NASHVILLE - The Chattanooga Times Free Press won 23 journalism awards, including five first places, in the 2011 University of Tennessee-Tennessee Press Association State Press Contest.
Staff writer Joan Garrett won first and third places in the same category - best single feature - with her stories on an HIV-positive former crack-addicted prostitute who is trying to redeem herself and win back her son, and on a young man who crisscrosses the country by jumping trains.
Features Editor Mark Kennedy won second place for best personal column and fifth place for best personal humor column.
The newspaper won two awards for best spot news coverage. Reporter Joy Lukachick won fourth place for her breaking news story on the acquittal of former North Georgia teacher Tonya Craft, who had been accused of sexually abusing children. Reporter Adam Crisp won third place for his coverage of a triple homicide.
The other awards were for:
- Make-up and appearance, first place, staff.
- Local features, first place, staff.
- Headline writing, first place, by Kennedy and Assistant Features Editor Lisa Denton.
- Best website, first place, the staff, for timesfreepress.com.
- Best education reporting, second place, by Garrett, Kelli Gauthier and Dave Flessner.
- Best sports photograph, second place, by Laura-Chase McGehee, for a youngster playing catch behind bleachers at a game..
- Best special issue or section, second place, the staff for "Chattanooga Now," an annual, glossy information guide to Chattanooga and Hamilton County.
- Community lifestyles, third place, staff.
- Public service, third place, by Pam Sohn, Flessner, Emily Bregel and Garrett, who wrote about the greatest challenges facing Chattanooga.
- Best feature photograph, third place, by John Rawlston, who photographed the filming of a Volkswagen commercial that featured two cowboys on horseback.
- Sunday editions, fourth place, staff.
- Best news photograph, fourth place, by Allison Kwesell, for "Faces of Haiti."
- Best news reporting, fourth place, by Todd South, Chris Carroll, Yolanda Putman, for coverage of the local murder of the Rev. David Strong.
- Sports writing, fifth place, staff.
- Best graphics and/or illustrations, fifth place, Clay Bennett, Beck Towery and Laura W. McNutt.
- Editorials, fifth place, by Harry Austin, Lee Anderson, Steve Barrett and J. Todd Foster.
- Promotion of newspapers, fifth place, for "2010 Best of Preps" by the newspaper's creative services director, Shannon York.