Last Friday night, Knoxville's media elite gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel for the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists' Golden Press Card Awards. Which is to say, awards were doled out for the best regional reporting of 2010 among newspapers, television and radio stations, and assorted freelancers. And we're proud to say that Metro Pulse scooped up 11 awards.
This year we decided to compete against East Tennessee's large-circulation daily papers (including that sizable one here in town). The contest is divided between large dailies, small dailies, and non-daily publications, but any contestant can choose to compete in the large daily paper category. After the last few years of wins in the non-daily category, we decided to pit our writers and artists against bigger papers with larger staffs and more resources—because we're confident our work stands with the best that this end of the state has to offer. And by jiminy, the judges agreed.
Here's the haul:
Second Place: Frank Carlson for "Race, Abortion, and Distortions"
Local churches and Catholic Diocese officials are spreading a monumental accusation—that Planned Parenthood is guilty of African-American genocide. Yes, genocide. How did they get this idea? From a nationally distributed DVD that purports to be a "documentary." Nobody in town really questioned this charge until Frank investigated it.
First Place: Jesse Fox Mayshark for "Exploiting U"
Second Place: Brooks Clark for "Crossing the T"
We do not have a sports staff. We don't cover the Vols, really, except once a year. Yet two stories from our football issue last year—one making the case for paying student athletes, the other an in-depth profile of new UT Coach Derek Dooley—took the top two prizes against newspapers with sports departments larger than our entire editorial staff.
Third Place: Jesse Fox Mayshark's "Bullet Points"
Why do East Tennesseans love their guns? Pretty simple question, but one that most advocates of gun control don't even want to consider. While most non-gun-owners are familiar with the NRA's inexhaustible lobbying efforts, they don't often think much about why gun owners want guns in the first place, other than to regard them as "gun nuts." Jesse wanted to hear what they had to say, which can only add more understanding to the ever-divisive issue.
Second Place: Jack Neely for Secret History
Our longest-running column and still our best. In my opinion, it's had more concrete effects on Knoxville's progress than any other column in town. Jack will be honored in July by the SPJ at their Front Page Follies.
Honorable Mention: Coury Turczyn for his movie reviews
I write 'em when I can, and wish I had the time to actually see more movies.
Third Place: Lee Gardner for his Spoiler Alert column
Lee's reviews of DVDs/Blu-rays/online movies are always enlightening and often surprising.
Second Place: Dave Prince for his Digital Hackery column
Most video game reviews are dull thumbs-up/thumbs-down affairs that read like ingredient panels. Dave has something to say about games, and he's always entertaining.
First Place: Shawn Poynter for his "Karaoke Superstars" photo story
Shawn's photos of local karaoke joints say much more than any story we could've written.
Second Place: Tyler Garrison for his cover illustration of the "The Knox BBQ Bible"
Last year's summer issue was a BBQ blowout, and Tyler's illustration of a would-be backyard BBQ master chef set the tone. (Can't find it on our website, I'm afraid.)
Best Blog, Media Affiliated
Second Place: the entire staff for The Daily Pulse
Again, we don't have an online staff or a webmaster—we just write what we can when we aren't busy assembling our next print edition (which still pays the bills even in this all-things-online age).
Congratulations to all the winners of the Golden Press Card Awards—daily and non-daily, radio and television, alike.