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Congratulations 2023 State Press Contests Winners!

List of 2023 winners
Link to photos of first place winners with UT President Randy Boyd

FRANKLIN, Tenn.— The University of Tennessee System and the Tennessee Press Association (TPA) gave top honors to newspapers across the state during the 2023 Tennessee State Press Contests awards luncheon held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Franklin. The UT System has been co-sponsoring the contests since 1940. 

The Tennessee Press Association Newspaper Contest celebrates excellence in all areas of journalism, including reporting, writing, photography and more. 

The Tennessean received the most overall wins, going home with 10 first-place awards. The Chattanooga Times Free Press won seven first-place awards, while the Kingsport Times News finished with six. 

The Carthage CourierThe Standard BannerThe Knoxville Ledger, the Kingsport Times News and the Tennessean won the top general excellence awards in their respective divisions at the association’s ceremony. Points were awarded for each entry and general excellence honors were based on the newspaper’s total points in their division.

“News organizations have an increasingly difficult responsibility to tell the stories that impact our lives – the good, and sometimes the not-so-good,” said Randy Boyd, president of the UT System, who presented the awards at the ceremony.  “We are fortunate in Tennessee to have outstanding reporters, photographers and designers who work with great enthusiasm and a genuine commitment to public accountability, and I truly appreciate the high standards you hold for yourselves in reporting in a fair and ethical manner.” 

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

Each year, reciprocal judging is done with another state’s association. This year, the Virginia Press Association judged 1,077 entries from 71 of the Tennessee Press Association’s 131 member newspapers.

Daniel Williams is TPA’s new president

Daniel Williams, publisher of The Paris Post-Intelligencer, is the new president of the Tennessee Press Association (TPA).  

  TPA is the trade association of the state’s daily and non-daily newspapers. It is composed of 131 newspapers and online publications.

  Williams succeeds Chris Vass, public editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

  Other officers elected at TPA’s Business Session during the Concurrent Board of Directors Meeting and Business Session on July 12 are Darrell Richardson, advertising director of The Daily Times, Maryville, elected first vice president, Keith Ponder, publisher of The Tullahoma News, elected second vice president; Dave Gould, owner of Main Street Media of Tennessee, re-elected secretary; and Eric Barnes, publisher of The Daily News, Memphis, re-elected treasurer. 

  Directors elected for two-year terms representing District One are:  Calvin Anderson, publisher of The New Tri-State Defender, Memphis; Melanie King, publisher of the McNairy County News, Selmer; and Victor Parkins, publisher of The Mirror-Exchange, Milan.   

Directors elected for two-year terms representing District Three are:  Sandy Dodson, publisher of The Bledsonian-Banner, Pikeville; Dale Gentry, publisher of The Standard Banner, Jefferson City; and Paul Mauney, The Greeneville Sun.

Also elected to the board are Lindsay Pride, editor of the Herald-Citizen, Cookeville, and Alison Gerber, editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, both to serve one-year terms as District Two directors.

  Chris Vass will continue on the board for one year as immediate past president. Also continuing on the board is David Plazas, director of opinion and engagement of The Tennessean, Nashville, who is serving as a District Two director.

  The TPA Board of Directors re-elected six trustees to serve on the Tennessee Press Association Foundation (TPAF) Board of Trustees for three-year terms. The re-elected trustees are:  Jim Charlet, Brentwood; John Finney, Culleoka; Doug Horne, Republic Newspapers, Knoxville; Victor Parkins, Gibson County Publishing; and Michael Williams, The Paris Post-Intelligencer.

About Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams is a fifth-generation publisher of The Paris Post-Intelligencer, a family-owned newspaper in Paris, Tennessee.  He began his newspaper career in 1996 as a newspaper carrier for The P-I where he delivered about 250 papers in downtown Paris five afternoons a week. He continued that bicycle route through high school.  He began working as a part time sportswriter in 2001 after obtaining his driver’s license.

After high school graduation, he moved to Henderson, Tennessee to attend Freed-Hardeman University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing. While at FHU, Williams was the editor of the school paper and did some freelance sports reporting and photography for the Chester County Independent, Henderson.

He worked as a newsroom intern at The P-I for a couple of summers during his college years and accepted a position as a general assignment reporter with the responsibility of the education beat for the newspaper in 2009.  He later covered crime and sports before moving to the business office in 2011 becoming office manager where he began working more with other departments such as advertising, circulation, and production. After working for several years and growing responsibilities in each department, he became the P-I general manager, where he ran many of the day-to-day operations.  He was promoted to publisher earlier this year.

Daniel Williams represents the fourth generation of the Williams family to serve as TPA president.   He is married to the former Jordan Shelton of Fruitland, Missouri and they have one son, Sterling, who is 3.

