By TONY STINNETT
It was exhilarating when the master of ceremonies revealed the winner for Best Sports Coverage for group one weekly newspapers during the annual Tennessee Press Association awards luncheon in Nashville last week.
When it was announced The Cannon Courier was the winner in this category there was a sense of self satisfaction and a bit of elation as I accepted the award on behalf of your newspaper. I had strived for your paper to win this category throughout my four years here only to come up short in two of the previous three.
My desire to capture this award was not for personal gain or glory. When I was hired by Cannon Courier Owner/Publisher Ron Fryar in May, 2010, the most prevalent responsibility would be revamping the sports coverage and bringing a greater interest to this section of the newspaper.
It was all I needed to hear. Having worked for Fryar at two other properties I knew he had always placed on a strong emphasis on sports and community. I knew he would provide me with all of the necessary resources to do my job, including traveling to away games to cover the teams.
Space has been provided to allow more coverage. When I suggested dedicating the second section cover to sports, it was done. Providing our readers with the best possible coverage is the most important task.
Arkansas Press Association judged this year's entries. The judge's critique read, "Tony Stinnett is not only prolific but a talented writer. Coverage is outstanding … The sports photos by Joel Franklin are very good. Liked the variety of sports covered and the depth of coverage on primary sports."
Most pleasing was the comment regarding variety of sports. We have strived to cover as many sports as possible, along with offering feature stories on the participants. It's not just team sports. There are several individuals in this county who excel in individual competition from cycling and swimming to motocross.
At the end of the day people make the coverage and stories what they are. Subject matter is important and Cannon County is a community which embraces its athletes and follows its teams.
There have been great stories to tell and many more in the developing stages. The creation and sponsorship of The Cannon Courier Hall of Fame and All Sports Awards Banquet has been a highlight. We have had four inductions and it has become an anticipated annual event.
Of course, there is always room for improvement and ways to do even more. We will continue to work toward that goal in order to provide readers with the best sports coverage possible.
(Tony Stinnett is sports editor for The Cannon Courier. He is a three-time Tennessee Sports Writer of the Year.)