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Record takes 2 awards in TPA contest

From Staff Reports

Tennessee newspaper excellence was recognized with awards in the 2021 University of Tennessee (UT)-Tennessee Press Association (TPA) State Press Contests presented at a luncheon on Friday, Aug. 27, at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs Hotel in Nashville. Sixty-nine TPA member newspapers, including The Erwin Record, won at least one award in the contests.

The Erwin Record brought home two recognitions from TPA. 

UT has co-sponsored the State Press Contests since 1940 by providing the plaques, certificates and coordination of the awards presentation. A UT official will present the awards. Event details and registration information are available at

Members of the New Jersey Press Association judged the State Press Contests this year. TPA members judged the New Jersey Press contest as part of the associations’ reciprocal agreement.  There were 79 newspapers that entered the contests with 1,208 total entries.

The Erwin Record took a second-place award in the category “Community Service” for the newspaper’s editorial coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic edited by former Managing Editor Keeli Parker and written by staff writer Richard Rourk. 

The newspaper also received a third-place award for “Best Breaking News” for an article with the headline “38 Scott’s Farms employees test positive” written by staff writer Richard Rourk.

In judge’s commentary, the following was conveyed about the article. “This category had heavy competition.  Readers of these stories were well served by their newspapers and their reporters. Generally the subject matter was of significant importance to the community. All the entrants should be proud of their work.”

In another comment from the judges, the article was praised for its local approach. “At a time when COVID has dominated the nation and news coverage, The Erwin Record explored the local impact of the pandemic. Besides presenting the facts of the story, the reporter interviewed the owner of the business and detailed the impact on the business. This was good reporting and writing on a local angle to a national story.”

Publisher Lisa Whaley noted that “Breaking News” and “Community Service” are two important categories.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these two wins,” Whaley said.