Clara Turnage, a former reporter for the Little Rock-based Democrat-Gazette, took the first-place honor in the news story category for her article “Lapping of water ends cries for help: Handling of 911 calls stirs inquiry.” Debra Stevens drown while on the phone with a Fort Smith dispatcher for 24 minutes as flood waters overtook her vehicle.
Ginny Monk, another reporter for the Little Rock newspaper, won first place for investigative reporting for her series “Code violations follow landlord.”
The I.F. Stone Award, which recognizes extraordinary investigative reporting of governmental wrongdoing, went to the staff of The Leader, a weekly newspaper in Jacksonville, for a series about the City Council violating the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.
Members of the Kansas Press Association judged this year’s competition, which drew 1070 entries from 29 newspapers.
Among the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s other first-place winners were John Brummett for “The Unexamined Life” in the opinion category, Bob Holt in the category of sports news story and Stan Denman for graphic design portfolio. Ron Wolfe won first place in the category of freelance recognition for a profile of Bobby Reece Abbott.
Tommy Metthe of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette won two first-place awards for sports photography.
Teams of reporters from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette won first place in three different categories of community coverage: agriculture and business, education and tourism.