D-G Dogged by Texas Panel

Maybe it can be chalked up to the old Arkansas-Texas rivalry, but judges from that state didn't take too kindly to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in the annual Arkansas Press Association News-Editorial Awards handed out in Fort Smith late last month.

This state's awards are annually judged by a different state, and this time around it was Texas.

The Democrat-Gazette lost the General Excellence award to its northwest rival The Morning News of Springdale, owned by Stephens Media Group.

"First, congratulations to The Morning News. It's a fine newspaper staffed by fine journalists, many of whom I know and admire," Frank Fellone, deputy editor at the D-G, wrote in an e-mail to Outtakes. "Second, you can't win them all."

Fellone said he believed it was the first time in about 15 years that the D-G didn't win the General Excellence award, which is considered the overall "Best of Show"-type trophy.

To its credit, the D-G still published the awards in its paper, and even mentioned The Morning News' win in the lead paragraph. Despite The Morning News taking home the most awards, the D-G did score one big victory as reporter C.S. Murphy won one of the most prestigious awards. The I.F. Stone Award, given annually for journalism that uncovers corruption or government- and business-related problems, went to Murphy for detailing questionable spending practices at the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.