CCN, staff earn state journalism awards

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Carroll County News was awarded first place for general excellence among Arkansas’ medium-circulation weekly newspapers in the Arkansas Press Association’s 2017 Better Newspaper Editorial Contest.

The award was among 31 total honors won by the editorial staff of Carroll County Newspapers, which produces the twice-weekly Carroll County News in Berryville and the weekly Lovely County Citizen in Eureka Springs. The awards, which were based on work done in 2016, were presented Saturday at the APA’s annual super-convention at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Little Rock.

“For the first time in the history of my association with this newspaper, I am proud to say that our staff has taken the top award at the Arkansas Press Association’s Better Newspaper contest,” said Carroll County Newspapers publisher Bob Moore. “There were many individual awards that combined into the sweepstakes to determine the General Excellence winner. This award is a culmination of a body of work over the past year and a tribute to the dedication of this staff to the communities we cover. I am happy for them to be recognized as the best in the state.”

“I’m so thrilled with this award,” said managing editor Scott Loftis. “It is really a reflection on the hard work of our staff. We have an outstanding team and we all work together very well. I’m proud to be part of that effort.”

The awards are presented in six divisions based on each newspaper’s publishing frequency and circulation. The Citizen competed in the Larger Weeklies division, while the Carroll County News competed in the Medium Weeklies division.

The CCN and Citizen earned a total of nine individual first-place awards in addition to the general excellence award. Associate editor Samantha Jones won first place for News Story and Beat Reporting, both in the Larger Weeklies division, and also brought home first place for Humorous Column in the Medium Weeklies division. Photographer David Bell, who officially retired from the newspaper staff in May but continues to contribute on a free-lance basis, also won three first-place awards. Bell won first place in Single News Photograph in the Larger Weeklies division, Single Sports Feature Photograph in the Medium Weeklies division and Picture Page/Photo Essay for Medium Weeklies. Loftis won first place for In-Depth Series Reporting and for Sports Column, both in the Medium Weeklies division. Free-lance photographer Charles Chappell, a frequent contributor for the Carroll County News, won first place for Single Sports Action Photograph in Medium Weeklies.

Jones took second place for General Interest Column in the Medium Weeklies division and third place for News/Political Column, General Interest Column, Humorous Column and Coverage of Tourism, all in the Large Weeklies division.

Bell earned second-place honors for Single Sports Feature Photograph and third place for Single Feature Photograph and Picture Page/Photo Essay, all in the Medium Weeklies division.

Loftis took second place for Beat Reporting and third place for General Interest Column, Humorous Column, Sports Column, News Story and Headline Writing, all in the Medium Weeklies division.

Reporter Kelby Newcomb won second place in Feature Story and Headline Writing and third place in Coverage of Education, and he and Loftis took third place in Coverage of Business/Agriculture — all in the Medium Weeklies division.

Chappell took third place in Single Sports Action Photograph for Medium Weeklies.

Photographer Tavi Ellis, who recently joined the newspapers’ staff after contributing on a free-lance basis for the past two years, earned honorable mentions in Single News Photograph and Picture Page/Photo Essay, both for Larger Weeklies.

“One of the most exciting things about the awards was how many categories we did well in and how many of our folks were involved,” Loftis said. “If we were a sports team you would say we have a lot of depth, and that is our biggest strength. Everyone pulls in the same direction to produce good, quality news publications for our communities. That’s really our primary goal, and these awards are a byproduct of that. They tell us that we are doing a lot of things well, and they also tell us where we can improve. We’ll keep working to get better, but we’re also going to enjoy this for a while.”

The Advance Monticellonian of Monticello finished second and the Nashville News-Leader was third in general excellence in the Medium Weeklies division. The Leader of Jacksonville won first place in general excellence for Larger Weeklies. Eight newspapers competed in the Medium Weeklies division and nine competed in Larger Weeklies. The entries were judged by members of the Oklahoma Press Association.

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