Wednesday, July 03, 2013

TOP STORY >> Paper wins 31 awards

Leader staff writer

The Leader was honored as the best large weekly in the state for the sixth year in a row.

The announcement came at the Arkansas Press Association convention Saturday in Eureka Springs.

Besides garnering the coveted “general excellence” award again, the Leader took home 31 writing, photography and design awards.

Plus staff writer Sarah Campbell was honored as the best young journalist among all the state’s weekly newspapers.

In all, The Leader took seven first-place awards, 12 second, nine thirds and two honorable mentions.

The Leader took first in beat reporting with Sarah Campbell getting the honors, sports column writing by Ray Benton, editorial writing by Jonathan Feldman, general-interest column writing by Garrick Feldman, single news and single feature photography by David Scolli and best freelance writing by Peg Kenyon.

The judges called The Leader a “great paper that has excellent use of lines and white space.”

The judges, from the Texas Press Association, called Campbell’s Sherwood beat reporting “great work covering a beat and finding compelling issues.”

Judges said of Benton’s sports column, “Fans’ priorities are out of order:” “Chastising fans takes guts, especially rabid college boosters. This was concise and potent. Good job.”

Jonathan Feldman’s editorial, “Not helping Jacksonville,” had the judges saying, “Courageous and rational statement of both fact and opinion — the essence of an editorial.”

In reviewing Garrick Feldman’s general-interest column, “Principal is walking tall,” the judges said, “Love the insight into this principal. Your community is served well.” Feldman also nabbed second place honors in the political/news column with “First and last Vietnam casualties.”

Staff photographer Scolli took best in show with his single news photograph, “School remembers” young fire victims and his single feature photo, “Hugs and kisses,” about a girl and her mother on the first day in school.

Judges said his news photo “showed a good depiction of emotion for the victims.” Judges were attracted to Scolli’s feature photo because of the emotion.

“Who could not be drawn to this picture? Good crop. Good placement. Nice press work,” the judges said. Scolli also won third place for best sports feature photograph, “Coach Hide” and honorable mention in the sports action photograph category.

The Texas judges complimented Kenyon’s freelance article, “JPD hasn’t forgotten,” saying it was “very well written and excellent work.”

The newspaper took second in the best front page competition.

Besides being named young journalist of the year and garnering first place in beat reporting, Campbell  placed second in news stories with her article, “Driver has criminal past;”  and second in investigative reporting with “Confusion continues over alarms.”

Staff writer Rick Kron earned second place in feature stories with his “School remembers fire victims.” Kron and senior staff writer John Hofheimer also placed third in in-depth series reporting with their articles on the life and death of the North Belt freeway.

Kron and Hofheimer took second place in the state in coverage of politics. He and other staff members joined forces to also place second in medical and health coverage.

Aside from his editorial accolades, publisher Garrick Feldman also took second place in beat reporting with his Little Rock Air Force Base coverage. The judges said his work was an “excellent job in keeping readers abreast of a subject important to the community.”

Sports writer Jason King grabbed second place honors in the sports news category with his article, “Cabot grad gets taste of calling.” He also brought home a third-place award for sports column writing with his “No champions” article.

Freelance writer Stephen Steed took second place in the freelance arena with his article, “Long FDA Probe.”

Benton and his sports staff  also took home a second place award in special issue or section competition with their annual high school football section.

The sports staff placed third in the battle for the best sports page. Benton took third in the sports news story competition with “Morris bids adieu as champ” and third in sports features with “Coach Hicks—63 years of service.”

Editor Jonathan Feldman placed third in headline writing with “At 80, still roofing and tough as nails.”

Staff writer Joan McCoy took third place in the news story category with “Stalker leaves jail, kills woman.”

The newspaper won a third-place ribbon for its coverage of business and agriculture.
Managing editor Eileen Feldman won honorable mention for her editorial, “If we cease to grieve.”