Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to footer

Member Services Guide

TPA Membership Criteria
Membership Criteria

TPA Membership Services
Member Services Guide 
TPA Calendar | TPA Constitution | TPA Districts |TN Open Meetings Law |
TN Open Records Law | TN Shield Law | Legal Links | Press Credentials

TPA Committees
Committee descriptions and how to volunteer to serve

TPA Calendar of Events
Calendar of Events


(content last updated August 31, 2020)

The Tennessee Press Association is the trade association of Tennessee’s daily and non-daily newspapers, and it is the parent organization of Tennessee Press Service and Tennessee Press Association Foundation. It was founded in 1870-71 for the purpose of creating a unified voice for the newspaper industry of Tennessee.

Tennessee Press Association Mission Statement:
To help member publishers achieve greater success than each could attain individually.

Tennessee Press Association Vision Statement:
1. Advocate for the press by proactively shaping public policy and opinion
2. Facilitate statewide standards and execution across the membership
3. Coordinate the exchange of ideas and the sharing of tools, best practices and opportunities to help members elevate their craft.

Today, TPA continues to provide assistance to its 130 member newspapers by monitoring legislative activities, providing training programs, issuing press credentials, maintaining a website and employment database, and providing regular meetings and forums to foster the exchange of information and ideas.

Newspapers meeting the following criteria:

1. 70% paid circulation as reported in USPS Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation or by independent audit.

2. Having been in publication for one continuous year.

3. Publishing once or more per week.

TPA also has an associate class of membership, which is open to vendors, suppliers, advertising firms and public relations firms wishing to stay in contact with our member newspapers. For all membership inquiries, please contact Robyn Gentile, Member Services Manager, at (865) 584-5761, ext. 105 or

Through the Tennessee Press Service, TPA’s business affiliate, advertisers can reach Tennessee’s newspaper readership as easy as 1-2-3.

Advertising sales and placement
By placing one call to TPS, clients may place newspaper ads and/or online ads in any or all of the state’s TPA member publications. TPS serves as a convenience for advertisers who have the need to place regionally, statewide or nationally. And, best of all, there are no fees to the advertiser. This one call-one order-one check service can save media buyers, traffic coordinators, accounts payable clerks and other personnel a tremendous amount of time while ensuring that they get the same competitive rates as if they had shopped each publication on their own. Making it easier and affordable to place in newspapers helps agencies and companies keep newspapers in their media mix.

All this means one thing—more ad sales! Membership in TPA is like adding additional sales staff to your operation. The TPS staff handles sales calls to areas that may be cost prohibitive for your newspaper. TPS handles the rate negotiations, places the insertion orders, collects tearsheets and invoices the client. As a matter of fact, TPS typically pays its member newspapers before being paid by the advertiser, thereby eliminating the bad debt risk for the newspaper.

TPS reinvests its profits back into the newspaper industry of Tennessee through support of projects like the public notice advertising website, training newspaper staff (both at TPA events and through streaming videos), and by providing financial and staff support for the Association and Foundation.

For more information on advertising sales and placement, call TPS at (865) 584-5761, ext. 108 or email or visit

Advertising Networks
Tennessee’s Advertising Networks were created by TPS to mutually benefit TPA members, TPAF, and TPS. Although the Networks are operated by TPS, they are your Networks! TPA members that participate in the Networks can make a lot of money by selling into the Networks. Plus, there are no fees to participate.

The Advertising Networks provide advertisers with much wider coverage than any newspaper can offer in Tennessee. Through the Networks, newspaper sales representatives can offer statewide or regional coverage to their clients with the convenience of one order and one payment through one contact, and that is the local newspaper sales representative.

The Advertising Networks not only provide advertisers with easy ad placement in multiple newspapers, but they also provide a new source of revenue for participating newspapers. Newspapers that sell ads into the Networks retain a hefty commission. Plus, every participating newspaper is included in the quarterly rewards checks. The rewards checks are usually enough to cover the TPA dues.

TnSCAN is Tennessee’s Statewide Classified Ad Network and has been a mainstay since 1984. Newspapers that participate in TnSCAN can fill their classified section with paid ads. Each week TPS sends an average of 20 classified line ads to the 100 participating newspapers. A 25-word classified ad in all 98 newspapers costs $275 per week. Regional buys are also available.

