Staff photo by Doug Strickland / Kendi Rainwater, left, during a forum hosted by the Times Free Press titled "Study Hall" held at the newspaper's offices to discuss education in Hamilton County on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn. A panel of educators and education administrators answered questions about teacher quality, preparation, and solutions to education issues facing the district.

Watch video on Youtube »

The Chattanooga Times Free Press received seven first-place awards in the Tennessee Associated Press 2017 journalism awards, including an honor for the state's top journalist.

Kendi A. Rainwater, who covers education for the Times Free Press, was named Tennessee's Journalist of the Year. The awards honor reporting done in 2016. Rainwater's coverage last year included reporting on the Ooltewah High School rape, the Woodmore Elementary School bus crash and the resignation of Rick Smith as Hamilton County Schools superintendent. She also reported and wrote many stories dealing with traditional education issues such as teacher performance, UTC's effort to train teachers and other topics.

The Times Free Press received seven first-place awards, two second-place awards, four third-place awards and one honorable mention in the contest sponsored by Middle Tennessee State University's School of Journalism.

Besides Rainwater's honor, other first-place awards were in the categories of:

  • Sports-outdoors reporting, for a collection of stories by Sports Editor Stephen Hargis.
  • Business news, for a selection of stories by the newspaper's business staff.
  • Editorials, for work by Times editorial page editor Pam Sohn.
  • Daily deadline reporting, for coverage of the Woodmore crash.
  • Multimedia for "The Poverty Puzzle" website.
  • Video for "The Poverty Puzzle."