The Villager Journal and The News won 16 awards, including three first place, in the Arkansas Press Association's Better Newspaper Contests for 2006. The awards were presented June 23 and 24 at the APA annual SuperConvention at the historic Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs.
In the news/editorial contest, sports editor Terry Mullins kept his streak alive by winning his fourth consecutive first place award for sports stories, this year with a story on the Viola Longhorns. The judge wrote, "Outstanding lead, great description."
Mullins "hit the cycle" by also winning a second and third place award and an honorable mention. He took second and honorable mention for sports action photos and honorable mention for a story on the Highland Rebels.
Bret Burquest, who writes the column "Boldly Going Nowhere" for The News, took first place in the humor column category. The judge wrote, "I laughed out loud. I like how he wove personal commentary with the student's metaphors, even the quip on his ex-wife."
Burquest also took honorable mention in the general column category for "The lazy life."
Editor David Cox won his 10th first place award in the editorial category for "Glass houses." He also took second place in the same category with "Scandalmonger to Gonzo."
Cox took third place for humor columns with "Santa only likes Americans."
Sharp County reporter Chris Wulff received three awards. Her "Refuge from the storm" took third place in the hurricane relief story category, which was a unique category for 2006 in the contest. The judge wrote, "Well written. Easy to read and follow along."
Wulff also received third place in the single news photograph category and took honorable mention in the feature story category ("Soldier patiently waits").
Fulton/Izard County reporter Joseph Price took second place for graphics and design. The judge wrote, "You don't always need four color photos and graphics to have a good looking design."
Price also received an honorable mention for headline writing.
In the advertising contest, The News picked up two awards in the classified display ad category. Amy Charbauski took second place for "Conley Ford, Keep It Simple." Dana Oakes took third place for "Stanley Wood, All-American Sale."
The annual contest is judged by members of a different state press association each year; this year's contest was judged by the Missouri Press Association. The awards were for work published in 2005. The News and the Villager Journal compete in the smaller weekly category.
Cox, as president of the association, presided over the convention which ran from June 21-24 with the theme "Free Press: An American Tradition."
The convention included an address by former FEMA Director James Lee Witt and debates by the major party candidates for Arkansas governor (Asa Hutchinson and Mike Beebe), lieutenant governor (Bill Halter and Jim Holt) and attorney general (Dustin McDaniel and Gunner Delay).
The association presented Heifer International with the Headliner of the Year Award. Heifer, one of the foremost humanitarian organizations in the world, recently opened its new international headquarters in downtown Little Rock adjacent to Clinton Presidential Center and Library.