TnDAN is Tennessee’s Display Ad Network has served newspapers and advertisers for 11 years. TnDAN accepts 2 column by 2 inch ads, 2 column by 4 inch ads, and 2 column by 6 inch ads. Participating newspapers can replace filler ads with these small display ads and receive revenue by so doing. Over the past 11 years, TnDAN has grown to 97 participating newspapers. A 2 column by 2 inch ad can appear in the 97 newspapers for $1,045 per week. For a more targeted campaign, advertisers can select a region.

TnNET is Tennessee’s Online Ad Network. Combined with a print ad, TnNET connects advertisers’ messages to the maximum number of Tennesseans through the ease of one point of contact. TnNET ads are medium-rectangle Run-of-Site for one low rate. For advertisers’ it’s a no-brainer. For newspapers it’s the easiest Network in which to participate. TPS sends an invocation code. Once it’s in place on the newspaper website, it works automatically.

TnQPN is Tennessee’s Quarter Page Network and is the newest program recently approved by the TPS Board of Directors. TnQPN will give advertisers the opportunity to place their quarter page sized ad in multiple newspapers for one rate. TnQPN will also give participating newspaper sales reps a new tool to offer their clients. As with the other programs, participating newspapers will keep a large commission on each TnQPN ad sold.

For more information on how much revenue your newspaper can make by participating in Tennessee’s Advertising Networks, contact TPS at (865) 584-5761 ext. 117 or email

The primary benefit of associate membership is to be able to network with editors and publishers of Tennessee newspapers. Included below are some tangible benefits for associate members.

• A listing in the annual Tennessee Newspaper Directory
• A listing and link on TPA’s website—
• Subscriptions (up to five) to The Tennessee Press, TPA’s monthly publication
• Copies of the Tennessee Newspaper Directory (up to 10, each directory is a $40 value)
• Mailing label data for TPA member newspapers in electronic format
• A 25 percent discount on ads placed in The Tennessee Press
• A discount on ads placed in the Tennessee Newspaper Directory
• A 25% discount on the TPS Press Release E-mail Service
• Members are eligible to attend TPA conventions, workshops and other events and may register guests.
• Members may provide materials for an informational table at conventions. Display space is also available at a discounted rate.
• Membership is extended to the company, not an individual; therefore, anyone from an associate member organization may participate in conventions and workshops as a member. And associate members may serve on TPA committees.

Contact Robyn Gentile, TPA member services manager, with any questions about associate membership at (865) 584-5761, ext. 105 or via email:

Whatever your area of newspaper expertise, TPA could use you on one of its 12 committees! Committee membership is open to any newspaper or associate member. The hard work volunteered by the more than 100 committee members makes our association one of the most active on both regional and national levels. Results from the committee actions are immediately evident in every facet of our industry, from successes in the state legislative arena to the development of high school newspapers to the availability of affordable training programs for our members.

Any member interested in volunteering for a TPA committee should contact the chairman of that committee for appointment. There are currently 12 committees, which are as follows: Advertising, Circulation, Contests, Futures, Government Affairs, Hall of Fame (special process for appointment, not open to general membership), Journalism, Education & Literacy, Membership, Nominating (TPA past presidents only), Winter Convention & Press Institute, Summer Convention and Technology.

With the constant changes in electronic pagination, layout and production taking place in our industry, the TPS Board of Directors created a staff position in 1998 to help members in a number of ways. Newspapers now have “someone to turn to” for advice or training in technical areas.

This position, which also serves as director of the TPS-UT Institute of Newspaper Technology, is responsible for coordinating statewide training programs for member newspapers. On-site consultation is also available to members at the following rates:
Non-daily newspapers Daily newspapers
Half day $250 $300
Full day $400 $500

Please see “Training” for information on the various types of technology training offered.

Advertising/Circulation Ideas Contest
Similar to our state press contests, the annual advertising and circulation contest places a special focus on these two vital areas of our industry that help to finance our entire operations. Although extremely competitive, advertising and circulation departments across the state look forward to sharing ideas that can help to promote print media as a whole.

State Press Contests
One of the highlights of the newspaper year in Tennessee is the presentation of the annual State Press Contests awards. This prestigious contest recognizes the best of the best in Tennessee newspapering, from layout and design to news coverage to photography and community features. The University of Tennessee has co-sponsored these contests since 1940.

More than 75 newspapers compete in the different categories offered for competition and submit more than 1,300 entries each year. Newspapers are divided into five divisions by total weekly paid circulation to foster more specialized competition. Entries are judged by a different state each year by a panel of that state’s newspaper professionals. In turn, we assemble a panel of our members once a year to judge another state’s contest, which gives our leadership a chance to see ideas and trends from other areas as well. The top winner in each division is presented a General Excellence Award.

