LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The news teams from FOX 16 and KARK 4 were honored Thursday with a pair of regional Edward R. Murrow awards for their work covering a live-saving coach and an Arkansas cold case.

KARK 4 News anchor Caitrin Assaf was honored in the Excellence in Writing category for her entry “Courage, Compassion and ‘Cash’ that included stories about UA Little Rock wrestling coach Neil Erisman saving the life of a choking child and the struggle of a small town dealing with a leaking water tower that featured a silhouette of native son and country icon Johnny Cash.

In the podcast County Road 41, former FOX 16 News and KARK 4 News investigator Mitch McCoy dove into the disappearance of Sydney Sutherland, the frantic search for her, the tragic revelation of her fate and the questions still surrounding the killing, even as a man who helped look for her sits in prison.

The two regional honors made FOX 16 and KARK 4 the most awarded news operation in Arkansas. News director Ernie Paulson called the honors “a great accomplishment.”

“It is always such an honor to win an Edward R. Murrow Award,” Paulson said. “I am very proud of our team for winning two this year. That is a great accomplishment.”

The two regional nods this year continue a legacy for FOX 16 and KARK 4 in the competition. Last year the stations were honored in four categories, with FOX 16 taking home the national honor for Hard News. Since 2000, the stations have won a combined 28 regional Murrow awards and two national awards.

“We’re thrilled to continue our news legacy and have our journalists recognized as best in class, with a premium on storytelling, creativity, and adoption of new platforms leading the way,” FOX 16 and KARK 4 general manager Kyle King said.

The Edward R. Murrow Awards are given each year by the Radio Television Digital News Association as a way to showcase the best in broadcast and digital journalism. FOX 16 and KARK 4 were competing against other news operations in Region 9, which includes Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The winners of regional honors will advance to the National Murrow Award competition, the winners of which will be revealed in August.

To learn more about the Radio Television Digital News Association and its work, head to