For the second year in a row the Spring River Chronicle, the only Sharp County owned local newspaper, placed second in General Excellence and brought home 24 Arkansas Press Awards from the Arkansas Press Association’s Better Editorial Contest in downtown Little Rock at the DoubleTree by Hilton on July 20-22. 

Last year, the newspaper moved up a classification, from to “Medium Weeklies,” based on increased subscriptions, competing with papers three to four times the size with larger staffs. Previously, the newspaper competed in the Smaller Weeklies category, where they won General Excellence in 2020 and 2021. The prestigious award is given to the newspaper with the most accrued points on their wins during the contest each year.

Spring River Chronicle’s Tammy Curtis brought home four first place awards in the medium weekly category including”
Best Feature Story for Bringing Brady Back, a story about the return of a Pearl Harbor veteran’s body to Sharp County for final burial
Best Front Page Design for both Smaller and Medium Weeklies
Best Single News Photo, a truck caught in flash flooding at Evening Shade
• Best General Interest Column for a column about the importance of small own newspapers to rural communities through the centuries.  

Angelia Roberts won a first place  award as a guest writer for her story on the Rebeckah Gould killer speaking out to her in an exclusive interview after his sentencing. 

The paper and Curtis also took second place awards for:
Beat Reporting in Community Coverage
Single News Photo, killer Jacoby Goehler’s perp walk after being convicted of killing his best friend Davidlee Stansbury
Sports News Story on Highland Rebels first District Championship in 20 years
• Community Coverage of Education.
Mitch Sparks took an award for his photo of “Gage Gets the Ball” an action shot for the Highland Rebels. 

Third Place awards went to Curtis for”
• Community Coverage of Agriculture and Business
• Graphic Design Portfolio
News Story, Beyond the Grave, a story about Fulton County law enforcement’s attempt to solve the death of a baby thrown from a car through DNA  after over 40 years
• Series Reporting on the Watermelon Festival growers
Investigative Reporting on the Ozark Acres SID
Feature Story on a local roper finishing seventh in the International Finals Rodeo.

Honorable Mentions were given for classes of:
• Editorial, Shame on a Few Elected officials, calling out former Mayor Russell Griffin and former city councilman and mayor hopeful Rob Smith on their distasteful election tactics
Feature Story, on a local veteran
• Single News Photo of throwing melons
and Photographer Donnell Russell for Single Sports Action Photo for Lady Bears in Action. 

Also bringing home top honors in the Smaller Weekly section of the competition was another locally owned newspaper, the Horseshoe Bend based The Pacesetting Times. The paper’s owner and editor, Karen Sherrill, Carrie Trivitt, and photography Bobby Stapleton also won Second Place in General Excellence and eight first place wards and nine other awards for their editorial, layout and photography skills. 

These successes prove the importance these two papers place on their communities and ensuring their events, meetings, sports, community, education, business, government and emergency and law enforcement topics are fully covered. 

Locally owned papers are not governed by corporations that aren’t based locally, often out of state. They are owned and run by local residents who have chosen this area to live, raise their families and open business. Local newspapers are and will continue to be the heart of the community and the voice of the people who live there. 

Since Curtis purchased the newspaper in 2017, the Spring River Chronicle has brought home 135 Arkansas Press Awards for Editorial and Advertising and won first and second place in General Excellence five times.