TPA holds two major conventions per year, a Winter Convention & Press Institute in early February and a Summer Convention in mid-to-late June.

The Winter Convention & Press Institute, held in Nashville every year, gives members an opportunity to meet with legislators to discuss issues pertaining to the newspaper industry. There are also a number of educational and/or training programs on everything from postal issues to software training to basic reporting and photography skills. A highlight of each convention is the Governor’s address.

The Summer Convention is held in a different location each year. Members have a chance to socialize and explore different areas of our diverse state while conducting business as well. Our new TPA officers are elected and the new president is installed at the summer convention. Several off-site activities are always offered, which are a popular alternative for the many spouses and families attending.

In addition to the two major conventions, TPA also hosts a State Press Contests Awards Luncheon in July, a Fall Board Meeting, the annual Advertising/Circulation Conference each spring and Tennessee Newspaper Hall of Fame ceremonies when inductions are to be made.

Press cards (paper version), vehicle window decals and membership logos for publication are provided annually to member newspapers. TPA also offers a professional plastic identification press card to members for $5 per card. The card includes the photo and electronic signature of the newspaper employee. Download the order form at or contact Angelique Dunn, TPA administrative assistant, at (865) 584-5761, ext. 100 or for information on how to order the press cards.

Drive-In Training, a day of concurrent training sessions in a variety of topics for newspaper professionals, is offered in conjunction with the Winter Convention each February.

As part of, this popular service can help potential newspaper industry professionals find a position with our member newspapers. In addition to browsing position openings throughout the state, one may post a resume on the site, as well as indicate the type of position he or she is looking for (e.g. editor, sportswriter, advertising, etc.). Resumes remain on file for six months and are accessible to any member newspaper in the state. This is a free service, and anyone may post or update a resume at no charge.

The mission of the Tennessee Press Association is “To help member publishers achieve greater success than each could attain individually.” That principle is nowhere more relevant than in the area of Government Relations.

Tennessee Press Association serves as the voice of the newspaper industry in our state. With more than 2,500 bills introduced into the session each year, Tennessee’s public notices, open records and meetings laws (the “Sunshine Law”) and the reporters’ shield law have come under constant challenge.

TPA employs a public policy director to help coordinate government affairs efforts on behalf of newspapers. We’re constantly fighting to keep public notices where they belong – in print newspapers – and to maintain access to government information so newspapers can do their jobs and serve the watchdog role that is so crucial to our democracy.

The association actively encourages its member newspapers to develop face-to-face working relationships with their elected officials, and we need the support of local publishers when trying to guard against government secrecy. TPA works hand in hand with the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government.

Through these important efforts, TPA has been successful in protecting free speech, preserving the people’s right to open records and to know what their government is doing, and to avoiding bad ideas like taxes on circulation or advertising, which could curtail the free flow of information and hurt the state on many fronts. TPA is our industry’s voice both in Nashville and in joining forces with national organizations to uphold the same freedoms in Washington.

TPA partners with TPA Counsel Rick Hollow’s firm, Hollow and Hollow, to provide a Legal Hotline that members can call for advice on a wide range of publishing issues, including access to records and government meetings, appropriate housing ad language, libel protection and more.

Thanks to generous grants from the TPA Foundation, TPA is able to offer this service at no cost to our members, even though call volume has grown steadily from just a few calls per month to as many as five per week. This all confirms the need for providing quality legal advice to our members.

One call to the Hotline could potentially save thousands if it helps to avoid a costly litigation or help open up a story. And, with the Hotline in place, members may even be eligible for a discount on their libel insurance premiums.

Contact TPA for the Legal Hotline number. It is also located on your press card.

TPA endorses the National Newspaper Association’s (NNA) Group Insurance Plan with Walterry Insurance for libel coverage. TPA/NNA members are eligible for a 10 percent discount on their libel coverage under this program. (See Legal Hotline for information on possibly saving even more off libel coverage.)

In addition to the monthly publication The Tennessee Press, another way TPA communicates with members is through weekly Member Updates sent via email. The updates provide information about TPA events, members and the newspaper industry and have been offered since August of 2007. If you are not receiving the Member Update, please contact Robyn Gentile, member services manager, at or (865) 584-5761, ext. 105.

