge’s comment: Linda Garner-Bunch did a great job at taking a complex issue and breaking it down. She does a great job of balancing information with human emotion and storytelling.

2nd – Dwain Hebda of Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for “Glory road: Morrilton survivor hosts 5K for cancer research” in Arkansas Catholic

3rd – Tammy Keith of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette‘s River Valley & Ozark Edition for “Russellville runner with autism blazes her own path”

Feature (non-daily newspapers)

1st – Danny Wicentowski of Riverfront Times for “The legend of Allen Barklage”

Judge’s comment: The writer hooked me completely with the drama at the bridge and then followed it up with the punch of the shooting and how it would haunt him. I wanted to know more about this man.

2nd – Rick Kron of The Leader for a four-part series about suicide

3rd – Jack “Miles” Ventimiglia of Richmond Daily News for “A trial and trail of death”

Arts and culture (non-daily newspapers)

1st – Amber Helsel of the Jackson Free Press for “Food and culture in Mississippi”

Judge’s comment: Was pleasantly surprised by these stories. While I don’t typically enjoy food-type activities, the author draws one in by talking to the people behind the food and going from there. Well written with style that effectively had me feeling like I was in the food hall, observing some of what was going on.

2nd – Karen Craigo of the Marshfield Mail for “Hidden from view, June Moon Art Experience offers opportunity for creative expression”

Opinion (non-daily newspapers)

1st – Anthony Mariani of the Fort Worth Weekly for three columns

Judge’s comment: Your entries were clear, easy to read and powerful.

2nd – Donna Ladd of the Jackson Free Press for “Race, crime and dehumanization”

3rd – Rick Kron of The Leader for three columns

Politics (non-daily newspapers)

1st – Ashton Pittman, Donna Ladd and Amber Helsel of the Jackson Free Press for “Cindy Hyde-Smith: Segregation academies and hanging quips”

Judge’s comment: Entries were enterprising, in-depth and insightful.

2nd – Jack “Miles” Ventimiglia of Richmond Daily News for political coverage

3rd – Jack Flagler, Emma Freer and Christopher Neely of Community Impact Newspaper for “East side story”

Sports (non-daily newspapers)

1st – Dwain Hebda of Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for “Holy roller: Campus minister competes in roller derby” in Arkansas Catholic

Judge’s comment: The writer has a rapport with the story’s subjects that shines through in the work. Very engaging, opening and creating interest in a story that could be bypassed by a reader in the hands of a less skilled writer.”

2nd – Wendy Miller of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette‘s Three Rivers Edition for “Raiderette”

3rd – Tammy Keith of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette‘s River Valley & Ozark Edition for “Mayflower running back named top offensive player”

Investigative reporting (non-daily newspapers)

1st – Danny Wicentowski of Riverfront Times for “#ThemToo”

Judge’s comment: This entry, cleverly titled “#ThemToo,” shows how enterprise and doggedness can contribute to the electoral ouster of a county prosecutor alleged to have, over many years, sexually harassed female employees. In a small rural county, it was easy for women to get redress. The reporter also found other attorneys and officials who bolstered the “bully” characterization of the prosecutor. It’s a classic example of how a newspaper’s duty is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” Excellent work.

2nd – Matt Dulin of Community Impact Newspaper for “Amid lawsuits, Blue Ridge pledges to control odor”

3rd – Beth Marshall of Community Impact Newspaper for “Imperial market”

Design portfolio (print/online)

1st – Stan Denman of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Judge’s comment: Entry was well-designed with clean lines and best use of imagery/photos. Designer is well-versed in typesetting, as seen by their use of full justification that also maintains good tracking and kerning. Very few hyphens and widows/orphans. Visual hierarchy is keen and leads the reader through the articles efficiently and effectively. Designer’s ability to mask image backgrounds and composite is excellent. Designer also understands flowing text along organic lines to create more interest and readability. Spacing is clean and does not feel confined. Overall excellent.