In his spare time he can be found on a golf course, on a driving range or otherwise daydreaming about playing golf.

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 131 members 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).

Tennessee Newspaper Hall of Fame to posthumously induct four on July 21 in Franklin

Four newspapermen have been selected for posthumous induction into the Tennessee Newspaper Hall of Fame.   They are:

Joseph P. Albrecht, a former Cookeville publisher, newspaper owner, former TPA president and TPA Foundation president.

Sam D. Kennedy, former Columbia publisher, newspaper owner and former TPA president.   He was a long serving chair of the TPA Government Affairs Committee.

William H. (Bill) Millsaps, Jr., was a native Tennessean who began his career in Tennessee and retired as vice president and executive editor of the Richmond (Virginia) Times-Dispatch.

William C. (Bill) Simonton, Jr., a former editor of The Covington Leader, a former TPA president and a former Tennessee Press Service president.

The induction ceremony is being planned as a dinner on Friday, July 21, 2023, in Franklin, Tenn. It will be held in conjunction with the TPA State Press Contests Awards Luncheon (Newsroom awards) at the Embassy Suites Cool Springs Hotel.

The schedule for the day is:

Noon:  State Press Awards Luncheon

2:30 p.m. Roundtable discussions for editors and publishers

5:00 p.m. Hall of Fame Reception

6:00 p.m.  Tennessee Newspaper Hall of Fame Induction Banquet

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 outstanding contributions to Tennessee newspaper journalism or, through Tennessee journalism, to newspaper journalism generally or who have made extraordinary contributions to their communities and regions or the state through newspaper journalism.

The program recognizes and memorializes “extraordinary and clearly outstanding” contributions to newspaper journalism and the newspaper industry. The program’s criteria and procedures were established in 1966, based on policies set jointly by the Tennessee Press Association and the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees. The Hall of Fame is located on the third floor of the Communications Building at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Portraits of all Hall of Fame inductees are displayed there.

The TPA Foundation maintains a website about the Hall of Fame with photos and inductee biographies.

The inductions will bring the total number of inductees to 64. Watch your mail and for details on how to register to attend the induction ceremony or contact TPA at (865) 584-5761, ext. 105 or

Register online. Download the PDF registration form.

Hotel reservations may be made Please identify yourself as an attendee of TPA’s event and request the event rate of $169. Reservations: (800) 371-8318  Group code: TNP Hotel reservations deadline: Monday, June 19.  

2023 State Press Contests Awards Luncheon set July 21

Register online. Download the PDF registration form. List of papers with at least 1 award.

The 2023 UT-TPA Tennessee State Press Contests Awards (for the Newsroom) will be presented at a noon luncheon on Friday, July 21 at the Embassy Suites Hotel Cool Springs in Franklin, Tennessee. Sixty-four newspapers have at least one award in the 2023 Contests. List of papers with at least 1 award. TPA Vice President Daniel Williams is slated to be installed as TPA’s new president during the luncheon.  Currently, UT President Randy Boyd is scheduled to present the awards.

The day will include roundtable discussions for editors and publishers and conclude with the Tennessee Newspaper Hall of Fame Installation Dinner.

Hotel reservations may be made Please identify yourself as an attendee of TPA’s event and request the event rate of $169. Reservations: (800) 371-8318  Group code: TNP Hotel reservations deadline: Monday, June 19.  

The day’s schedule is as follows:

SCHEDULE FOR JULY 21: Franklin is in the Central Time Zone
11:15 a.m. Registration opens
Noon   Awards Luncheon & TPA Presidential Installation
2:30 p.m.   Roundtables Discussions for Editors & Publishers

4:30 p.m. Registration re-opens for Hall of Fame event
5:00 p.m. Hall of Fame Reception, cash bar

6:00 p.m. TN Newspaper Hall of Fame Banquet

In memory of Carol Daniels, TPA Executive Director

Carol Goss Daniels

December 4, 1963 – April 8, 2023

On April 8, Carol Goss Daniels passed away at her home at age 59 after an eight-year battle with colon cancer.

Carol poured herself into building and nurturing the relationships in her life, beginning with her daughters, Megan and Samantha. And she was a champion for women and their success. She loved helping women succeed in any way she could.

Guy Huntingford, who recruited Carol into the media business in 2003, said it well, “She was a force of nature.”

In her varied career, Carol brought enthusiasm, energy, passion and leadership to each commitment she made. She was the Executive Director of the Tennessee Press Association and was the primary lobbyist on behalf of the 133 members in the organization. She was Executive Vice President of Tennessee Press Service, which represents the sales and marketing interests of Tennessee’s newspapers and their associated digital properties.

