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The Nashville Leader brings home APA awards

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Presenters Fred Conley of the Forrest City Times Herald and John R. Schirmer of The Nashville Leader presented a New Photography session at the APA convention.
Presenters Fred Conley of the Forrest City Times Herald and John R. Schirmer of The Nashville Leader presented a New Photography session at the APA convention.
APA Tradition: Louie Graves (third from left) of The Nashville Leader participated in the traditional passing of the gavel from APA past presidents to the incoming president at the APA convention.
APA Tradition: Louie Graves (third from left) of The Nashville Leader participated in the traditional passing of the gavel from APA past presidents to the incoming president at the APA convention.
Triple Threat, an Arkansas singing trio, performs at the APA convention. The group include Tyler Davis, Caleb Conrad and Will Richey. They are competing on NBC's "America's Got Talent."
Triple Threat, an Arkansas singing trio, performs at the APA convention. The group include Tyler Davis, Caleb Conrad and Will Richey. They are competing on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – The Nashville Leader received 12 awards, including three for first place, in the Arkansas Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest Saturday at the Wyndham Hotel.

The Leader received first place for Sports Feature Story, Headline Writing and Best Front Page.

Members of the Colorado Press Association judged the Arkansas contest entries.

Results for the Leader and judges’ comments when given include the following:

In-Depth Series Reporting – John R. Schirmer, second place for “Teacher denied re-entry,” a series of stories about UA Cossatot teacher Molly Sirigiri’s difficulties returning to the United States after a mission trip to Guatemala. “Great job covering a story that was likely hard to get info about. What a scary and unknown scenario for all,” the judge said.

Best Beat Reporter – Schirmer, third place for sports. “Reporter’s coverage was deeper than just traditional sports coverage offering a fun perspective on a routine beat.”

Sports Feature Story – Schirmer, first place for “New OBU stadium,” comments from former Dallas Cowboy Cliff Harris before the dedication of Cliff Harris Stadium at Ouachita Baptist University. “This story kept me involved. Very good!”

Humorous column – Louie Graves, third place for “A foodie Tradition.”

Headline Writing – John Balch, first place for “When is a lawyer not a lawyer?” “Clever, humorous, attention grabbing,” the judge said.

Single News Photograph – Balch, honorable mention for “Fire damages landmark business.”

Single Sports Action Photograph – Schirmer, second place for “Mid air.” “Great shot in mid-air and way to get facial expression.”

Single Sports Feature Photograph – Schirmer, third place for “All-Star Celebration.”

Best Front Page – Schirmer, first place.

Coverage of education – Schirmer, Balch, Graves, Molly Freel, Jana Copeland, second place.

Coverage of tourism – Graves, Schirmer, Balch, Freel, third place.

General excellence – Honorable mention.

Graves, a former APA president, participated in the traditional passing of the gavel from former presidents to the new president at lunch Friday.

Schirmer and Fred Conley of the Forrest City Times-Herald presented a workshop session on News Photography Friday morning.

Schirmer presented APA’s Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Bill Downs, retired chairman of the Department of Mass Communications at Ouachita Baptist University, at the awards banquet Friday night. Downs was a faculty member at OBU for 41 years. Former students who attended the banquet included Schirmer, Dr. Jeff Root, Dr. Deb Root, Beth Shull and Mitch Bettis.