KNOXVILLE — Award-winning political journalist Paula Wade, Tennessee Capitol Bureau reporter for the Commercial-Appeal of Memphis, will be the Edward J. Meeman Lecturer at the University of Tennessee November 11-15.
As part of the lecture series, Wade will speak to members of the East Tennessee Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12 at Chesapeake’s Restaurant in Knoxville. The event is open to the public.
A 1983 UT journalism graduate, Wade covers politics, state government and public policy, with an
emphasis on TennCare, health policy and taxation issues. She also writes a regular opinion column on state issues.
The Meeman lectures, supported by the Edward J. Meeman Foundation, are named for the former editor of the Knoxville News-Sentinel and the Memphis Press-Scimitar.
Wade, who will also speak to UT journalism and public relations classes and advise students about journalism careers, described the recent state budget crisis as “the best political drama a writer could ask for.
“Covering the complexities of making and implementing public policy and the sometimes wacky personalities of our public officials is about as much fun as you can have in this business,” Wade said. “This is the best job in Tennessee journalism, period.”
Wade began covering government as a UT student reporter and political columnist with The Daily Beacon. She had an internship with the Nashville Banner in 1982 and worked as the Shelby County government reporter for the Memphis Press-Scimitar after graduation.
She joined the Commercial-Appeal in 1983 as a business reporter, covering the opening of the Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tenn. In 1987 she became a general assignment reporter before switching to state politics in Nashville.
Wade has won awards from the Tennessee Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, Tennessee Alliance for the Mentally Ill, the Association of Retarded Citizens, the Tennessee State Employees Association and the Tennessee Medical Association.
“Her understanding of the complex health-care issues will be especially relevant to students in our science and medical writing area,” Paul Ashdown, interim director of the School of Journalism and Public Relations, said. “She’s in a singular position to explain the politics of the tax reform controversy.
“She’ll be able to give students a timely assessment of the gubernatorial and senate races and insight into how advocacy groups help inform and shape public discussion.”