Author: Robyn Gentile

TPA Winter Convention set Feb. 22-23

Go to convention page

Plans have been made for the 2023 Tennessee Press Association Winter Convention to be held Feb. 22-23 in Nashville. The event will be held at the Holiday Inn and Suites located in Downtown Nashville at 415 4th Avenue South.

TPA will hold a reception on Wednesday to which all members of the General Assembly will be invited. Students from collegiate journalism programs will be invited to attend Thursday’s convention programming and the luncheon. A grant from the Tennessee Press Association Foundation will sponsor the student participation.

Contact Robyn Gentile, TPA member services manager, with questions at rgentile@tnpress.com.

Public Notice Journalism contest deadline is Jan. 13

Jan. 13 is deadline for TN Public Notice Journalism Contest

The Tennessee Public Notice Journalism Contest is administered by Tennessee Press Association and recognizes journalists that use public notice, or the lack of, to raise awareness of its importance.

The annual award is given to a TPA member newspaper journalist, or team of journalists, for utilizing public notices to generate stories of interest or importance to readers.

A prize of $200 will be awarded to the winning journalist or divided among a team of winning journalists.

The contest period is Jan. 1, 2022 through Dec. 31, 2022. Entries must be received by Friday, Jan. 13. Entry details are available at tnpress.com or by contacting Robyn Gentile, TPA member services manager, at rgentile@tnpress.com

http://tnpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Public_Notice_Contest2022.pdf

Vass returns to TPA Presidency

From past to present, TPA’s new president is Chris Vass, public editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. She was elected on Nov. 3 by the TPA Board of Directors to fill the remainder of the 2022-23 term that was vacated by Jack McNeely. McNeely resigned in September before announcing his departure from the Cleveland Daily Banner and Herald-Citizen, Cookeville. 

Vass previously served as TPA president in 2019-2020 and had continued on the board in the subsequent roles of immediate past president and most recently as secretary.

At the Nov. 3 meeting, Vass appointed Daniel Richardson to serve the remainder of the 2022-23 term as immediate past president. The position became vacant when Rick Thomason left his role with Six Rivers Media in October. Richardson served as TPA president for the 2020-2021 term.

Vass will also be tasked with making appointments to fill a director of district one seat (West Tennessee) to fill the vacancy created by Scott Critchlow’s departure from the Union City Daily Messenger. In December, Vass appointed Dave Gould of Main Street Media of Tennessee as secretary to fill the 2022-23 term that she herself vacated upon her election as president. Gould’s appointment means his director of district two seat (Middle Tennessee) is now vacant as well.

Members interested in serving on the Board of Directors should contact Chris Vass or TPA Executive Director Carol Daniels.

Ideas Contest Awards announced, Southern Standard takes Best of Show

The Tennessee Press Association (TPA) announced the 2022 Ideas Contest awards on Thursday, Oct. 20, during the virtual Revenue Summit for newspaper advertising and circulation staff members.

There were 487 entries from 23 newspapers in the 2022 contest, which has four circulation divisions and 41 categories. TPA partnered with the Hoosier State Press Association for the judging, which resulted in 240 awards.

The 2022 Ideas Contest Best of Show was awarded to the Southern Standard of McMinnville for its multi-color ad for “Patriot Day.”

The First Runner-up was awarded to the Kingsport Times News for its niche publication—a coffee table book “Celebrating 50 Years of Bays Mountain.” 

The Second-Runner-up was awarded to the Johnson City Press for its self-promotion ad “People love good news” a promotion for the newspaper’s app.

The newspaper with the most awards is The Greeneville Sun with 35 awards, followed by the Kingsport Times News with 21 and the farragutpress with 19.

List of 2022 winning entries

http://tnpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Ideas-Contest-Winners-2022-revised-Final.xls

Slideshow of 2022 winning entries

http://tnpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/IDEAS_2022_Powerpoint_FINAL.pdf

2022 State Press Contests Awards presented

Congratulations to all of the 2022 winners for your outstanding work!

Link to excel file with winners, captions, comments and credits

Sate Press Contests Awards Luncheon photos.  The awards were presented on August 26 in Nashville by Dr. Carrie Castille, Senior Vice Chancellor and Senior Vice President for the UT Institute of Agriculture. Photographs by Donn Jones, Donn Jones Photography.

2022 competitors by division. Want to know which newspapers your staff competed with? Check this report out.

TPA thanks the University of Tennessee System for the 82-year partnership on the Tennessee State Press Contests.

