Grainger Today’s Wolfe wins TPA’s 2018 Public Notice Journalism Contest

Tracey Wolfe, editor of Grainger Today, has won the Tennessee Press Association’s 2018 Public Notice Journalism Contest.

Photo by Donn Jones Photography

The contest recognizes journalists that use public notice, or the lack of required public notice, to raise awareness of its importance.

The judge wrote, “Grainger Today and Editor Tracey Wolfe provide a textbook example of how public notices should be used on the news side of newspapers and why readers should appreciate them.”

The newspaper published a routine paid notice about plans by a business to get a state permit for a rock quarry. Wolfe wrote the news story for the top of Grainger Today’s Page 1 on Dec. 5, 2018.

That led to a Dec. 12 story about the Grainger County Commission public hearing, where residents complained about the threat to their drinking water quality and area lakes and the ultimate compliment by a citizen: “We heard about the quarry…it was in the paper,” one resident testified. “We’ve scrambled around … we want to know what it really means to us.”

All three pieces urged concerned readers to send their comments to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. 

Wolfe’s entry has been advanced to the national contest, which is administered by the Public Notice Resource Center.

Her TPA plaque and prize of $200 will be presented on July 18 as part of the TPA State Press Contests Awards luncheon in Chattanooga.

This competition marked the fourth year of the TPA Public Notice Journalism Contest.