timesnewsThe Kingsport Times-News was awarded with several distinct honors at the 2009 Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors Awards held in Nashville this past weekend.

Recognized along with other newspapers by The Associated Press in the state of Tennessee, the Times-News received ten awards in their TAPME Division II class including Best Website, Best Photograph, Best Editorial and awards from other categories recognizing journalism excellence in business reporting and video production.

Congratulations to entire staff for this effort. It’s a good feeling to work with passionate professionals who seek to do their very best in a most unusual time for media.

It’s especially gratifying to receive the best website award in the state for our class too.

The Kingsport Times-News beat out The Jackson Sun and Leaf Chronicle – both newspapers owned by media giant Gannett. These newspapers like many of the other large papers in the state employ online strategies that utilize corporate software templates. I’m sure their staff was recognized by their content more than their structure because they all have the same style and layout and a good one at that.

In contrast, our two-man home-grown programming and design team held their own this year and it’s quite an honor. Kind of makes all those nights and weekends pay off – a little.

Beyond the tools and the visuals, our newspaper website owes a lot of its magnetism to New Media Editor Don Fenley who has a fierce journalist appetite for breaking news and he knows how to spin a headline.

In addition to the website recognition, our photographers swept the Photographer Awards for first, second and third.

Everyone at the Times-News recognizes the extraordinary talent of newcomer photographer Erica Yoon and she took first place in the state with Chief Photo Editor David Grace right behind her with a second and third. Erica and Ned Jilton also placed second and third in Feature and Sports Photography categories.

Stan Whitlock took first place honors for Best Editorial in the state and Sharon Caskey Hayes placed second in Business News journalism.

In addition to the traditional awards, Rain Smith was awarded with a Video Journalism award for a video he produced about a Rogersville man who built an electric car.

This was a great effort by the entire staff and although we appreciate the recognition, we still have plenty of work to do. The awards are well-deserved, but our desire to push the limits even further are rarely satisfied by any contest.

Thank you Associated Press and congratulations to everyone on our staff who helped to earn this extraordinary recognition by our peers.

For a complete list of 2009 TAPME Awards across the state of Tennessee, click here.