Veteran reporter calling it quits | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Veteran reporter calling it quits

Posted By on Wed, Oct 5, 2011 at 9:38 AM

When I went to work at the Arkansas Gazette in 1973, one of many welcoming staff members was a hip, sassy state desk reporter named Ginger Shiras, who turned heads all over Arkansas shortly after I arrived with a spicy profile of Jim Dandy and the then-hot Black Oak Arkansas. She also became the lead plaintiff in a groundbreaking FOI case, dogged environmental issues and generally set a high standard for others.

Time marches on. Ginger is retiring after 31 years at the Harrison Daily Times. Since the following story about the event is in her honor, I'm presuming the newspaper will generously allow a reprint.

Ginger Shiras is retiring Friday, October 7, after 31 years with the Harrison Daily Times.

The Harrison Daily Times and Neighbor Newspapers is hosting a retirement reception in her honor from 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, in the First Federal Room in the Durand Center on North Arkansas College’s Center Campus.
Residents from across the five counties in the Heart of the Ozarks are invited to have refreshments and wish her well on her retirement.

In 1980, Ginger and Times Publisher J. E. Dunlap Jr. struck a deal that allowed her to live around Berryville, where she had family, and Eureka Springs, where she found herself spending most of her spare time.

She built a small house heated by wood and passive solar input between the two towns and went to work as the Times’ first Carroll County Bureau.

She has since won state awards in 1986 for her coverage of the failure of Guaranty Savings and Loan at Harrison and in 2010 for her coverage of the fall of Berryville lawyer Cindy Baker from nearly being elected prosecutor to a methamphetamine-related conviction.

After graduating from the University of Arkansas in 1968, Shiras spent 12 years at the Arkansas Gazette at Little Rock and continued freelance writing from Carroll County for the Gazette and the Bureau of National Affairs, a Washington based group of legal publications.

She and the Gazette won a state Freedom of Information award in 1975. They had sued the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, and the state Supreme Court decision in that case opened all committee meetings of public bodies to the public.

Also while she was at the Gazette, she won a national award for technical reporting for a series of articles on bromine industry workers in south Arkansas who became sterile after being exposed to the pesticide dibromochloropropane.
Born at Mountain Home, she grew up working on the Baxter Bulletin, which was owned by her family from 1904 to 1970.

Shiras said her only plans after retirement were to “write cranky letters to the editor” after years on a job that required to keep her opinions to herself.

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