UT System, Tennessee Press Association Announce 2022 Newspaper Contest Winners
Awards Luncheon was held at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee

Newspaper publishers, editors, writers and designers won top awards today, Friday, August 26, 2022, in the Tennessee Press Association’s 2022 newspaper contest co-sponsored by the University of Tennessee System, which has been a part of the annual event since 1940.

The Tennessean (Nashville), Kingsport Times-News, The Nashville Ledger, The Standard Banner (Jefferson City) and Brownsville Press won the top general excellence awards in their respective divisions at the association’s ceremony, held in Nashville, Tennessee. Points were awarded for each entry, and general excellence honors were based on the newspaper’s total points in their division.

The Tennessean won 14 first-place awards. The Chattanooga Times Free Press and the Kingsport Times-News each received seven first-place awards. The Johnson City Press won six first-place awards.

As part of the annual contest, newspapers winning first-place awards in the categories of editorials, best single editorial, and public service will receive $250 prizes from UT’s Edward J. Meeman Foundation. The Tennessean and the Kingsport Times-News swept the awards for their divisions, winning in all three categories.

The Meeman Foundation was established in 1968 at UT to fund the contest, provide professional critiques of journalists’ work, and support journalism students and educators.

“Our long partnership with TPA reflects our shared commitment to education and accountability to all Tennesseans,” said Carrie L. Castille, UTIA senior vice chancellor and senior vice president, who presented the awards at the ceremony. “We’re grateful to be able to work with TPA to make that happen.”

“These annual press awards by the Tennessee Press Association show our commitment to the communities we serve,” said Jack McNeely, president of the Tennessee Press Association. “They also recognize the outstanding work and dedication of our newsroom staffs across the Volunteer State.”

“These awards recognize exceptional work in all three divisions of the state and at news organizations of all sizes,” said Alison Gerber, chair of the TPA Contests Committee. “Tennesseans are fortunate to have had working journalists covering their communities.  Congratulations to the winners.”

Reciprocal judging is done with another state’s association. This year, the Hoosier State Press Association of Indiana judged 1,130 entries from 67 of the Tennessee Press Association’s 133 member newspapers.

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TPS Officers and Directors elected

Stockholders of Tennessee Press Service elected directors on June 8 during the Annual Stockholders Meeting, which was held electronically via the Zoom meeting platform.  

Elected to three-years terms were Rick Thomason, publisher of the Kingsport Times-News and Victor Parkins, publisher of The Mirror-Exchange, Milan. 

Continuing as TPS directors are Mike Fishman, publisher of the Citizen Tribune, Morristown, and W.R.(Ron) Fryar, Cannon Courier, Woodbury; Dave Gould, Main Street Media of Tennessee, Gallatin; and Michael Williams, The Paris Post-Intelligencer.

At the June 14 TPS Board of Directors Meeting, Dave Gould was re-elected president for a one-year term and Michael Williams was elected vice president for a one-year term.

TPS is the business affiliate of the Tennessee Press Association and every TPA member newspaper in good standing is a TPS stockholder. This publication will cover more about TPS activities in the next few editions as part of the TPS 75th anniversary celebration.

TN Newspaper Hall of Fame selects two, calls for new nominations by Aug. 31

The Tennessee Newspaper Hall of Fame has selected two individuals posthumously for induction. They are the late Sam D. Kennedy, who owned several Tennessee newspapers, and the late William C. (Bill) Simonton, Jr., who was managing editor of The Covington Leader. Both were former TPA presidents.

These honorees were selected from among the nominations received in 2020. An induction ceremony will be planned for 2023.

The Hall of Fame is calling for 2022 nominations. The deadline is August 31. If any are selected from the 2022 nominations, they will be inducted as part of the 2023 ceremony.

Nomination criteria:

All honorees (1) must have made an outstanding contribution to Tennessee Newspaper journalism or, through Tennessee journalism, to newspaper journalism generally or (2) must have made an extraordinary contribution to their communities and region, or the state, through newspaper journalism.

The historical integrity of the program requires all nominees be deceased two years, before being considered for selection. 

If you would like to submit a nomination, please visit www.tnpress.com/hall-of-fame/ for more information or contact Robyn Gentile, TPA member services manager for more information at rgentile@tnpress.com.

McNeely is new TPA president

Jack McNeely, publisher of the Herald-Citizen, Cookeville, and the Cleveland Daily Banner, is the new president of the Tennessee Press Association (TPA).