2nd – Emma Devine of Arkansas Life magazine

3rd – Leanne Hunter of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Special section (print/online)

1st – Sarah DeClerk, Emily Partridge and the promotions team of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for Downtown Little Rock magazine

Judge’s comment: Clean design with good unity throughout. Nice title and subtitle design. Excellent use of color and unifying photos (color, saturation, curves, etc.) throughout the piece. Good layouts for a lot of information in a finite space.

2nd – Sarah DeClerk, Wendy Miller and the special sections team of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for Real Weddings in Arkansas

3rd – Sarah DeClerk and the special sections team of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette‘s Three Rivers Edition for the August edition of What Women Want

Photography portfolio (print/online)

1st – Mitchell Pe Masilun of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Judge’s comment: I feel like all of these photos captured a moment of extreme highs and lows of life emotions. Great use of light and framing was made. On first glance, I though the bubbles were snow, so that kind of drew me in. The choice of using framing to let the people be a part of the story about the bubble run and not the primary focus of the photograph makes sense. In the basketball photo, you can tell forethought went into the choice of close-up, wide-angle framing. The colors and lighting pop, and you can feel the energy the players are putting off. Overall, the first responders photo is the most compelling of the three images. It bring on a range of raw emotions – hope, fear, sadness, stress. Again, great framing. I loved the way each of these captured a scene that tells a story, and not just one aspect of the story.

2nd – Staton Breidenthal of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

3rd – Tommy Metthe of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Photo package/spread (print/online)

1st – Mitchell Pe Masilun of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “Oaklawn opening day”

Judge’s comment: Really great set. Loved the feeling of excitement and anticipation all of the shots portrayed.

2nd – Mitchell Pe Masilun of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “Arizona Bowl”

Photography (print/online)

1st – Mitchell Pe Masilun of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “Injury, accident on I-30”

Judge’s comment: The photographer did a great job catching the agony of the moment.

2nd – Yvette Jagneaux of the Ville Platte Gazette for a photograph of a T-ball player leaping to make a catch

3rd – Staton Breidenthal of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for “A hands-on experience”

News (radio/audio)

1st – Johnathan Reaves of KASU Public Radio for “Amid national school safety debates, Jonesboro marks anniversary of a middle school shooting”

Judge’s comment: Twenty years ago, school shootings were unheard of, even in Columbine, but not in Jonesboro, where two middle school students shot down five victims. As the tragedy is remembered now with a demonstration for stricter gun control, this report and four related ones explore how each ensuing shooting brings it all back to those still at the school and looks at the changes made since. Interesting and sensitive. Well done.

2nd – Ann Kenda with Arkansas Public Media for “Arkansas pork industry caught in the middle of trade trouble”

Sports (radio/audio)

1st – Brandon Tabor of KASU Public Radio for “Red Wolves mascot turns 10 years old”

Judge’s comment: Great storytelling and use of various voices to present the full process of a mascot change and fan reception to it. The transcription of the interviews in the link is a great service. The interviewer has a great rapport with the guests.

2nd – Ann Kenda of Arkansas Public Media for “Champion duck callers flock to Stuttgart”

3rd – Chuck Livingston, David Wallace, Barry Groomes, Chad Hooten and Chris Hooten of Hooten’s Arkansas Football for “Delta Pest Control football report”

Documentary/investigative reporting (radio/audio)

1st – Ibby Caputo of Scene on Radio, the podcast out of Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, for “More than paper cuts”

Judge’s comment: none

Arts and culture (radio/audio)

1st – Jerome Weeks of KERA for “Artist Spotlights”

Judge’s comment: none

Documentary/investigative reporting (television/video)

1st – Caitlin Sinett with KY3 and KSPR for “Marion County, Arkansas, road funds used to pay off judge’s legal fees”

Judge’s comment: This is a great example of why local journalism matters.

News (student – print/online)

1st – Kimberely Blackburn with Delta Digital News Service for “Organizations seek to help area homeless”

Judge’s comments: The reporter did a nice job of personalizing the issue of homelessness while taking a look at the resources available.

2nd – Keith Turner of Delta Digital News Service for “Northeast Arkansas hepatitis A outbreak continues”

3rd – Kayce Wilson of Delta Digital News Service for “Business provides pharmaceuticals alternative”

Feature (student – print/online)

1st – Christine Miyawa of Delta Digital News Service for “Deltayou: Redemption in six strings”

Judge’s comment: From the lede, the journalist brought me into the story and lead me on Cameron Todd’s journey. Excellent work.

