The AY Media Group staff are among the top-honored recipients in the 2021 Diamond Journalism Awards. The awards are an annual regional competition put on by the Arkansas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, recognizing journalism excellence in Arkansas and six neighboring states.
According to a news release announcing the winners, the 2021 Diamond Journalism Awards were selected from a record 393 entries across 75 categories. Members of the Cincinnati Pro Chapter Society of Professional Journalists served as judges to determine the finalists and winners.
Altogether, AY Media Group netted 17 placements, joining writers of the Mississippi Free Press with “top honors,” according to the release.
The entire staff of AY About You (listed as Heather Baker, Dustin Jayroe, Rebecca Robertson, Jamison Mosley and Lora Puls) won second place in Special Section-All Print/Online for the 2020 Arkansas Mental Health Guide.
AY About You editor Dustin Jayroe won one of five Special Awards. Jayroe was named Outstanding New Journalist, which recognizes journalism excellence for an individual who has been working professionally for five years or fewer.
“The mark of a good writer and storyteller is when the reader can glide through a story without stopping,” the judges said. “It’s hard to believe he’s only been in the profession for fewer than five years.”
Jayroe also won first place in Editorials-Magazine for his editor’s letter in the 2020 Arkansas Mental Health Guide; second place for Commentary-All Print/Online for his Deserts for Trees political columns for Arkansas Money & Politics; second place in Health, Science & Environment Writing-All Print/Online for his pandemic reporting; and third place in Ongoing Coverage-Magazines for substance use reporting.
AY Media Group production manager Rebecca Robertson won first place in Magazine Design for a food and home layout series in AY magazine; and second place in Magazine Design for a series of layouts in Arkansas Money & Politics magazine.
AMP editor Mark Carter placed in three awards. He won second place in Editorials-Magazine for his AMP editor’s letters; second place in Sports-Magazines for Enjoying the Ride, and second place in Business Writing-All Print/Online for his reporting on how the pandemic affected businesses.
AY Media Group art director Jamison Mosley won second place in Photo Spread/Essay for his photojournalism covering the 2020 protests for the story A Fight to End the Fight.
Former AY Media Group online editor Tyler Hale won second place in Ongoing Coverage-Magazines for his food and agriculture reporting for AMP; was second place in Explanatory Reporting-Magazines for the same reporting work; and placed second for Outstanding New Journalist.
AY Media Group’s contributors were also honored in numerous categories.
For affiliates of the company, Dwain Hebda, of Ya!Mule Wordsmiths, won third place in Ongoing Coverage-Magazines for substance use reporting; and won a total of four first-place honors for other local publications. Hebda also placed second for Diamond Journalist of the Year.
Photographers Ebony Blevins and Ian Lyle won second place in Photo Spread/Essay for their work on A Fight to End the Fight. Lyle won first place in Student Photography for the same photojournalism.
Evin Demirel won first place in Sports-Magazines for the AMP story Brave New World.
“We are so honored for all of our recognition in the 2021 Diamond Journalism Awards,” AY Media Group president and publisher Heather Baker said. “I’m so proud of our entire staff and their incredible work this year.”