Herald writer receives state top award
Terry Smith, who writes An Outside View in The Herald’s sports section each week, was recently named Sports Writer of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association. The award was announced at TSWA’s awards luncheon, which was held in conjunction with its annual convention in Nashville on June 20th.
TSWA is a statewide organization whose membership includes most of the state’s newspapers. Each year, the organization sponsors a writing contest and recognizes writers in three divisions – large dailies with circulation of over 20,000, dailies with circulation of less than 20,000, and non-dailies. Smith was named Sports Writer of the Year for non-daily papers. TSWA presents a Columnist of the Year Award for the daily papers but not the non-dailies since many of these papers do not have regular columnists. Smith was still considered for this award but had to compete against the larger daily papers. He still finished with a third place award.
“When they made the announcement, I was blown away,” Smith said. “It always feels good to get recognized even if it is so unexpected.”
In presenting the award, Mike Hutchens, TSWA President, said that Smith’s pieces were ‘thought provoking” and that he “wrote boldly and took chances.”
“Though there were times when I questioned where this article was going, however by the time I had consumed two thirds of it, the direction became clear and cleaver in the manor Terry addresses delicate material,” stated Joseph Karl, publisher of The Herald Newspapers. “Needless to say, the entire staff at The Herald Newspapers is very proud of Terry’s endeavors of receiving First and Third place awards in the entire state. That’s no small accomplishment.”
“I may be more proud of the third place in the Columnist of the Year competition,” Smith explained. “I was competing against well established writers in much larger markets and I think caught some folks off guard.” He’s just as happy for the newspaper. “I am excited that The Herald is getting this kind of recognition,” he said. “They have given me free rein to write about whatever I want and to take a few chances and I appreciate that.”
“I believe it’s Terry’s love of writing and his unique way of getting impassioned articles across to the readership which results in the response he receives,” stated Karl. “We look for those kinds of writers and believe the balance of our staff’s writing along with Terry’s is what sets The Herald Newspapers apart.”
The panel that made the selection considered five of Smith’s columns from the past year. They included a comparison of football recruiting rankings to final poll rankings four years later, a critique of the TSSAA football playoff system that allows many teams with losing records to participate, an analysis of why Phil Fulmer doesn’t get credit for being one of the top football coaches in the country, a piece giving Steve Spurrier credit for the Gators win over the Vols last fall even though he was no longer the coach, and one questioning Major League Baseball’s selection of the top moment in baseball history.