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The Carthage Courier was selected for five awards, including First Place in two categories, in last Friday’s 2021 Tennessee State Press Contest Awards held at the Franklin Marriott Hotel. The awards, sponsored by the University of Tennessee (UT) and Tennessee Press Association (TPA), resulted in a Top 10 placement in General Excellence for the Courier — placing eighth overall in total points from among some 30-plus publications who received awards competing in Division I (newspapers with a circulation less than 5,000). New Jersey Press Association judged a total of 1,208 entries from 79 of the Tennessee Press Association’s newspapers who competed in five separate groups based on circulation. Among the Courier’s honors were First Place in the category of Best Local Features, First Place in Best Digital Presentation, Second Place in Best Breaking News Coverage, Fifth Place in Coronavirus Features & Coverage and Fifth Place in Best Graphics & Illustrations with the latter honor coming from among entries received from newspapers that included Group II (circulation 5,001 – 15,000) and Group III (circulation 15,001 – 50,000). “All of us here at the Courier are grateful to have our efforts recognized by our peers,” stated publisher Scott Winfree. “We have a small yet outstanding and dedicated staff that strives for excellence on a weekly basis and we appreciate having our efforts acknowledged. We share these awards with you — our readership.”

The Chattanooga Times Free Press (Division V), the Daily Times (Maryville) – (Division IV), the Leaf-Chronicle (Clarksville) – (Division III), the Standard Banner (Jefferson City) – (Division II) and the Gallatin News (Division I) won the top general excellence awards in their respective divisions at the association’s ceremony. The Courier’s First Place award for Best Local Features included the writing of Ken Beck and the design / layout of Shea Haile for the trio of features — a two-page spread for Caney Fork Farms, a two-part series on Jake Hoot and a feature on Sampson Mineral Well. The judges comment: “Vibrant writing, beautiful design and a smart mix of stories. Bravo!”

The other First Place award for Best Digital Presentation included the website design / layout of the Courier overseen weekly by Bob Stangenberg. The judges comment: “Many interactive presentations on page.” The Second Place award for Best Breaking News Coverage contained articles and photos by Eddie West of the tornadoes that swept through Smith County in 2020. The judges comment: “Provided readers with an extraordinary amount of detail on the timing, damage and activity surrounding the tornadoes. The track of these tornadoes, their characteristics and the dollar amount of the damage were presented with clear, concise writing and reportage.”

Rounding out the Courier’s awards were a pair of Fifth Place honors. In the category of Best Coronavirus Features & Coverage — a series of articles from Eddie West on the local impact of the health crisis which also included weekly reportings from Smith County Covid Task Force Director Roger Duke — the judges comment stated: “Another example of complete coverage by one author.” The Fifth Place award for Best Graphics & Illustrations comes from among all statewide newspapers with circulation up to 50,000. Among the Courier’s submissions, that primarily featured layout / design from Shea Haile and writer Ken Beck, included features for: Caney Fork Farms, Sophie Linder, I Walk The Line and Dolly Parton. The judges comment: “The designer has an eye for color and flow down the page. Nice work.”
2021 Tennessee state press contest

DIVISION 1 Newspaper circulation less than 5,000

• FIRST PLACE • Best Local Features • Best Digital Presentation

• SECOND PLACE • Breaking News Coverage

• FIFTH PLACE • Best Coronavirus Features & Coverage • Best Graphics & Illustrations


1. Gallatin News (Gallatin) 2. (tie) Dickson Post (Dickson) (tie) Grainger Today (Bean Station) 4. LaFollette Press (LaFollette) 5. (tie) Covington Leader (Covington) (tie) Courier News (Clinton) 7. The Courier (Savannah) 8. Carthage Courier (Carthage) 9. News Herald (Lenoir City) 10. Macon Co. Times (Lafayette)