Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

‘Record’ takes 9 TPA awards, including first place for best editorial

From Staff Reports

The Erwin Record brought home nine awards, including first place for “Best Single Editorial,” during the annual Tennessee Press Association’s 2022 newspaper contest co-sponsored by the University of Tennessee System. 

In total, The Erwin Record claimed one first-place award, three second-place awards, three third-place awards and two fifth-place awards, which were announced Friday, Aug. 26, at an awards luncheon at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville.

Bryan Stevens, managing editor for The Erwin Record, won first place in “Best Single Editorial” for an editorial titled “What Happens When No One’s Listening?”

“Clever hook that kept me interested,” commented a judge for the category. “Timely for the time it was written.”

As part of the annual contest, newspapers winning first-place awards in the categories of  best single editorial, editorials and public service received $250 prizes from UT’s Edward J. Meeman Foundation. The Meeman Foundation was established in 1968 at UT to fund the contest, provide professional critiques of journalists’ work, and support journalism students and educators.

Stevens won another Meeman Award in 2003, also for “Best Single Editorial,” while working as the executive editor of the Jonesborough Herald & Tribune.

Nashville’s The Tennessean and the Kingsport Times-News swept the awards for their divisions, winning in all three Meeman categories.

“The content team at The Record continues to perform well above its weight class and these awards recognize that stellar effort,” said Rick Thomason, president of Six Rivers Media.

“I’m particularly proud of Bryan’s first place for a Single Editorial,” Thomason added. “He clearly touched on a nerve with the judges and in the community where it matters most. I applaud the entire team’s continued dedication to their craft and to serving their community.”

The Erwin Record received third place in the category “Editorials,” which featured editorials and opinion columns written by Stevens, guest columnist Michael Briggs and columnists Ray Knapp and Frances Lamberts.

The Erwin Record won second place in “Best Business Coverage” for articles by former staff writer Richard Rourk on Unicoi’s Jones & Church Farms, Impact Plastics and Ginseng Mobile Bar, among others. Stevens also wrote an article titled “The Lights are Back On” about a new owner for Erwin’s Capitol Cinema, entered in this category.

“Another newspaper focusing extensively on local business coverage,” wrote a judge in the category. “Nice headline writing and photography.”

The late Ralph Hood, a long-time columnist for The Erwin Record, received posthumous recognition in “Best Personal Humor Column.” Hood received second place for a column titled “The Pink Bomb.”

Rourk and Stevens, as well as sports writer Trey Williams, helped The Erwin Record received a second-place award for “Best Sports Coverage.” They also helped the newspaper secure a third-place award in “Best Sports Writing.”

An article about father and son Jack and Alf Peoples being nominated into the Clinchfield Railroad Hall of Fame won third place for “Best Single Feature.” Stevens, who wrote the story, received this comment from a judge: “This story painted a portrait of this railroad family that was very touching. Good job.” 

The Erwin Record won fifth place in “Best Special Section” for “Summer in the Valley.” A judge praised the newspaper for its “good use of photos and lots of action photos.” Recognized for their contribution to this effort were Stevens, Rourk, Publisher Lisa Whaley, Advertising Director Marcella Brooks and former office manager Kathy Carmichael.

Editorial cartoonist Charles Holt received a fifth place award in “Best Graphics and/or Illustration” for an editorial cartoon titled “The Volunteer State.”

Newspaper publishers, editors, writers and designers were recognized for their work during the annual ceremony.  The Tennessean (Nashville), Kingsport Times-News, The Nashville Ledger, The Standard Banner (Jefferson City) and Brownsville Press won the top general excellence awards in their respective divisions. Points were awarded for each entry, and general excellence honors were based on the newspaper’s total points in their division.

The Tennessean won 14 first-place awards. The Chattanooga Times Free Press and the Kingsport Times-News each received seven first-place awards. The Johnson City Press won six first-place awards.

“Our long partnership with TPA reflects our shared commitment to education and accountability to all Tennesseans,” said Carrie L. Castille, UTIA senior vice chancellor and senior vice president, who presented the awards at the ceremony. “We’re grateful to be able to work with TPA to make that happen.”

Reciprocal judging is done with another state’s association. This year, the Hoosier State Press Association of Indiana judged 1,130 entries from 67 of the Tennessee Press Association’s 133 member newspapers.

Six Rivers Media newspapers (The Erwin Record, Jonesborough Herald & Tribune, Kingsport Times-News and Johnson City Press) earned a total of 61 TPA awards. The Joneborough Herald & Tribune received 11 awards, including a first-place award for “Best Single Feature.”