NASHVILLE -- Times-Gazette staff writer Brian Mosely received the state's top award for investigative reporting by The Associated Press Saturday night, highlighting a total of 18 awards won by the paper in the state's two major press competitions held this weekend.
Mosely was honored with the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting for his five-part series published in December of last year chronicling the influx of Somali refugees to Bedford County.
The Law award for investigative reporting was established by the Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors in 1973 to honor Malcolm Law, associate editor of The Jackson Sun, who died in December 1972. The award is recognized as one of the most prestigious awards given for journalistic accomplishment in Tennessee.
The judge wrote "... a solid and thorough example of community journalism ... (Mosely) looked at the issue of Somali immigration from several angles."
Mosely's award was one of three first place awards won by the Times-Gazette at TAPME's annual awards banquet. The Times-Gazette won a total of five awards from the AP this year in its division of newspapers with a daily circulation of up to 10,000, and 13 awards from the Tennessee Press Association in its division of newspapers with a combined weekly circulation between 15,001 and 50,000.
"I'm really proud of Brian and the entire news team from last year," said John Philleo, editor of the Times-Gazette. "I am very fortunate to have inherited a staff that is capable of producing such high-caliber work. It's not that we won the awards, but that we are providing our community with a level of quality journalism that deserves so much recognition from our peers.
"We do it for the community, not for the accolades."
Former editor Kay Rose won first place in spot news photography for her photograph of 8-year-old Christian Golczynski receiving the American flag from the casket of his father, U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Marc Golczynski, who was killed in action in Iraq.
"Kay captured a heartbreaking moment with this exceptional photo, and I'm glad she was able to join us at the banquet to receive this honor," Philleo said. "Kay is one of my predecessors and leaves me with some big shoes to fill."
Sports editor Danny Parker won first place for photojournalism for the third straight year, and Jimmy Jones won third place for best sports photograph.
Former staff writer Clint Confehr, who is still with the Times-Gazette's sister paper The Marshall County Tribune, in Lewisburg, won second place for daily deadline reporting for his eyewitness account of the Daryl Holton execution, which he had followed while at the Times-Gazette.
Confehr's Holton story won first place at the Tennessee Press Association's awards luncheon held Friday, also in Nashville.
"Haunting. An excellent piece of journalism," wrote the judge.
In the TPA competition, The Times-Gazette was one of only 11 state newspapers, of all sizes, to win more than two first place awards, winning three first place awards and a total of 13 in its division. Only four newspapers in the state garnered four first place awards.
Along with Confehr's first place award for spot news coverage, the Times-Gazette's news and advertising departments won first place for best special section for their combined efforts on the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration commemorative edition.
"A beautiful edition paying tribute to the celebration of the heartbeat of your community," wrote the judge.
"Our Celebration edition has grown into what it is today largely through the work Sissy Smith and the advertising department," Philleo said. "They deserve special recognition for all their hard work.
"It's truly a comprehensive publication, and the members of the horse industry and others who support this publication through advertising also deserve recognition. It could never have grown into what it is without their support."
Also at the TPA banquet, sports editor Parker and sports writer Gary Johnson won first place for sports writing.
"Both writers showed great expertise in their writing skills," wrote the judge.
Jones won second place for best sports photograph; Rose's Golczynski photograph won third place for best news photograph; the news department won third place for public service; Mosely's Somali series won fourth place for investigative reporting; David Melson won fourth place for best single editorial; the news department won fourth place for local features; Melson won fifth place for headline writing; John Carney won fifth place for best personal humor column; Parker won fifth place for best sports photograph; and Melson, Mary Cook and Carol Spray won fifth place for make-up and appearance.
"Mary and Carol deserve special recognition for their work," Philleo said. "They don't get their name in the paper very often, but they work hard behind the scenes every day putting this paper together, and they do a great job."
For the top overall category of General Excellence in Group III of the TPA competition, the Times-Gazette was edged out by McMinnville's Southern Standard, which won a total of 15 awards, including three first place awards.
"Although this was primarily a news department competition, it is only through a combined effort of all departments, under the leadership of publisher Hugh Jones, that we create one of the top newspapers of its size in the state," Philleo said.
"We are the only industry that creates an entirely new product each day and delivers it to your doorstep, and it takes a team effort to do that."