“When we hired Carol as the executive director of the Tennessee Press Service the organization was really struggling,” said Dave Gould, owner of Main Street Media of Tennessee and President of the Tennessee Press Service, “Carol quickly got things turned around, leading by example and building an outstanding team. Today, the association is on sound footing. 

“Our industry has been going through such incredible change and Carol was always so positive, passionate, optimistic and encouraging.

“In addition to all the great work she did Carol was such a wonderful person. She was a kind soul who was so positive and always had an optimistic outlook. She was an inspiration to everyone who knew her as she battled cancer. No matter what Carol was going through or how bad she felt, she never complained and continued to forge ahead. She was loved by so many of our members and will be terribly missed.” Gould said.

“The TPA family is mourning the loss of a passionate champion of the First Amendment and a tireless advocate for association members who relied on her skill, high-energy and determination to advance our mission and values,” said Chris Vass, TPA president. 

“She led the organization through challenging times and developed creative solutions to help members navigate the headwinds our industry has faced. She was simultaneously relentless and compassionate, always willing to listen.

“TPA has lost a faithful friend, a woman whose smile and laugh lightened and brightened many meetings,” she said. “When you knew Carol was involved, you knew to expect a first-class result.”

“For those of us who worked closely with her, we have lost a wonderful friend whose love for life, her family and her profession inspired us and will always.” Vass said.

“Carol fought with such grace and resilience,” said Megan Lane, who owns Lane Government Relations. “She was certainly a force. She was one of my first clients when I ventured out on my own, and she decided to take a leap of faith in hiring me. She always said it was because she wanted to invest in the next generation of women – a lesson I will pay forward because of her.”

Carol moved to Tennessee in 2007 from her native Canada and immersed herself in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. She brought her experience in marketing and new business organization to several non-profit organizations, including Belle Meade Plantation, Books from Birth of Middle Tennessee, Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, the Nashville Rescue Mission, the Nashville Symphony, and Watkins College of Art, Design and Film. She chaired annual fundraising events and worked with staff to enhance marketing efforts and organization. Each event set fund raising records during her involvement, and she was recognized with the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Volunteer of the Year award in 2013. She served on the Nashville Symphony Orchestra board of trustees and on the board of directors of Project Cure. She was a board member of The Andrew Jackson Foundation board of trustees, which runs the Hermitage and its 1,100 acres.

“She was a courageous, determined, creative, and caring person,” said Howard Kittell, president and CEO of Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage.” She lived in the land of possibility and worked to make the possibile a reality.”

After a stint as the marketing manager for Rogers AT&T Alberta, Carol began her career in the media industry at the Calgary Sun in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  In 2003 she joined the Sun as Director of Digital Sales and Development; one of her first responsibilities was building The Sun’s website and digital presence. Supervising and training a sales staff, she led the paper into the digital age. In 2004, she added the title of Classified Advertising Manager, and led that team to record sales growth in each month of her two-year stint in that role.

She was recruited to Toronto, where she ran the English-language division of Canoe as Director of National Sales and Marketing. Canoe was the Canada-wide digital presence of Sun Media, a Montreal-based media company with digital, television and newspaper properties. She built the sales team, and established Jobboom, a national job recruiting and placement service as a top-tier destination and service for companies hiring in major Canadian markets.

In 2012, Carol joined The Leaf-Chronicle, in Clarksville, as sales and marketing director; in 2015 she became general manager. She was involved in many Montgomery County organizations, including the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, Manna Café Ministries, and Customs House Museum. She served on the boards of directors of Gateway and Customs House, the Clarksville-Montgomery County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the Montgomery County United Way, and she completed a two-year term as President of Leadership Clarksville in 2020.

She was a graduate of Leadership Clarksville and of Leadership Middle Tennessee.

Carol graduated from The University of Calgary, with a degree in criminal justice, and worked for a Provincial youth home, helping young people deal with addiction and family problems. Later she received a degree in marketing from Mount Royal College.

She is survived by her daughters, Megan Danielle Duthie of Knoxville and her husband Tyler Koontz, and Samantha Mary Miravalle of Augusta, GA; by her husband of 15 years, Frank Daniels III of Clarksville; by her step-children, Kimberly Daniels Taws and husband John of Southern Pines, NC; Frank Daniels IV and wife Ellie of Southern Pines, NC; and Joseph Daniels of Nashville; by her mother, Christine Lund of Black Diamond, Alberta, Canada; her brother Chris Goss of Longview, Alberta, Canada; and her sister Connie Jones and her husband Brad of Kimberley, British Columbia, Canada; by four grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.

Services are scheduled for Saturday, April 15, and will be held at Neal-Tarpley-Parchman Funeral Home in Clarksville.

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

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

Slideshow of 2022 winning entries

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.