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Lebanon Democrat hauls in journalism awards
Jul 20, 2005 12:00 am
July 19, 2005
NASHVILLE — The Lebanon Democrat won big in Tennessee's two most prestigious journalism contests this weekend, bringing in a host of first place awards.
Wilson County's 118-year-old daily newspaper brought in first place awards for investigative reporting and business writing as well as feature and sports photography in the Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors Contest (TAPME).
The newspaper also won first place awards in Public Service and Personal Humor Column writing in the Tennessee Press Association annual journalism contest.
The awards were announced at banquets Friday afternoon in Nashville.
Democrat Senior Staff Writer Brooks Franklin won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting from the Associated Press for his series "The Jailhouse Paper Trail."
The series documented the extensive use of force in the Wilson County Jail by guards that led up to a federal probe of the facility by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Democrat Managing Editor Clint Brewer won first place from TAPME in business writing for his series of stories on a Lebanon Internet marketing firm that is the subject of a lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission.
Newspaper Chief Photographer Bill Cook took a first place in the same contest for feature photography for his shot of Nashville Ballet dancers performing at Cumberland University.
Photographer Dallus Whitfield won a first place award for sports photography for his picture of a collision at home plate in a local baseball game.
The newspaper took second and third place in daily deadline reporting for stories on the return of the 168th Military Police Battalion from Iraq and for the capture of an alleged serial rapist.
In the TAPME contest, the Democrat competes in the circulation class with newspapers up to 10,000 in daily circulation.
In the Tennessee Press Association Contest, the newspaper won first place in Public Service for a trio of investigative series all written in 2004, including the "Jailhouse Paper Trail" series.
Other series making up the winning Public Service entry were "Little Pink Houses" on the impact of decentralized sewer in Middle Tennessee and "No Vacancy," a series about the real life impact of overcrowding in Wilson County schools.
Franklin also won a first place for Best Personal Humor Column for an op-ed piece on his own failing eyesight.
The Democrat also took a third-place award in the TPA contest for General Excellence.
The Democrat competes in the small daily newspaper division in the state press association contest with more than 25 other newspapers.
The weekend's awards come after an already heady year for the Democrat newsroom.
Earlier in the year, Staff Writer Brian Harville won the first national journalism award in the newspaper's history from the American Planning Association for his "Little Pink Houses" series. The award was one of three handed out in the 45-year-long national contest.
Sports Editor Andy Reed earlier in the year also won a first place award for sports news writing from the Tennessee Sports Writers Association.
Brewer said the awards represent the finest year of work ever produced by a Democrat staff.
"Looking back, 2004 will arguably go down in the books as a watershed period for our newspaper," Brewer said. "These awards show that our newspaper has earned the respect of the newspaper industry in Tennessee and beyond. It also is proof positive that Wilson County has one of the best small daily newspapers possible."
Democrat Publisher Joseph H. Adams called the haul of awards "remarkable."
"This makes a grand statement that we are fulfilling our mission to make this newspaper an honest voice for the readers of Wilson County and a valuable vehicle for our advertisers and business partners," Adams said.