Tia Lyons, city reporter for the El Dorado News-Times, was honored Tuesday as the 2017 Walter E. Hussman Employee of the Year for WEHCO Media’s Palmer Newspapers Division.
Lyons has worked for the News-Times since 1999. She was named the News-Times Employee of the Quarter for the fourth quarter of 2017 and the News-Times Employee of the Year for 2017, which put her in the running for the division-wide honor.
The Palmer Division includes six companies: El Dorado News-Times; Texarkana Gazette, Texarkana; Sentinel Record, Hot Springs; Camden News, Camden; Magnolia Banner News, Magnolia; and Central Missouri Newspapers (News Tribune, Jefferson City, Missouri; Fulton Sun, Fulton, Missouri; California Democrat, California, Missouri; and The Lake Today, Lake Ozark, Missouri).
“We are thrilled to honor Tia Lyons as our 2017 Walter E. Hussman Employee of the Year for the Palmer Newspapers,” said Mark Lane, president of WEHCO newspapers. “Tia has served the El Dorado News-Times and our readers with excellence since 1999.”
In her nomination for the division-wide award, Managing Editor Madeleine Leroux wrote on behalf of the newsroom staff that “Tia consistently turns stories containing quality journalism and information readers want and need. And that example helps set a tone for the younger, newer reporters on staff, who look to Tia as a role model and mentor.”
The nomination also cited Lyons’ willingness to lend a hand and her contributions to making the newsroom a more pleasant place to work, noting “it’s not uncommon to see a flow of bubbles arise from Tia’s cubicle as she seeks to provide a moment of whimsy for stressed reporters as she combs through emails and voicemails and prepares her daily story.”
When asked how it feels to win, Lyons said she was still processing the award, which was presented to her Tuesday morning by WEHCO officials.
“I think the thing that really strikes me the most is that my (News-Times) co-workers — and former co-workers — thought enough of me to set the wheels in motion by selecting me as (Employee of the Quarter) and 2017 (Employee of the Year),” Lyons said. “Considering all the changes we’ve had to adapt and adjust to over the past three years, and with everyone working so hard, that they would consider me worthy of such an honor means a lot. We all deserve an award.”
Lyons, who came to the News-Times with no previous journalism experience, said she joined the newspaper waiting for someone to “realize that I had no clue what I was doing.”
“I guess I did something right because it’s nearly 19 years later, and I’m still here,” Lyons said.