2nd – Miranda Reynolds of Delta Digital News Service for “Honey bees impact Arkansas”

3rd – Destini Lattimore of Delta Digital News Service for “El Dorado seeks destination status via music”

Sports (student – print/online)

1st – Marvin Davis of Delta Digital News Service for “SBC champs back on track”

Judge’s comment: I’m not usually interested in track as a sport. However, this author’s profiles, both of the team as a whole and the individual competitors, drew me in with some great interviews. Good job!

Photo package/spread (student)

1st – Tristan Arquitt of Delta Digital News Service for “Roots Music Festival entertains Jonesboro”

Judge’s comment: Great choice of photos and layout overall.

2nd – Tristan Arquitt of Delta Digital News Service for “A river of Bluegrass runs through Paragould”

3rd – Madison Gomez of Delta Digital News Service for “6th annual ride benefits Memorial Gardens”

Arkansas SPJ announces scholarship winners

The Arkansas Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has announced the recipients of two $1,000 scholarships for the 2019-20 academic year and has named a new scholarship in honor of its first female member and president.

The winners are Lauren McLemore of Maumelle and Renato Betim of Fayetteville.

Lauren McLemore
Lauren McLemore of Maumelle is the recipient of the inaugural Charlotte Tillar Schexnayder Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 for the 2019-20 academic year.

Lauren McLemore is a junior at the University of Central Arkansas studying journalism and sociology. She works as the associate editor for the university’s student newspaper, The Echo, and also freelance writes pieces for AY magazine and Arkansas Money and Politics. She said she hopes to use her journalistic training alongside her passion for justice and compassion to be successful in a career in media. She will receive the inaugural Charlotte Tillar Schexnayder Scholarship.

Schexnayder is a longtime Arkansas journalist as well as a pioneering leader in areas long dominated by men. Born at Tillar (Drew and Desha counties) in 1923, she graduated in 1944 from Louisiana State University, where she had served as editor of the student newspaper, the Reveille. She became editor of the McGehee Times in October 1944.

In 1955, Schexnayder and her husband, Melvin, bought the Dumas Clarion, owning the newspaper until 1998. Among her many firsts were becoming the first female member of what was then the Little Rock chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (now called the Arkansas Pro Chapter or Arkansas SPJ) and being elected the first female president of the chapter in 1973. She became the first female president of the Arkansas Press Association in 1981 and first female president of the National Newspaper Association in 1991.

Beyond her journalistic firsts, Schexnayder was the first woman named to the Arkansas Board of Pardons and Parole and was the first female president of the Dumas Chamber of Commerce.

Renato Betim
Renato Betim of Fayetteville is the recipient of a $1,000 J.N. Heiskell Scholarship for the 2019-20 academic year.

Renato Betim is a junior at the University of Arkansas double majoring in journalism and political science. He has worked as a senior reporter at the Eagle View, the student-run newspaper of Northwest Arkansas Community College. After completing his bachelor’s degree, Betim said he hopes to pursue a master’s degree in journalism and report on politics and social issues that impact politics in his community and nationwide. In honor of the 200th anniversary of the Arkansas Gazette, which continues today as the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, he will receive the J.N. Heiskell Scholarship.

Heiskell, owned and edited the Arkansas Gazette for 70 years until his death in 1972. The newspaper won two Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure.

The scholarship recipients will be honored at the chapter’s annual meeting and Diamond Journalism Awards ceremony at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 25, at the Flying Saucer in Little Rock.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Ellis, chapter president, at jellis@arkansasonline.com or (501) 533-0565.

Another member added to Arkansas SPJ board candidates

The Arkansas SPJ Board of Directors election will take place during the Diamond Journalism Awards ceremony and annual meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 25, at the Flying Saucer (downstairs party room) in Little Rock.

