I recently came back from the Tennessee Press Association awards luncheon.
I am delighted to announce that our newspaper earned four press association awards.
And I got one of them.
You see, every year the state press associations from each state request newspapers to enter their best work. The work is divided into different categories — news writing, headline writing, photography, design, columns, editorials and feature writing, among others.
The Cleveland Daily Banner did just that. It submitted articles and photos.
Now, Tennessee for example, doesn’t then judge its own entries. Oh, no sirree bob! All the entries from one state get sent to another state for judging. This year, I believe, Tennessee’s entries were sent to Georgia’s press association, but I’m not completely sure.
Anyway, feature writing was my category. I wrote about Raymond Swafford, the former register of deeds and his upcoming retirement last year. The article was published on Aug. 23 in the Cleveland Daily Banner and I believe Mr. Swafford retired at the end of August.
And, for a brief update, I understand Mr. Swafford is doing “fantastic” and is on the river fishing every day!
But back to the other award winners.
One of the other three awards was earned in the “Public Service” category, which in our case, involved several newsroom staff members contributing to the coverage of an ongoing news story. The series of stories and editorials, which spanned several months, involved the fan motor that was thrown through the windshield of a bus carrying the Voices of Lee a cappella group. The potentially lethal object was tossed from an Interstate 75 overpass in McMinn County and could have resulted in serious injury to these young musicians, or worse.
The initial story was published the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend last year. Our coverage continued all the way to the subsequent apprehension, and court appearances, of three men who confessed to the assault. Reporters included Greg Kaylor, staff writer, Rick Norton, associate editor, and David Davis, managing editor.
The other two were individual awards, both won by Rick Norton, our associate editor/news editor.
One was for a “Best Personal Column” about his dad that appeared in the paper on Veterans Day last year.
His second individual award was for “Spot News” and overall coverage on the announcement of Whirlpool Corporation’s plans to construct a new plant in Cleveland. The initial articles were published in the Cleveland Daily Banner on Sept. 1.
They did such great work!
I am so proud of them.
Anyway, the point of THIS column — and no, I mean, yes, this column is almost finished and I am just now getting to the point.
Here it is.
After this recent trip, I started thinking about all the other “awards” and/or “kudos” I have ever won. Now don’t worry. It’s not a long list so it’s OK that I only got to the point at this point, at the end of my column.
OK, as I mentioned earlier, here they are:
— I won a German language contest once.
— I also won a photo contest once.
— I “won” a place in the Philadelphia city choir.
— I earned a place into what is now called a magnet school. At least, I think that’s what they’re called.
— I won some sort of other writing contest along the way as well.
Let’s see now, what else?
— Oh yeah! I won second place in a baking contest at my local YMCA for a butter cream cake when I was around 13 years old and living in Philadelphia. It was my mom’s recipe.
— My cat, Turkey, won third or fourth place in a cat show contest for Best House Cat — also while living in Philadelphia. I claim this one too because she couldn’t have won it without me. She didn’t have a driver’s license, you see. And the major hurdle to winning was schlepping her down to the Convention Center in her cage while she cried ALL the way there and back!
— And, well, now let me see. It’s getting harder to find any. Oh, I know. I won $50 on a scratch-off ticket once!
— Oh, and I came in second place in a cute baby contest. I blame my mom for my coming in second. You see, I’m sure I would have won first place except the contest rules specifically said black shoes, not white, and my mom dressed me up in white shoes! That’s where my 12-month-old dream of becoming a supermodel ended!
Let me see now, what else?
— Oh, I won a 100-foot roll of Fuji slide film at journalism school once. I don’t think I ever actually used it. Can’t remember.
— Oh, I earned a scholarship to college.
Now, let me see.
I’m trying as hard as I can to come up with anything at all I may have won over my life.
I think that’s just about it.
That’s kinda depressing.
Not very impressive, is it?
So, you can truly believe me when I say: I was pleased and surprised and thrilled to have recently received a press association award for something I created.
And, I truly thank whoever granted me this honor.