TPS can distribute a press release to TPA member newspapers by email, fax or mail. Members and associates save 25% on the email distribution service. For more information contact Angelique Dunn, TPA administrative assistant, at (865) 584-5761, ext. 100 or

In 2013, TPA was successful in passing legislation that requires all public notices to run in print newspapers, on newspapers own websites, and on our statewide aggregate site maintained by TPS: There is no charge for newspapers to post to the site, and no charge for the public to conduct a search of public notices. By fighting to keep public notices in print newspapers, we maintain their independence, security against tampering or altering of notices or time frame of publication, and the ability of the notices to be archived. By providing the notices online as well as in print, we make them available to the widest possible segment of Tennesseans. Online notices are searchable in a number of ways. For help or information on making sure all your public notices are included on the statewide aggregate site, please contact Greg Sherrill or Kevin Slimp at (865) 584-5761.

At the beginning of each year, TPS publishes the Tennessee Newspaper Directory, which lists, by city, all member newspapers along with their circulation figures, addresses, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail and website addresses, county population and household information, key personnel, advertising specifications, publication schedules and ownership information.

Also included in the directory are all associate members, addresses and phone/fax numbers, a listing of member collegiate journalism programs and a national directory of press associations. Officers and staff for all three corporations are listed, and there is a visual map of all newspapers by county to help clients make smart advertising purchases. This truly is Tennessee’s most comprehensive print media guide, designed to allow advertising clients to cover any or all areas of the state with ease.

The Tennessee Newspaper Hall of Fame was established in 1966 as a joint project of the Tennessee Press Association and the University of Tennessee. The Hall of Fame honors those who have made an outstanding contribution to Tennessee newspaper journalism or, through Tennessee journalism, to newspaper journalism generally, or who have made an extraordinary contribution to their communities and region, or the state, through newspaper journalism. The Hall of Fame is physically located on the third floor of the Communications Building on the campus of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Information on all inductees may be found at

The Association’s monthly tabloid newspaper contains news of interest to newspaper executives throughout the industry. The Tennessee Press also covers important registration and meeting news for conventions and training sessions and provides updates on committee and legislative activities. TPS pays all costs for the production of The Tennessee Press.

The Tennessee Press is circulated to management of each member newspaper, to all associate members, and others who are interested in the industry, and is available for general subscriptions at just $6 per year. It is also an excellent way to reach the newspaper leadership with a display or classified advertising buy.

Members and associates receive a 25% discount on space and color charges.

The Tennessee Press Association Foundation was established in 1976. Its mission statement is as follows:
• Raise and disburse funds to enable the Tennessee Press Association Foundation to be valued, and recognized nationally, as a statewide provider of quality educational opportunities for the benefit of Tennessee Press Association member newspapers by:
• Anticipating and meeting educational needs in the fields of journalism, first amendment issues, advertising, business, and technology;
• Developing and promoting awareness of Tennessee Press Association member newspapers to the general reading public;
• Promoting a work environment at Tennessee Press Association member newspapers conducive to producing high quality, nationally recognized, community newspapers and related products for our readers and advertising customers; and
• Providing appropriate recognition of those Tennessee newspaper professionals who are selected for inclusion in the Tennessee Newspaper Hall of Fame.

The Foundation is currently in the midst of a five-year capital campaign to raise an additional $1 million for its Endowment, the proceeds of which are used to fund grants to educational newspaper-related causes throughout the state.

Educational sessions are offered in conjunction with TPA’s conventions and the Advertising/Circulation Conference.

Drive-In Training
Drive-In Training, a day of concurrent training sessions in a variety of topics for newspaper professionals, is offered in conjunction with the Winter Convention each February.

On-site consulting/training
Kevin Slimp, TPS director of technology, is available to members for on-site consulting and training. See “Consulting/Technical Assistance” for details.

Video training in technology
TPA members now have access to short training segments produced by Kevin Slimp, TPS director of technology. Topics include the latest software for pagination, photo-editing and Adobe’s Acrobat technology. Access these videos online at Contact TPA for password.

TPA’s website,, provides many services for members and clients. A searchable database of TPA member newspapers is a component clients find useful. The site offers information about TPA’s upcoming events and includes registration forms. Members will find helpful industry links and resources such as the Open Meetings, Open Records and Shield Laws. And the Employment Area allows member newspapers to list position openings, as well as browse resumes of individuals seeking employment. The site is also used by the TPS advertising department for transfer of advertising files to member newspapers.

TPS has also established and maintains, a website where all TPA member newspapers are encouraged to post the public notices that are published in their newspaper. The newspapers of Tennessee have long championed open records and transparency in government. In order to take that public service a step further, TPS has established this website to make all public notices published in Tennessee accessible to citizens online. For information on how your newspaper can upload ads to the site, please contact Greg Sherrill at (865) 584-5761, ext. 106.

The website to promote the TPS client services is