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.

Email Jennifer Ellis with the size at (Small through 4X available).


Reporting in the Midst of Tragedy


After the shooting deaths of five staff members at the Capital Gazette just over a month ago, reporter Chase Cook said “I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper.”
Join the Arkansas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9 for a panel discussion about covering the news during even the toughest of times with moderator Andrew DeMillo of The Associated Press.

Christina Muñoz, former anchor for KATV Channel 7
CORRECTION: Christina had just had her first baby in 2008 when her colleagues had to go on air with the news that their friend/co-worker Anne Pressly was murdered.
George Jared, author and investigative journalist
George has written two true-crime books and more news stories about WM3 than any other journalist.
Cathy Frye, former award-winning journalist
In 2013, Cathy became the subject of the kind of tragic stories she was known for writing after she and her husband, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette photographer Rick McFarland, spent days lost in the Chihuahuan Desert.

*This event is free and open to the public

Arkansas SPJ will be selling T-shirts with proceeds to benefit 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.

Send questions and comments for discussion to @ArkansasSPJ #ReportingTragedy





5 p.m.
Wednesday, July 25
Rock Town Distillery
1201 Main St. | Little Rock

For $20 join Arkansas SPJ on a private tour, which includes
a Solo-cup cocktail, the tasting of 10 items + 3 specialty items
(single barrel whiskeys, anniversary whiskeys and more).

Get there at 5 p.m. to get a drink before the tour and tasting begins at 5:15.
The tour and tasting takes about an hour.

Then we’ll meet in the bar for a mixer with Ashley Wimberley,
executive director of the Arkansas Press Association.

Deadline extended for entries in Diamond Journalism Awards

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2018 Diamond Journalism Awards


Attention professional and student journalists within 250 miles of Little Rock, it’s time to enter the Diamond Journalism Awards!

Sponsored by the Arkansas Pro Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists, the Diamond Journalism Awards recognize outstanding journalism by professionals and students from Arkansas and bordering media markets in Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

Eligible work must have been published or broadcast between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018.

Entries can be submitted starting April 9, 2018 and has been extended until 11 p.m. CDT, JULY 16, 2018.

Enter online via the Better BNC Media Awards platform,

NOTE: BetterBNC is optimized for the Google Chrome browser and Firefox for PC and MacIntosh/Apple. For the best contest experience, use a recent version.

All entrants should log in as “open call contestant.” A contest administrator will confirm your eligibility.


  • All professional and student journalists, including freelancers, working within a 250-mile radius of Little Rock can submit entries or have entries submitted on their behalf by news organizations that published or broadcast their work.
  • You don’t have to be a member of the Society of Professional Journalists to enter.
  • Entries may be submitted in more than one category, but a separate entry fee is required for each category.
  • Any significant challenges or corrections to an entry must be provided with the entry. If not noted, an entry will be disqualified.
  • A cover letter is generally not required, but if included, should be no more than one page.
  • Comments and supportive material are required only in conjunction with nominations for the Robert McCord FOI Award, Community Service Award, Outstanding New Journalist Award and Diamond Journalist of the Year Award.


  • Submit PDFs, JPGs or video/audio, or provide an active URL that contest administrators and judges can access to view your entries.
  • Please ensure URLs remain valid through September 15, 2018, to accommodate judging.


  • SPJ members: $10 per entry. To claim the member fee, you must supply your personal SPJ member number. A team entry may claim the fee if at least one team member is an SPJ member; that person’s name and SPJ member number must be listed.
  • To join SPJ, go to and fill out a membership form. Pro membership is $75 a year; student membership is $37.50. Monthly payment plan available.
  • Nonmembers: $20 per entry.
  • Student SPJ members: $5 per entry. Provide your member number.
  • Student nonmembers: $10 per entry.
  • No fees will be refunded.


  • Entries will be judged by professional journalists outside the contest
  • If judges determine no entry meets standards in a given category, no award will be given.
  • Categories in which there are fewer than three entries may be merged with a similar category for judging. For example, if there are only two entries in the Politics-Non-daily category, those entries will be judged with entries in the Politics-Daily category.