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Newspaper writers, editors, designers, and publishers won top awards Thursday, July 16, in the Tennessee Press Association’s 2015 newspaper contest, co-sponsored by UT. The event was held in conjunction with the press association’s summer convention, held this year in Knoxville.

This year also marked the 75th anniversary of the contest, which began in 1940.

“Seventy-five years is an impressive milestone in UT’s partnership with the Tennessee Press Association, and one I’m proud to celebrate,” said UT System President Joe DiPietro. “Our partnership is successful because of our mutual commitment to accountability—the university in fulfilling its mission for the benefit of all Tennesseans every day, and the Tennessee press in letting the public know how UT is performing in that regard. I’m grateful that UT is able to work with TPA and I look forward to growing our partnership in the future.”

The Chattanooga Times Free Press, the Jackson Sun, Southern Standard (McMinnville), the Wilson Post (Lebanon), Independent Herald (Oneida), and the Portland Leader won the top general excellence awards at the association’s ceremony. General excellence honors are based on total points accumulated for awards in five circulation categories.

This marks the sixth year in a row the Jackson Sun has won the general excellence award and the second year in a row that the Chattanooga Times Free Press has won the general excellence award in its category. Independent Herald and the Portland Leader shared the general excellence award in their circulation category.

Other awards highlights:

  • The Commercial Appeal (Memphis) won nine first-place awards and the News Sentinel (Knoxville) won eight first-place awards in the category of newspapers with a combined weekly circulation of more than 200,000.
  • Jackson Sun received nine first-place awards in the category of newspapers with a combined weekly circulation between 50,001 and 200,000.
  • Independent Herald captured seven first-place awards in the category of newspapers with a combined weekly circulation of 5,000 or less.

The university’s Edward J. Meeman Foundation honored newspapers for their accomplishments in editorial writing and public service journalism with $250 awards in the categories of editorials, best single editorial, and public service.

Newspapers receiving Meeman awards:

  • Independent Herald, the Rogersville Review, the Lebanon Democrat, the Leaf-Chronicle (Clarksville), and News Sentinel, editorials
  • Carthage Courier, the Wilson Post, the Mountain Press (Sevierville), Cleveland Daily Banner, and News Sentinel, best single editorial
  • Grainger Today (Bean Station), the Wilson Post, Shelbyville Times-Gazette, the Jackson Sun, and the Tennessean (Nashville), public service

The foundation was established in 1968 at UT to fund the contests, provide professional critiques of journalists’ work, and support journalism students and faculty.

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.

In 1966, UT and TPA established the Tennessee Newspaper Hall of Fame, hosted in the university’s Communications Building. This year, the redesigned hall of fame opens at UT, with an Associated Press news ticker and touchscreen technology that features the honorees.

The Alabama Press Association judged a total of 1,407 entries from sixty-nine of the association’s 121 member newspapers.


Charles Primm (865-974-5180,

Robyn Gentile (865-584-5761,