There are 11 seats that are up for election each year, including executive officers: president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. Candidates include Jennifer Ellis, president; Sarah DeClerk, vice president; Wendy Miller and Rob Moritz, co-treasurers; Maggie McNeary, secretary; and Sonny Albarado, Sarah Campbell-Miller, Andrew DeMillo, Steven Listopad, Dwain Hebda and Brittany Reese as board members.

According the Arkansas SPJ bylaws, nominations will also be taken on the floor at the meeting.

Members who would like to take a leadership position, but who don’t want to join the board can get involved in one of our committees: programs, marketing, scholarships, contests, and FOIA/New Voices. For more information, email Jennifer Ellis at jellis@arkansasonline.com.

ARKANSAS PRO CHAPTER BOARD
Duties and Responsibilities
To ensure the health of the Society of Professional Journalists Arkansas Pro Chapter, the members of the Board of Directors must be current on national dues and be accountable for the following duties and responsibilities:

Attendance
The Board of Directors meets monthly, and sometimes calls special meetings via phone or email. Board members must attend a minimum of nine monthly meetings during their July-to-June term of office, but strive to make it to all meetings or phone in. Absence from three consecutive meetings, or four or more monthly meetings during their term, will result in the appointment of a new director to the position.

Participation
Board members must actively participate in at least one of the following chapter committees: programs, marketing, scholarships, contests, FOIA/New Voices or other special committee designated by the president. Active participation may include planning at least one event in a year, advancement of the FOIA through lobbying, contributions to the chapter’s website, newsletter or social media campaigns, or other efforts determined by the board.

 

2018-2019 Board Candidates long.indd

Finalists selected for 2019 Diamond Journalism Awards

Finalists selected for 2019 Diamond Journalism Awards

 

Judges have chosen the finalists for the 2019 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 states.

The Diamond Journalist of the Year will be announced at the awards ceremony and annual membership meeting, which will take place 6 p.m. June 25 at the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium in Little Rock. Tickets are $15 per person, including heavy hors d’oeuvres and libations. More details about the event will soon be released.

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Here is a list of finalists by category:

Specialized website (any platform)

Jeanne Roberts, Gavin Lesnick and Mitchell Pe Masilun, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Rachel Herzog, Brandon Riddle and Polly Irungu, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Gavin Lesnick, Nikki Dawes, Ginny Monk, John Moritz and Ryan Tarinelli, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Slideshow (any platform)

Staff, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Multimedia (any platform)

Nikki Dawes, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Gavin Lesnick and Jillian Kremer, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Staff, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Video portfolio (any platform)

Mitchell Pe Masilun, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Arts and culture (daily newspapers)

Philip Martin, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Kelly Brant, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Health (daily newspapers)

Kat Stromquist, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Emma Pettit, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Sarah DeClerk, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Politics (daily newspapers)

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

Sports (daily newspapers)

Jeremy Muck, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Bob Holt, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Investigative reporting (daily newspapers)

Ginny Monk, John Moritz and Ryan Tarinelli, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Hannah Grabenstein, The Associated Press; Stephen Steed, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Feature (daily newspapers)

Ginny Monk, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Clara Turnage, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Hannah Grabenstein, The Associated Press

News (daily newspapers)

Bill Bowden, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Jill Bleed and Adrian Sainz, The Associated Press; Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press

Opinion (daily newspapers)

John Brummett, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Elizabeth West, Ville Platte Gazette; Philip Martin, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

News (magazine)

Johnny Carrol Sain, Arkansas Life magazine

Sports (magazine)

Johnny Carrol Sain, Arkansas Life magazine; Jon Beilue, Hooten’s Arkansas Football; Dwain Hebda, Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for 501 Life magazine

Feature (magazine)

Heather Breed Steadham, Arkansas Life magazine; Dwain Hebda, Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for AY magazine

Politics (magazine)

Jordan P. Hickey, Arkansas Life magazine; Jacque Walsh, Nathan Poppe and Whitley O’Conner, The Curbside Chronicle

Health (magazine)

Dwain Hebda, Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for AY magazine; Dwain Hebda, Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for Mental Health Guide

Arts and culture (magazine)

Seth Eli Barlow, Arkansas Life magazine; Dwain Hebda, Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for Soiree magazine; Dwain Hebda, Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for Do South magazine

