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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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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.

House ads available

64 TPA members participated in the “We Are There With You” common theme page campaign
New theme-based house ads created for member use

We thank TPA President Chris Vass and Matt McClane, presentation editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, for designing the “We Are There With You” common page that was used the week of March 29. Mr. McClane designed the creative. At least sixty-four TPA members used the graphics and the material was also offered to newspapers in 11 other states.

House ads available
TPA has commissioned a series of ads based on the theme for your use. The ads are in 3 x 5 and 3 x 10 formats. Please feel free to download them, alter them and use as you see fit. Ads are based on these themes:

  • together we can build a stronger community
  • together we celebrate our heroes
  • together we protect or community
  • together we count our blessings
  • together we look to the future