A Service of UA Little Rock
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

KUAR And Arkansas Public Media Honored With 8 Journalism Awards

Arkansas Society of Professional Journalists SPJ

KUAR and Arkansas Public Media won eight awards at this year’s competition of the Arkansas chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. The 2018 Diamond Journalism Awards were handed out Thursday evening in Little Rock. The honors are for reporting that was published or broadcast between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.

Below are the three categories that KUAR and Arkansas Public Media entered along with links to the award-winning reports and comments provided from the judges.

Radio/podcasts – NEWS

1st – Questions as U.S. wood pellet makers expand production — Jacqueline Froelich, Arkansas Public Media

"The market is booming for Arkansas produced wooden pellets. The reporter looks at the debate over the kinds of trees used to make pellets … producers say the forests are overflowing while some environmentalists claim current methods threaten biodiversity. Reporter presented a balanced story with quotes from both ‘sides.’ Well written and an important look at a booming state industry."

2nd – Startling stats on bullying, suicide and sexual assault give Arkansas school safety panel huge task — Karen Steward, KUAR Public Radio

"This report lays out the stats from various sources that indicate Arkansas has the distinction of being the worst in the country in school bullying. It details the factors, such as violence and rape, that lead to that and other issues in schools. A special committee faces an upward climb to look at possible solutions. Reporter did an excellent job of explaining and distilling a complicated and important public issue based upon numbers that don’t seem to be lying."

3rd – Republican dominance, open primaries makes one party’s picks ripe for crossover vote — Bobby Ampezzan, Arkansas Public Media

"Useful report on how Arkansas’ open primary can strategically affect the outcome due to crossover voting. Reporter explained hos this can be accomplished. Good sound bites from candidates and a professor. Such a report can do a valuable job of educating voters."


1st – Physician’s opioid prescribing habits, behavior raise doubt over standards for Arkansas doctors — Karen Steward, KUAR Public Radio

"This expose of a physician who easily prescribe opioids — and in large quantities — is a story that needs to be told … and fortunately this entry tells it well. Solid reporting explores the current situation completely … from his prescription practices to how the state medical board ineffectively deals with it. The story is one that needs to be told and will hopefully be heard by many people."

2nd – Bi Bi Bi — Heidi Sohl, Red Wolf Radio

"This entry could be described as a primer on bisexuality. It begins by defining and explaining the term and goes on to get the opinions of several bisexual persons. It also covers the terminology people should use in addressing bisexual individuals. Good sound bites. This story is informative and discusses the topic in an informal manner that most listeners can easily understand." 

3rd – Medical marijuana standstill: A real loss for ‘prospectors,’ employment for small town; While medical marijuana stands before high court, patients steal away for therapy from other states — Bobby Ampezzan, Arkansas Public Media

"Informative look at the medical marijuana situation situation in Arkansas and how people are traveling to nearby states for their medical marijuana because it is not available at home. Story combines individuals stories with solid research on the current legal status of medical marijuana becoming available in Arkansas."

Radio/podcasts – FEATURE

1st – After lost scores are found in abandoned house, musicians give life to Florence Price’s music — Karen Steward, KUAR Public Radio

"This is a fascinating feature about a black female composer and the rescuing of some of her papers and compositions that had been left in her former house. The story is a double barreled piece of history — that of Price herself, which is that of a pioneer, and her music, and how it was saved. Well produced that holds the listeners’ attention until the end. Good use of sound."

2nd – Central High School 60th anniversary commemoration events begin in Little Rock — Michael Hibblen, KUAR Public Radio

"The anniversary of an important historical event is recalled by those who were at the center of the desegregation of Central High — the students. Strong sound bites make their story and long views on the subject some alive. Reporter does an outstanding job of fitting so much into such a relatively short story."

3rd – Arkansas ranchers celebrate reopening of large, lucrative Chinese market — Ann Kenda, Arkansas Public Media

"Strong opening and closing do a good job of rounding up the story of Arkansas beef finally being sold in China following a mad cow disease-related ban. Interesting story that manages to convey many facts without overwhelming the listeners. Good sound bites."

Michael Hibblen was a journalist for KUAR News from May 2009 — December 2022. During his final 10 years with the station, he served as News Director. In January 2023, he was hired by Arkansas PBS to become its Senior Producer/ Director of Public Affairs.