Virtual Audience Development & Marketing Conference

TPA Members, we have an opportunity for you.  Nov. 5-6 Normally, the Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana Press Associations meet together for this Audience Development and Marketing conference.  This year, Tennessee and Alabama are joining the sponsorship of the virtual event and it is all free to you.  In addition to sessions by Peter Wagner, there will be idea-exchanges so you can hear what other states are doing and share your best ideas, too.  This is a great way to meet with TPA members AND newspaper professionals from Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama!

This engaging and interactive conference is for publishers, general managers, circulation and audience development professionals — or anyone who wants to expand their understanding of tools to help community newspapers and affiliated digital media reach greater heights in revenue and readership.

Vernon McKinney

Vernon McKinney, long-time newspaper editor and publisher in East Tennessee, died September 21, 2020 at age 92, at Holston Rehabilitation and Health Center. He was born to Mae and Thomas McKinney in Lenoir City, in 1928.

Newspaper work was in his blood. He worked in various jobs at many different newspapers starting when he was a junior at Lenoir City High School, while attending Tennessee Wesleyan College and also at The Univer sity of Tennessee, where he graduated with a degree in journalism in 1955. After working at the Clinton Courier News, he purchased a weekly newspaper, The Upper Cumberland Times at Jamestown, in 1959. He then returned to his native Lenoir City in 1961 as owner of the weekly newspaper, The Lenoir City News, where he first started his newspaper career as a linotype operator. He was active with the Tennessee Press Association throughout his career, serving as president in 1971. After selling the Lenoir City News in 1980, he owned a typesetting business, The Type Case, in Knoxville. 

He is survived by his wife, Peggy Burkhardt McKinney, daughters, Karen McKinney, son-in-law, John Taylor, and Janet Scott and sons, Joel, Justin, and Daniel. He is survived by step-children Doug Burkhardt and daughter-in-law Peggy, Jimmy Burkhardt, and daughter-in-law Gayle, and Angie Wells. He had eight step grand-children.

Jim Crawford, Jr.

James W. (Jim) Crawford Jr. a third-generation newspaper owner, died Monday, September 21, 2020 at Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield, Alabama. He was 91.

His family publishes four newspapers, and operates Mid-State Publishing Company that Crawford established in 1967. It was one of the first offset web printing facilities in the southeast.

The Lawrenceburg native, the husband of Marie K. Crawford for 61 years and the father of seven children, was involved in his community far beyond its twice-weekly newspaper, The Democrat-Union. He was chairman of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Committee that established the Lawrenceburg-Lawrence County Airport. Mr. Crawford also was integral to the work that led to the Lawrence County Public Health Center, and served as chair of the county’s Board of Health.

Mr. Crawford owned and operated four publications:  In Alabama the Colbert County Reporter in Tuscumbia and the Standard & Times in Sheffield and in Tennessee The Democrat-Union and the Hickman County Times in Centerville.  All are weeklies and several of Mr. Crawford’s children are involved in their operation.

Mr. Crawford was preceded
in death by his parents, Jim
Crawford, Sr., Estelle Bethel
Crawford; granddaughter, Sarah Catherine Whitehead; and grandson, Lucas Sean Brasili.

He is survived by his wife, Marie Crawford; his children, Jimmy Crawford, III, Charlie Crawford and wife, Melinda, Estelle
Whitehead, Mary Ellen Wallace and husband, Mike, Bobby Crawford and wife, Cyndie, Carolyn Butler and husband, Bradley, Teresa McGee and husband, Scott; fifteen grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

He is also survived by his brothers Bill Crawford and Nathan Crawford.

TPA Ad/Circ Ideas Contest Awards announced on Sept. 25

The Tennessee Press Association announced the winners of the 2020 Ideas Contest (for Advertising &.Circulation) on Friday, September 25.

Grainger Today of Bean Station took the Best of Show award for its 2019 Tomato Festival special section.   The Paris Post-Intelligencer received the First Runner Up award for its black and white ad entry for the Southside Café. The Morgan County News received the Second Runner Up aware for its Back to School Time entry in marketing materials.

The farragutpress received the most awards at 36 with 16 of those being first places.  The Greeneville Sun received 22 awards and the Chattanooga Times Free Press received a total of 20 awards.

In all 517 entries from 26 TPA member newspapers were judged by members of the Georgia Press Association.

Link to the list of winners in excel:

Link to the awards slideshow of winning images:

Artie Wehenkel, advertising director of The Greeneville Sun and chairman of the TPA Advertising Committee, announced the awards during the virtual presentation.

Tennessee State Press Contests Awards announced

Website featuring winning entries:

List of winners with captions and entry credits

Newspaper publishers, editors, writers, and designers won top awards today (Sept. 24, 2020) in the Tennessee Press Association’s 2020 newspaper contest cosponsored by UT, which has been a part of the annual event since 1940.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press, the Johnson City Press, the Leaf-Chronicle (Clarksville), the Knoxville Ledger, and the Hamilton County Herald (Chattanooga) won the top general excellence awards in their respective divisions at the association’s ceremony, held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Points were awarded for each entry, and general excellence honors were based on the newspaper’s total points in their division.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press and the Bristol Herald Courier each won 10 first-place awards. The Tennessean (Nashville) received eight first-place awards and the Knoxville Ledger received seven first-place awards.

Among the many stories from 2019 cited for excellent work, contest judges highlighted several papers for their coverage of the Sumner County slayings in April 2019, which left seven people dead and one injured.

As part of the annual contest, newspapers winning first-place awards in the categories of editorials, best single editorial, and public service received $250 prizes from UT’s Edward J. Meeman Foundation. The Tennessean won three awards this year, one for each category.

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.

Reciprocal judging is done with another state’s association. This year, the Georgia Press Association judged 1,341 entries from 72 of the Tennessee Press Association’s 129 member newspapers.

Read the full results of the contest.


Charles Primm (865-974-5180,

Robyn Gentile (865-584-5761,

2020 Summer Convention canceled

The TPA Board of Directors voted on July 17 to cancel the Sept. 24-25 convention that was to be held in Pigeon Forge.  The State Press Contests Awards presentation will be held virtually on Thursday, September 24 at 3:00 p.m. EDT.

The Advertising and Circulation Ideas Contest Awards will be presented virtually on Friday, September 25.  TPA will be working to set up some webinars on topics for the newsroom, advertising and circulation.

Richardson is new TPA President

Daniel Richardson, publisher of the Carroll County News Leader and group publisher of the eastern division of Magic Valley Publishing Co., is the new president of the Tennessee Press Association.

Daniel Richardson TPA’s President for 2020-2021

He was elected on July 17 during the Concurrent TPA Board of Directors Meeting and Business Session.

Daniel is the youngest son of Dennis and Lisa Richardson, with Dennis having founded Magic Valley Publishing Co. in 1983. Daniel is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a 2012 graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin. He resides in Camden with his wife, Lena, and three daughters. He is a member of the Camden Church of Christ and the Camden Rotary Club.