“I am honored to serve as the next president of the Tennessee Press Association,” McNeely said. “I cannot think of a time in our 150-plus years when our mission of helping publishers of news and information achieve greater success has been more important. I look forward to working with my peers in a collective effort to turn challenges into opportunities.” 

TPA is the trade association of the state’s daily and non-daily newspapers. It is composed of 17 daily newspapers and 116 non-daily newspapers.

McNeely succeeds Rick Thomason, publisher of the Kingsport Times-News and Johnson City Press, and president of Six Rivers Media, LLC.

Other officers elected at TPA’s Business Session during the Concurrent Board of Directors Meeting and Business Session on June 23 are Daniel Williams, general manager of The Paris Post-Intelligencer, elected first vice president; Darrell Richardson, advertising director of The Daily Times, Alcoa, elected second vice president, Chris Sherrill Vass, public editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, re-elected secretary; and Eric Barnes, publisher of The Daily News, Memphis, re-elected treasurer. 

Directors elected for two-year terms representing District Two are: David Plazas, editor of opinion and engagement of The Tennessean, Nashville; Dave Gould, owner of Main Street Media of Tennessee, Gallatin; and Keith Ponder, publisher of The Tullahoma News.

Rick Thomason will continue on the board for one year as immediate past president. Also continuing on the Board as directors are Calvin Anderson, publisher of The New Tri-State Defender, Memphis; E. Scott Critchlow, co-publisher of the Union City Daily Messenger; Sandy Dodson, publisher of The Bledsonian-Banner, Pikeville; Dale Gentry, publisher of The Standard Banner, Jefferson City; Paul Mauney, publisher of The Greeneville Sun; and Victor Parkins, publisher of The Mirror-Exchange, Milan.

The TPA Board of Directors elected trustees to serve on the Tennessee Press Association Foundation (TPAF) Board of Trustees for three-year terms. Daniel Richardson, Carroll County News Leader, Huntingdon, was elected and Janet Rail, The Independent Appeal, Selmer, was re-elected.

TPAF elections

TPAF officers elected at the June 16 TPAF Board of Trustees meeting are Victor Parkins, publisher of The Mirror-Exchange, Milan, re-elected president, and R. Michael Fishman, publisher of the Citizen Tribune, Morristown, re-elected vice president.

About Jack McNeely

Jack McNeely joined the board of the Tennessee Press Association in 2016 as a director. 

McNeely, 55, is a native of West Virginia. He began his newspaper career in 1986 as a sportswriter and photographer for his hometown weekly newspaper, the Coal Valley News, in Madison, West Virginia. In 1990 he accepted the sports editor position at a sister daily newspaper, the Logan Banner, in Logan, West Virginia. During the 1990s at the Banner, he worked his way up from sports editor to news editor and finally to general manager.

A U.S. Army veteran, McNeely served 14 years in the West Virginia Army National Guard (1985-99). He graduated second from his multi-services Print Journalism (71Q) course at the Defense Information School in 1986. While in Logan, his public affairs detachment was called up for an 11-month active-duty peacekeeping tour during Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1998). As a staff sergeant, he was team leader of a mobile public affairs detachment, and earned multiple U.S. Army and NATO awards for his service.

Upon his return to Logan, he was notified that newly formed Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc., had purchased the Banner and other titles from Smith Newspapers. Not long after, CNHI offered McNeely his first publisher’s role, with oversight of the Morehead (Ky.) News Group, which consisted of the twice-weekly Morehead News and weekly Grayson Journal Enquirer, Olive Hill Times, and Greenup County News.

While with CNHI, he was also publisher of the Americus (Ga.) Times-Recorder (2003-04) and Commonwealth Journal in Somerset, Kentucky (2004-12).

In 2012, McNeely joined Walls Newspapers as publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle in Jasper, Ala. (2012-16). He was also publisher of the Herald-Citizen in Cookeville, Tennessee (2016-21), before being named group publisher of the Cleveland (Tenn.) Daily Banner, the Herald-Citizen, the Daily Tribune News in Cartersville, Georgia, and the weekly Chatsworth (Ga.) Times. The Daily Mountain Eagle was recently added to his oversight.

While McNeely attributes much of his success to his military training, he also has a communications degree from Bluefield State College.

His community service includes being a Rotary Club member since 1995, a Paul Harris Fellow and a past president of the Somerset Rotary Club. He also served as vice president of the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce.

He is a former president of the Alabama Press Foundation.

