Byrd to be honored for contributions to newspaper industry


LITTLE ROCK — Former Arkansas News Bureau chief Dennis Byrd will be honored for his contributions to the newspaper industry at the Arkansas Press Association’s 2014 SuperConvention in Hot Springs next month, the APA said Monday.

The convention will be held July 9-12 at Embassy Suites. In a July 11 awards banquet, the APA will present Distinguished Service Awards to Byrd, former Texarkana Gazette publisher Buddy King and former Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Executive Editor Griffin Smith.

Byrd is retired as chief of the Arkansas News Bureau after spending several years as publisher of nine weekly newspapers in addition to his bureau chief duties.

Stephens Media named Byrd publisher of the North Little Rock Times and Maumelle Monitor in 2005, and later added weekly newspapers in Cabot, Carlisle, Jacksonville, Lonoke, Sherwood, Hot Springs Village and Clinton.

Byrd is a former executive editor of the Texarkana Gazette, managing editor of the El Dorado News-Times and The Benton Courier. He also is a past advertising manager of the News-Times.

Byrd wrote for The Associated Press from 1987 until 1996 before joining Stephens Media, formerly Donrey Media Group. He was twice named the state’s top columnist by Associated Press Media Editors.

A former president of the Pro Chapter of the Arkansas Society of Professional Journalists, Byrd has been active in the state Freedom of Information Coalition and is a past recipient of the APA’s FOI Award.

He entered retirement a few months ahead of his planned departure when he and most of his staff at the Arkansas News Bureau were laid off earlier this year.

King is retired as publisher of the Texarkana Gazette and president of Palmer Newspapers. He began his newspaper career at the Paragould Daily Press and became publisher of the Malvern Daily Record, then managed six Alabama papers before joining the Gazette as general manager in 1988.

Smith was executive editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette from 1992 until 2012.

Also at the banquet, King and Claudia Ahrens of the Stuttgart Daily Leader will receive Golden Fifty Service Awards; Sonny Albarado of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette will receive a Freedom of Information Award; Katherine Shurlds of the University of Arkansas will receive a Journalism Educator Award; and Arkansas House Speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot, and Senate President Pro Tem Michael Lamoureux, R-Russellville, will receive Headliner of the Year Awards.