Friday, July 18, 2008

Tenn. weekly beats dailies in overlapping category

UPDATE, Sept. 10, 2010: The Standard won the category again in 2009, but in 2010 the prize went to the Shelbyville Times-Gazette, a daily edited since August 2009 by Kent Flanagan, former Tennessee bureau chief for The Associated Press.

Most newspaper contests have separate categories for dailies and weeklies, but the Tennessee Press Association abolished those categories last year in favor of total weekly circulation. The middle category, where large weeklies and small dailies competed against each other, was won by a weekly -- the Southern Standard of McMinnville, a thrice-weekly with a circulation of 9,900. The awards were handed out today in Nashville. (By industry convention, "weekly" means a newspaper published less than four times a week.)

Among the Standard's awards in the 15,000-to-50,000-circulation category were first prize for news reporting. It also won an award for public service, for holding a candidate forum in a special state Senate election, reviving the Warren County spelling bee after more than 20 years and running a series of historical articles to mark the county's 200th birthday. The paper, owned by Morris Newspaper Corp. of Tennessee, has won the cumulative points-based award for general excellence in its category seven times out of 20 since the award was established in 1999.

The general-excellence winners in other circulation categories were The Erwin Record, 5,000 or less, for the sixth straight year; the Memphis Business Journal, 5,001-15,000; The Leaf-Chronicle of Clarksville, 50,001-200,000; and The Tennessean of Nashville. The contest was judged by members of the Nebraska Press Association.

The Newport Plain Talk, a daily, won first prize for public service in the medium-sized category, for promoting a local Relay for Life. The small-category winner was the Humboldt Chronicle, for successful advocacy of a local higher-education center. Between those two categories, the public-service winner was The Standard Banner of Jefferson City, for its coverage of political dithering over a counstruction plan for the Jefferson County schools.

The weekly Mount Juliet News and The Wilson Post, both in Wilson County, won in the small and medium categories for investigative reporting, respectively doing series on school bullying and an increase in dog bites. The Post also won for best single editorial in the medium category, declaring that it was no longer going to cover a spat between the Lebanon mayor and a council member. The Milan Mirror-Exchange won in the small category for an editorial blasting the local childrens'-services office for mishandling a case and endangering a child's life. The editorial was written by Publisher Bob Parkins, who died several weeks later. His son, Victor Parkins, is TPA president.

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