Leader Blues

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

TOP STORY >> Newspaper honored as state’s best

The Leader has won the General Excellence Award for two years in a row in the Arkansas Press Association’s Better Newspaper contest.

The APA named The Leader the state’s best large weekly newspaper after it received 17 awards, including first place for best news story, best front page, best special issue, as well as top honors for investigative reporting, news and political column, sports column and sports feature photo.

The awards were announced at the APA’s annual convention Saturday in Rogers. The Leader also won three awards from the National Newspaper Association.

The APA named “Violent end brings pall over subdivision” by Jonathan Feldman and Garrick Feldman the best news article in a large weekly. The father-son team described a standoff last August between the Jacksonville police and a mentally disturbed man who was shooting at neighbors and police at a home in the Foxwood subdivision.

A police sharpshooter later shot the man through a kitchen window.

For the second time, John Hofheimer won for his series of exclusive reports on the housing-privatization program at Little Rock Air Force Base. His reporting has received national recognition and led to the dismissal of the previous contractor for failing to build or remodel homes on the air base or pay subcontractors.

New contractors have been hired and have resumed work on the housing project.

Garrick Feldman’s column, “Huck’s main adversary not running,” was judged best news/political column. It placed second in the National Newspaper Association contest. The column described a mother’s anguish after her daughter was murdered in Missouri by Wayne Dumond, a convicted Arkansas rapist who was paroled after then-Gov. Mike Huckabee had intervened on his behalf. (The column is reprinted on page 1A.)

Jonathan Feldman, Rick Kron and David Scolli won second place from the National Newspaper Association for their coverage of the Reed’s Bridge Civil War battle reenactment. Aliya Feldman, another Feldman offspring, won honorable mention from the NNA for her environmental reporting on the expanded Two Pine Landfill in Jacksonville.

At the Arkansas Press convention, The Leader won for best special issue on last year’s storms.

Design editor Christy Hendricks finished first for best front page. Sports editor Kelly Fenton won first place for his column, “Baseball brings pain.” He won second place for his feature, “Double jeopardy” and honorable mention for his feature, “Going to Kansas City” and for his article, “No excuses needed.” He finished third for a humorous column, “Bob’s your uncle.”

Sportswriter Jason King won honorable mention for his articles, “Panthers grind way to title” and “Trey’s legacy.”

David Scolli took first place for his sports feature photo, “Panther cheerleaders.”

David Parker and Christy Hendricks won second place for “Memorial Day” in the picture page/photo essay category.

Hendricks and The Leader staff took second for a feature page.

Nancy Dockter and John Hofheimer won second place for coverage of business and agriculture.

Jonathan Feldman, Rick Kron, Jeffrey Smith and Hofheimer placed second for their coverage of tourism.

“Winning 21 awards in the state and national contests is a record for The Leader,” publisher Garrick Feldman said. “The contest is very competitive with hundreds of outstanding submissions. We appreciate the special recognition, not only for the newspaper and our talented staff, but also for the communities that have supported The Leader for more than 20 years.”