For the 11th time since the inception of the general excellence, or sweepstakes award as it was originally known, the Southern Standard has claimed the top award in the 15,000 to 50,000 combined weekly circulation division of the Tennessee Press Association newspaper contest.
Publisher Patricia Zechman attended the Thursday night awards banquet in Knoxville, bringing home 16 respective awards on behalf of the Standard, including four first-place awards in the categories of best website, best sports writing, best headline writing and best news photograph.
Newspaper writers, editors, designers and publishers claimed awards in the 2015 contest, co-sponsored by the University of Tennessee. The event was held in conjunction with the press association’s summer convention. This year also marked the 75th anniversary of the contest, which began in 1940. The local newspaper has been a consistent winner during that timeframe.
“Seventy-five years is an impressive milestone in UT’s partnership with the Tennessee Press Association,” said UT System President Joe DiPietro. “Our partnership is successful because of our mutual commitment to providing information that makes a difference in the lives of Tennesseans every day, and I look forward to growing that partnership in the future.”
Along with the Southern Standard, The Chattanooga Times Free Press, the Jackson Sun, the Wilson Post (Lebanon), Independent Herald (Oneida) and the Portland Leader won the top general excellence awards in their respective circulation divisions at the association’s ceremony. General excellence honors are based on total points accumulated for awards in five circulation categories. Some categories allow for more than one entry, thus multiple awards in some divisions.
The partnership between UT and TPA began in 1940 with the annual press contests, a joint venture to recognize the best efforts of newspapers across Tennessee.
The Alabama Press Association judged a total of 1,407 entries from 69 of the association’s 121 member newspapers.
Concerning the awards, Zechman said, “Recognition by other news professionals of the Standard staff’s day-to-day efforts to bring news and information to our readers is gratifying and most appreciated; however, it’s the responsibility of documenting the happenings in this community, and relating the life stories which a readership entrusts in its community newspaper, that keeps our staff focused and willing to work toward a common goal of objectivity and information. From the front desk to the mailroom and all departments in between, Standard employees honor the trust our readers place in this newspaper’s ability to share their stories and provide them with day-to-day news.”
Along with the first-place awards the Standard earned awards in the following categories:
Second place – best education reporting, best business coverage, best sports coverage, local features, best personal humor column, best single editorial.
Third place – best editorials, best single editorial.
Fifth place – best sports photo, public service, investigative reporting and best news reporting.