McNeely resides in Cleveland with his wife of 34 years, Nora. They have two grown daughters.

About TPA

The TPA was founded in 1870-71 for the purpose of creating a unified voice for the newspaper industry in Tennessee. Today, TPA continues to provide assistance to its 133 member newspapers by monitoring legislative activities, providing training programs, issuing press credentials, and providing regular meetings and forums to foster the exchange of information and ideas.

The TPA presidency rotates among TPA’s three divisions of Tennessee – East (District 3), Middle (District 2) and West (District 1).

Public Notice Week is Jan. 23-29, 2022

This year marks TPA’s 12th annual celebration of Public Notice Week. The following column by Rick Thomason, TPA President, is for any TPA member to publish during Public Notice Week.   We encourage you to write your own columns and editorials emphasizing the importance of public notice in keeping citizens informed.

Ads promoting the importance of Public Notice

By Rick Thomason. Photo of Rick Thomason
President, Tennessee Press Association
For TPA’s Public Notice Week, Jan. 23-29, 2022

This country, as well as the State of Tennessee, enjoy a long history of open government. Our Founding Fathers insisted that laws, resolutions and other such actions by the U.S. Congress be published in newspapers as public notices.

When Tennessee became a state, its first constitution also appropriately included such provisions.

More than 230 years ago legislators recognized the importance of citizens knowing how their new government was working for them. Our governments – at all levels – continue to evolve, and it is as important in 2022 as it was in 1789 that citizens remain notified of the critical maneuverings of those elected to make decisions on their behalf.

Our republic has always been grounded in the principles of democracy where citizens have the opportunity – and dare I say, obligation? – to keep an eye on government functions that impact them every day. And there has been no greater nor more important avenue for that scrutiny than public notices published in this nation’s newspapers, which provide a searchable history of notices.

But not every legislator sees the good in published public notices. In fact, over the last couple of decades some lawmakers have fought to take public notices from newspapers and move them to government-run websites. The reasons are suspect at best and the arguments are fraught with holes.

Some lawmakers argue that public notices placed only online will broaden the reach of public notices. On the surface it sounds like those individuals are looking out for the best interest of their constituents, right? Not so fast. The truth is that millions who now can see public notices in newspapers will no longer see them because they do not have, nor do they want, internet access. This is particularly true among the elderly who are largely avid newspaper readers and those who live in rural areas.

Plus, in 2013 it was made law in Tennessee that newspapers develop a statewide site to which all published public notices would be uploaded. The Tennessee Press Association created that website that is available to all citizens. So not only do newspapers in Tennessee already publish public notices in print and on their own websites, but those public notices are also posted on a statewide site, too. And again, that is by law. 

Imagine if every town, city and county had to put that technology and the manpower behind it in place.

Lawmakers will point to ‘cost savings’ if all public notices are moved online to government-run websites. Again, it sounds good in theory, but the reality is that state and local governments aren’t equipped to properly post and distribute public notices online.  

Building websites with the appropriate capabilities isn’t easy nor is it inexpensive. Maintaining them is even more expensive and, frankly, in this day and age few towns, cities and counties have the financial wherewithal to add more layers of needless work.

Under the guise of ‘broader distribution of public notices’ (when they actually want them less visible), some lawmakers will say that newspapers are no longer an effective way to distribute these important messages. Again, nice try. But again, it is an argument full of holes and misinformation.

While newspaper print distribution has shown a decline over the last couple of decades, mostly in urban areas, newspaper audiences are larger than they have ever been because of digital access. Exactly where these lawmakers say they want public notices – online. But the difference is that the online audience for newspapers is not only consistent, but it’s growing and growing consistently.

And guess where newspapers place their public notices? Yep. Online. A 2013 law mandated that we do that at no extra charge.

But wait! There’s more! (No, this isn’t an informercial.) The Tennessee Press Association already collects and aggregates public notices on one public website that was just recently updated to make it easier than ever to use. So, in this state our public notices get twice the online exposure already.

Let’s not make the public go on a hunting expedition for public notices. Newspapers already publish and distribute them even more effectively than our Founding Fathers could have imagined in their wildest dreams.

This is Public Notice Week in Tennessee. Public notices are an equal third of the triangle that make up the ideological foundation of our collaborative government. The other thirds are open meetings and access to public records. Support us in our efforts to keep public notices visible and cost effective. The old adage ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ certainly applies here.

Rick Thomason is the 2021-22 president of the Tennessee Press Association and publisher of the Kingsport Times News and Johnson City Press.