The Democrat won first place for community lifestyles by editor Jared Felkins and writers Xavier Smith and Bonnie Bucy. It won second for best special issue or section for East of the City magazine, and Felkins also came in second in best personal column and fourth in best personal humor column. The Democrat won third for best sports photograph by George Page and fifth in the same category for a photograph by Mary Felkins. The newspaper finished fourth in make-up and appearance by news editor Sinclaire Sparkman. It garnered fifth in best sports writing by sports editor Andy Reed and Xavier Smith. The Democrat also won fifth in local features by writers Jacob Smith, Angie Mayes, Xavier Smith and Kaitlyn Vantrease and headline writing by Sparkman.
“I believe this was a strong showing at TPA and further highlights the hard work and dedication of all of our great staff,” said Felkins. “We will continue to build upon this success, but keep in mind that our emphasis is not awards. It’s always the community we serve.”
The Tennessean, Bristol Herald Courier, the Nashville Ledger, the Standard Banner, and the Independent Herald in Oneida won the top general excellence awards in their respective divisions at the association’s dinner ceremony Thursday in Franklin. General excellence honors are based on total points accumulated for awards in five circulation categories.
The West Virginia Press Association judged a total of 1,424 entries from 73 of the association’s 124 member newspapers.
The University of Tennessee has cosponsored the annual contest since 1940.