From Staff Reports
The Erwin Record won four awards at this year’s Tennessee Press Association State Contest. The winners were announced on July 18 during the 2019 TPA Convention in Chattanooga.
The Erwin weekly earned recognition in the categories of Breaking News (second place), Sports Coverage (third place), Local Features (fourth place) and Make-Up and Appearance (fifth place).
“I am very proud of our paper and its staff,” said Publisher Lisa Whaley. “They have shown once again that they are committed to capturing the news of Unicoi County with skill and determination.”
Co-sponsored since 1940 with the University of Tennessee, the TPA contest divides the competition into five separate categories according to circulation. The Erwin Record falls into Group I, newspapers with a circulation of 5,000 or less.
Judging is done by another state’s association. This year, the Texas Press Association judged the 1,406 entries submitted by 72 of the Tennessee Press Association’s 129 member newspapers.
Former staff reporter Kendal Groner, who still occasionally freelances for The Erwin Record, earned the paper a second-place win in Breaking News for her article titled “Bullen raises questions about open records policy.” This February 21, 2018, piece detailed Town of Unicoi Alderwoman Kathy Bullen’s criticism of the town’s open records policy at that time.
The paper also secured a third-place finish for Best Sports Coverage. Judges said in their comments: “Impressive total package – art, writing, coverage, and layout.” In Local Features, The Erwin Record came in fourth in the Group I newspaper group.
Finally, in Make Up and Appearance, the Erwin Record brought in a fifth-place finish and strong praise from the judges.
“The Erwin Record’s colorful layout featuring beautiful photos and well-managed typography deserves more recognition than a fifth-place finish, but ended up competing against a field of other well-compositioned papers,” the judges wrote.
Whaley had special praise for The Erwin Record’s managing editor, Keeli Parkey.
“The Erwin Record’s easy design, attention to detail and its ability to find so many ‘slice of life’ photographs to capture the region are all thanks to Keeli’s journalistic expertise,” Whaley said. “We are lucky to have her, as well as each and every other employee dedicated to bringing Unicoi County the best newspaper coverage to be found.”