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Magnolia Banner-News wins AP Managing Editors awards

MAGNOLIA, Arkansas -- May, 2006 --The Banner-News of Magnolia took an unusual approach to the 2006 Arkansas Associated Press Managing Editors Association contest, and it paid off with nine awards. The newspaper, with a daily circulation of about 4,200, made the decision to step out of its regular competition division for newspapers of less than 8,000 daily circulation. Instead, it competed against other Arkansas newspapers with daily circulation between 8,001 and 15,000. Banner-News staff members won three first-place awards, two second-place honors and four third-place citations against the larger competition.

“I've always wanted to see how the Banner-News stacked up against larger competition, including newspapers with almost three times our circulation, staff and resources. We were pleasantly surprised,” said Mike McNeill, managing editor. “Seven daily newspapers were in this division. There were a couple of newspapers that received no first-place awards, and the Banner-News won three. The Banner-News also had more total awards than some of the competition,” he said.

The Banner-News’ winning entries, reflecting work in 2005:

Spot News Story - Mike McNeill, first, “Fire Destroys Lawhons,” a deadline story about a blaze that destroyed a grocery store and landmark.

Headline Writing - Mike McNeill, first, “Dogged Rescue Work Saves Canine Princess,” which lead an article about a family and sheriff’s deputies who plucked a dog named Princess from an abandoned well.

Graphics - Aaron Street, first, “By the Numbers,” a page-size graphic published in the newspaper's first edition of 2005 that looked at top local news from the previous year with an emphasis on the numbers they involved.

Sports Features -Julia Wilson, second, “The Family That Hunts Together,” part of a package on the opening of deer season.

Education Reporting - Julia Wilson, second, “Home Work,” an article about a home-schooling family.

Feature Sports Photo - Aaron Street, third, “Relaxed at the Plate,” a picture of a softball player blowing bubble gum.

Spot Sports Story - Chris Gilliam, third, “Muleriders Come Up Short in Opener,” a Southern Arkansas University basketball gamer.

Graphics - Aaron Street, graphics, and Mike McNeill, text, third, “The Game of Life in Magnolia,” a page-sized board game featured as a section front in the newspaper’s 2005 Progress edition.

Education Reporting - Jen Brady, third, “ Waldo Schools Face Hard Financial Road,” an article about the monetary woes of a school district faced with consolidation.

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