The Southern Standard brought home three first-place awards at the annual Tennessee Press Association banquet held Friday in Nashville.
Lisa Hobbs won first place for best news reporting for a series of articles about corruption at the Upper Cumberland Development District. UCDD is a regional, taxpayer-funded organization that includes Warren County.
The corruption scandal eventually led to the resignation of executive director Wendy Askins.
James Clark won first place for a column entitled “We voted, but did they listen?” The column pertained to a McMinnville referendum in which voters rejected spending up to $6 million in taxpayer dollars to restore the Blue Building.
Despite the referendum results, city officials decided to move forward with Blue Building plans anyway and just recently spent $9,500 on another Blue Building study.
Clark also won first place for best editorial in the state. It was entitled, “Investigating yourself one way to minimize damage.”
The editorial pertained to the Upper Cumberland Development District scandal. UCDD board members decided to appoint themselves to a special committee to investigate Askins, which was their job as board members in the first place. The move came at a time when many residents wondered if the board was part of the corruption scandal with Askins.
In addition to three top awards, the Standard claimed second place in two categories – website and humor column.
The Standard’s website was praised for its user-friendly features and the wealth of information contained on the site.
The humor column was written by Duane Sherrill and entitled, “How bad do you want it?” It was about the great lengths people will go to win fan contests at a Chattanooga Lookouts baseball game.
The Standard won third place in graphics and illustrations for entries submitted by Seth Wright.