News (non-daily newspapers)

Arielle Dreher, Jackson Free Press; Shawn Arraj, Rebecca Hennes, R. Hans Miller and Amelia Brust, Community Impact Newspaper; Hannah Zedaker, Community Impact Newspaper

Health (non-daily newspapers)

Linda Garner-Bunch, Three Rivers Edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Dwain Hebda, Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for Arkansas Catholic; Tammy Keith, River Valley & Ozark Edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Feature (non-daily newspapers)

Danny Wicentowski, Riverfront Times; Rick Kron, Leader Newspaper; Jack “Miles” Ventimiglia, Richmond Daily News

Arts and culture (non-daily newspapers)

Amber Helsel, Jackson Free Press; Karen Craigo, The Marshfield Mail

Opinion (non-daily newspapers)

Anthony Mariani, Fort Worth Weekly; Donna Ladd, Jackson Free Press; Rick Kron, Leader Newspaper

Politics (non-daily newspapers)

Ashton Pittman, Donna Ladd and Amber Helsel, Jackson Free Press; Jack “Miles” Ventimiglia, Richmond Daily News; Jack Flagler, Emma Freer and Christopher Neely, Community Impact Newspaper

Sports (non-daily newspapers)

Dwain Hebda, Ya!Mule Wordsmiths for Arkansas Catholic; Wendy Miller, Three Rivers Edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Tammy Keith, River Valley & Ozark Edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Investigative reporting (non-daily newspapers)

Danny Wicentowski, Riverfront Times; Matt Dulin, Community Impact Newspaper; Beth Marshall, Community Impact Newspaper

Design portfolio (print/online)

Stan Denman, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Emma Devine, Arkansas Life magazine; Leanne Hunter, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Special section (print/online)

Sarah DeClerk, Emily Partridge and promotions team, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Sarah DeClerk, Wendy Miller and special sections team, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Sarah DeClerk and special sections team, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Photography portfolio (print/online)

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

Photo package/spread (print/online)

Mitchell Pe Masilun, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Photography (print/online)

Mitchell Pe Masilun, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: Yvette Jagneaux, Ville Platte Gazette; Staton Breidenthal, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

News (radio/audio)

Johnathan Reaves, KASU Public Radio; Ann Kenda, Arkansas Public Media

Sports (radio/audio)

Brandon Tabor, KASU Public Radio; Ann Kenda, Arkansas Public Media; Chuck Livingston, David Wallace, Barry Groomes, Chad Hooten and Chris Hooten, Hooten’s Arkansas Football

Documentary/investigative reporting (radio/audio)

Ibby Caputo, Scene on Radio podcast of Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies

Arts and culture (radio/audio)

Jerome Weeks, KERA

Documentary/investigative reporting (television/video)

Caitlin Sinett, KY3 and KSPR

News (student – print/online)

Kimberely Blackburn, Delta Digital News Service; Keith Turner, Delta Digital News Service; Kayce Wilson, Delta Digital News Service

Feature (student – print/online)

Christine Miyawa, Delta Digital News Service; Miranda Reynolds, Delta Digital News Service; Destini Lattimore, Delta Digital News Service

Sports (student – print/online)

Marvin Davis, Delta Digital News Service

Photo package/spread (student)

Tristan Arquitt, Delta Digital News Service; Madison Gomez, Delta Digital News Service

Community service (special award)

Donna Ladd and Arielle Dreher, Jackson Free Press; Lisa Hammersly, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Robert McCord Freedom of Information Award (special award)

Donna Ladd, Ko Bragg, Taylor Langele and Marie Weidmayer, Jackson Free Press; Ron Wood and Greg Harton, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Outstanding New Journalist (special award)

Ashton Pittman, Jackson Free Press; Hannah Grabenstein, The Associated Press; Clara Turnage, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Candidates for the 2019-2020 Board of Directors

Board MEMBER:
Your name here
Want to get involved? Consider running for a seat! The Arkansas SPJ Board of Directors has 11 seats that are up for election each year, including executive officers: president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. Send a photo and a brief bio that tells why you want to serve as an SPJ leader, your history with SPJ and what you will bring to the group, including any ideas you have for the coming year, to Arkansas SPJ President Jennifer Ellis at jellis@arkansasonline.com.

