Times Free Press reporter Joan Garrett McClane wins prestigious journalism award

photo Joan Garrett McClane

Joan Garrett McClane, a staff writer with the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has been named by the Society of Professional Journalists as a 2012 Sigma Delta Chi Awards honoree.

The awards recognize "exceptional professional journalism" produced in 2012, the SPJ announcement said. The awards date to 1932 when the SPJ honored six people for their journalistic contributions. The program as it is now began in 1939 as the Distinguished Service Awards.

McClane - one of 84 honorees from nearly 1,700 submissions - was saluted for feature reporting for her Tempest in My Soul, a story that ran June 24, 2012. That story told about a Southern Baptist pastor trying to come to terms with his faith and his son's sexuality.

The local honoree has been a staff writer with the Times Free Press since August 2007.

She has received previous recognition in journalism, including being a finalist for the American Society of Newspaper Editors' Award for Distinguished Writing on Diversity, the 2010 winner of the Society of Professional Journalists' Green Eyeshade Award for feature writing and the 2010 winner of the Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors' award for feature writing. She also is a past winner of the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.

She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama.