Main Street Media of Tennessee captured 10 first place awards and one of its 13 newspapers, the Gallatin News, was named best Division 1 newspaper in the state at the Tennessee Press Association Awards ceremony last Friday.
Overall, the company received 61 top 5 awards.
“Last year was very difficult for everyone but our journalists showed again why they are some of the best in the state,” said Dave Gould, Owner of Main Street Media of Tennessee. “Across the board, from news, to schools, to features, to sports, to photos, our team was recognized again and again with TPA awards. I’m so proud of all of them and grateful that I get the opportunity to work with them every day.”
The win by the Gallatin News marked the sixth time in the last six years a Main Street Media newspaper has been named the best in the state. It was the third win in Division 1 for the Gallatin News, The Wilson Post has won twice in Division 2 and the Hendersonville Standard has won once in Division 2.
This year, the Gallatin News won first place awards for Best News Reporting and Public Service. Both awards were tied to the newspaper’s extensive coverage of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and a widespread outbreak at a local nursing home that killed more than two dozen residents.
Editor Sherry Mitchell and reporter Josh Cross were recognized for the news reporting award.
“Vital, comprehensive coverage of the nursing home crisis and how it played out at one facility,” one judge wrote. “The stories not only detail the devastating impact of the pandemic as it raged through the nursing home, but also, through the use of sources, reveal disturbing details. The reporting includes allegations that some decisions made by managers may have inadvertently spread the virus and raises questions about why COVID cases not mentioned when 911 calls were made. This is beat reporting at its best.”
Mitchell and Cross were also recognized for the first place Public Service award.
One judge noted, “The News performed an essential public service by staying on top of nursing home deaths, sticking to the facts and letting readers know the staff would not relent in their pursuit of the truth.”
The News also won second place awards for Best Sports Photograph and Coronavirus News Coverage; third place awards for Best Sports Photograph, Investigative Reporting and Coronavirus Features Coverage, a fourth place award for Local Features and a fifth place awards for Make-Up and Appearance.
Reciprocal judging is done with another state’s association. This year, the New Jersey Press Association judged 1,208 entries from 79 of the Tennessee Press Association’s 131 member newspapers.