 

2018-2019 Board Candidates long.indd

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Arkansas SPJ seeks candidates for 2019-2020 Board of Directors

Looking for leaders.indd

The Arkansas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will host its annual board election at its June membership mixer. Want to get involved? Consider running for a seat!

The Arkansas SPJ Board of Directors has 11 seats that are up for election each year, including executive officers: president, vice president, treasurer and secretary.

Check out the following duties and responsibilities of board members and consider running for the board or an officer position. Send a photo and a brief bio that tells why you want to serve as an SPJ leader, your history with SPJ and what you will bring to the group, including any ideas you have for the coming year, to Arkansas SPJ President Jennifer Ellis at jellis@arkansasonline.com by Friday, May 17 (extended deadline).

A list of candidates and their bios will be posted 30 days prior to the election and emailed to our membership. Voting will take place at the June annual meeting (location and date/time to be decided) and via email for those who can’t attend.

Don’t want to be a board member? Get involved in one of our committees: programs, marketing, scholarships, contests, and FOIA/New Voices.

ARKANSAS PRO CHAPTER BOARD
Duties and Responsibilities
To ensure the health of the Society of Professional Journalists Arkansas Pro Chapter, the members of the Board of Directors must be current on national dues and be accountable for the following duties and responsibilities:

Attendance
The Board of Directors meets monthly, and sometimes calls special meetings via phone or email. Board members must attend a minimum of nine monthly meetings during their July-to-June term of office, but strive to make it to all meetings or phone in. Absence from three consecutive meetings, or four or more monthly meetings during their term, will result in the appointment of a new director to the position.

Participation
Board members must actively participate in at least one of the following chapter committees: programs, marketing, scholarships, contests, FOIA/New Voices or other special committee designated by the president. Active participation may include planning at least one event in a year, advancement of the FOIA through lobbying, contributions to the chapter’s website, newsletter or social media campaigns, or other efforts determined by the board.

Arkansas SPJ to host Sunshine Week events

Trivia.indd

Your Right to Know

SUNSHINE WEEK Events 2019

FOIA TRAINING + Q&A
10 a.m. Tuesday, March 12
CALS Cox “Bookstore” Building 3rd floor
120 River Market Ave., Little Rock

Join Arkansas SPJ and the state attorney general’s office for a Freedom of Information Act training, followed by a Q&A session with local journalists. Learn how to use FOIA to access public records and how reporters use the law every day. 
SPACE IS LIMITED • RSVP ArkansasSPJ@gmail.com

SUNSHINE TRIVIA
6 p.m. Thursday, March 14
Vino’s Brewpub
923 W. 7th St., Little Rock

Grab a brew and a slice while we test your knowledge of the state’s FOIA history and regulations with a fun twist, of course.

Police, Press and the Public
2 p.m. Saturday, March 16
CALS Main Library – Darragh Center
100 S. Rock St, Little Rock

This panel will feature members of local police departments and professional journalists on public information, transparency, crime, community policing 
and how media and police work with each other.
Officer Tommy Norman
Officer Norman works for the North Little Rock Police Department.
He promotes community policing through his Mission Give Foundation 
and far-reaching social media presence.

Lt. Michael Ford
Lt. Ford runs the Public Affairs Section of the Little Rock Police Department.
He is responsible for releasing police information and responding to FOIA requests.

Mitchell McCoy
McCoy has been a general assignment reporter at KARK.
He routinely covers crime in Little Rock.

Clara Turnage
Turnage is the crime reporter at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
She often works with the paper’s breaking news team and interacts with police.


OPEN GOVERNMENT IS GOOD GOVERNMENT

Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.

These events are brought to you by the Arkansas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. @ArkansasSPJ
$5 donation is suggested at each event to assist with printing costs of the 19th Edition of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Handbook (set to be revised October 2019). A joint effort by the Arkansas Press Association, the Governor of Arkansas, the Attorney General of Arkansas, the Arkansas Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and other organizations, the Handbook is the state’s definitive and most up-to-date resource on the FOIA.