"PRESSing MATTERS" By Chad Ferguson, TPA President 2011-12
It’s time to go hunting.
And I don’t mean traipsing through the woods and warding off the chiggers.
Like many of you, I have been flipping the pages of the back issues of our newspaper searching for those regional contest entries.
But as you pull those entries for the regional contests, don’t forget that the deadline for the 2012 Texas Better Newspaper Contest will be here before you know it.
All entries must be postmarked by March 23 to be included in this year’s contest.
And the Contest Committee, chaired by TPA Treasurer Randy Mankin of The Eldorado Success, wants to remind its fellow members that all entries must have been originally published during calendar year 2011, and specifically from May and November where indicated.
Our newspapers will be judged on special sections, community service, best website, advertising, column writing, editorials, feature photos, feature stories, general excellence, headline writing, news photos, news writing, page design, sports coverage and sports photos.
It is the perfect opportunity to have your newspaper judged by your peers from the Tennessee Press Association and, if you’re among the winners, be recognized at our association’s 133rd Annual Summer Convention to be held June 21-23 at The Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio.
The awards ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, June 23 and the first place winners will come forward to receive a plaque. Certificates will be distributed to second, third and fourth place winners after the awards ceremony.
And don’t forget to sign up and help judge the Tennessee Press Association entries. We’re proud to call Tennessee a partner in the Better Newspaper Contest swap.
Like us, it has a long and storied history as the voice of the state newspaper industry. The association, based in Knoxville, represents about 125 member newspapers and is a co-founder of the Institute of Newspaper Technology with the University of Tennessee School of Journalism and Electronic Media.
In March, TPA member newspapers will have the honor of selecting the winners of the 2012 Tennessee State Press Contests. Tennessee’s contest consists of five circulation divisions and 23 editorial categories.
The contest entries will be shipped to Texas newspapers in mid-March and you won’t even need to leave the office. Texas judges will have about two weeks to complete the judging process and return the entries to the Tennessee Press Association.
The divisions and editorial categories are listed on the TPA website, and Tennessee’s contest rules also can be accessed from there.
The Better Newspaper Contest swap is a great opportunity for an open exchange of ideas between two state press associations.
It also provides a means to give back to your own state association. Your efforts, on behalf of Texas newspapers, make it possible for us to secure judges for our own contest, which will be judged April 19 and 20 in Knoxville and Nashville.
If you are interested in helping your statewide association by volunteering as a judge, contact Laura King at the TPA office.
When selecting your entries, don’t forget the Monson FOI Award and Fred Hartman Excellence in Sportswriting Award.
Sponsored by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, the Monson FOI Awards recognize journalists and/or newspapers for outstanding efforts that uphold First Amendment principles, increase public access to government and improve awareness of state open government statues.
The award will recognize specific efforts or actions taken during calendar year 2011. TPA members nominate their own newspapers, or those fellow journalists and publishers at other newspapers. The achievements can be a single news story or a series, an editorial or series of editorials, columns, editorial cartoons, or a community freedom of information project.
There are categories for both daily and non-daily, and all nominations should be postmarked by the April 6 deadline and sent to Monson FOI Award/FOIFT, 3001 Lamar Blvd., Suite 302, Austin, TX 78705.
This year the Fred Hartman Excellence in Sportswriting Award has been expanded to include non-daily newspapers. Past winners have always been from daily newspapers, but most of Hartman’s papers are non-dailies and so it was a logical move to include both dailies and weeklies.
In addition, the presentation of the award has been moved from March to June and will take place during the TPA summer convention rather than at TDNA’s meeting.
The award is a cash prize of $1,000 to an individual judged as the best sportswriter in the state. It was established by Hartman’s family after his death. Fred Hartman began his newspaper career as a sportswriter and eventually became editor and publisher of the Baytown Sun, working for Carmage Walls and Southern Newspapers.
Thanks to doors opened by Walls, he also became a newspaper owner later in his career. But in his heart, he never stopped being a sportswriter or covering sports.
His legacy in the newspaper business includes his son Bill, who has worked in the newspaper business his entire life and formed his own newspaper publishing company, Hartman Newspapers. His grandsons, Fred and Lee, are also involved in the ownership and operations of Hartman Newspapers.
The Hartman family thought the award would be the best way to honor him and great Texas sportswriting.
Watch for details from TPA on the Hartman Award, and until then, let’s all start combing our sports pages so we can submit our entries without delay.