Courier Staff Report
The Cannon Courier won two first-place awards and a total of five overall honors during the annual Tennessee Press Association’s 2014 newspaper contest, co-sponsored by the University of Tennessee.
The Cannon Courier was awarded first-place honors for Best Sports Coverage and Local Features, while also being honored for best single editorial, best single feature and make-up and appearance for Group 1 weekly newspapers in Tennessee. The five awards also represent the most for the newspaper in a single year.
It marks the third straight year The Cannon Courier has earned first-place honors and the second time in three years the newspaper has earned multiple first-place awards. The first-place awards for sports coverage and local features are the first such honors for the newspaper.
“It is always nice when you are recognized by your peers,” said William R. (Ron) Fryar, publisher/owner of The Cannon Courier. “We are proud to be recognized amongst the best newspapers in the state in our division, but our mission is to always provide the best coverage possible to our readers. I am proud that we have been honored in several different categories during the last four years. That shows an emphasis to being a complete newspaper and not just focusing on a few areas. Community is very important to us at The Cannon Courier and our two first-place awards this year represent community coverage in features and sports.”
The Cannon Courier had earned awards for best sports writing and sports coverage in three of the last four years but had never finished first.
“When Ron hired me to work for The Cannon Courier (in May, 2010) he said my main emphasis would be sports and that he wanted to enhance the sports section and coverage,” Sports Editor Tony Stinnett said. “He has provided me with every necessary resource to do my job. There are good sports and good kids in this community and sharing their stories and chronicling their efforts has always been important.”
Judges noted The Cannon Courier’s sports coverage was not limited to specific sports and placed the emphasis on the players more so than the play-by-play of a game.
The Cannon Courier also won the category for Best Local Features for the first time in its history. Dan Whittle and Ken Beck helped land the award for their feature-writing, ranging from Spotted Saddle Horses to a story chronicling the assassination of JFK through the eyes of one of his Secret Service.
“We have put an emphasis on community features so to win the award is nice,” Courier Editor Mike West said. “In recent months we have provided a wide array of feature stories on people and events throughout the community. We will continue to do that while also continuing to improve other areas.”
West’s editorial regarding the need for School Resource Officers in Cannon County Schools warranted third-place honors for Best Single Editorial. The County Commission approved the funds for two full-time SROs.
Beck’s JFK feature earned him fourth-place honors for Best Single Feature, and The Cannon Courier earned fifth place for make-up and appearance
The Arkansas Press Association judged Tennessee’s entries. They judged a total of 1,577 entries from 80 of Tennessee Press Association’s 122-member newspapers.